and belated merry christmas! We didn't have a very Guatemalan Christmas but I do know they celebrate Chirstmas the afternoon/night of the 24th. One of the locals told us they started celebrating at midnight and through the wee hours of the morning. The 25th is for resting.
They eat a lot of their traditional X'Mas food, tamales - which are made of rice instead of cornmeal with meat inside them, wrapped in a banana leaf. Gifts are not a big part of Christmas here since most people are quite poor. There is of course a lot of firecracker action and you can't escape from the marimba music either.
Charlie and I opted for a very low key Christmas on a very islolated beach on Lago Izabel, near the Carribean, at a place called Denny's Beach. Denny is a Canadian who has been in Guatemala for 20 years. Coincidently, there were 7 guests from Canada, a Swiss couple and us. There are no roads to the beach, only by boat. We stayed in very simple bungalows, swam on the lake, and relaxed on the hammocks.
Our Christmas day activity included a morning horseback ride with Nilo, one of the 20 or so locals living near the beach, afternoon swim, and a special Turkey Christmas dinner, with stuffing and gravy and everything prepared with the help of the Canadians, and finished the night off with a superbly delicious chocolate cake baked by Susan from Switzerland. It was the first turkey dinner Denny has had in 20 years!
After a stormy short speed boat ride (not fun) to the nearest 'town', Charlie and I headed for a short visit at Quiriguᬠone of the Mayan ruins known for it's stelaes - stone carved pieces of important Mayan kings and animals and a night in Antigua, the most colonial town on Centro America perhaps, and reminded Charlie of Santa Fe with it's adobe buildings and beautiful plaza. We also saw the nicest looking McDonald's.
And so that was how we ended our travels in Guatemala. It's quite sad to leave but I am sure we will be back. I am now writing from San Jos鬠Costa Rica! Haven't done much exploring yet but it is quite different from Guatemala, much more modern and westernized, it feels a little strange...but I am sure it won't take long to get used to perfect weather and beautiful surroundings.
Posted by Karen at December 27, 2002 04:52 PM