And so here we are again, everyone’s favourite month of the year has finally arrived for 2013. Fortunately, we don’t have to worry about the world coming to an end on the 21st of December again this year, so we can dedicate all of our energies this month to eating mountains of food (and then promising to diet / exercise after the holidays), drinking far too much alcohol, leaving our Christmas shopping until the last minute, listening to the same 20 Christmas songs at least 50 times each and, of course, telling the most cringeworthy of jokes to each other during our Christmas parties.
Here at XelaWho we’ve had a very busy month opening up hundreds of Christmas crackers looking for the very best (/ worse) of Christmas jokes to bring to our readers so they can confidently win “the most cringeworthy joke award” at their Christmas parties. So without further ado, let us begin:
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Word of the Year
Give it up for Selfie! The Oxford Dictionary´s Word of the Year for 2013. Perhaps no better reflection of our social media-infused, vanity obsessed, 21st century lives than adding a new word to the Oxford Dictionary entirely dedicated to getting out a camera and taking a (normally rather ridiculous) photo of yourself in order to post it online and share with your friends and anyone else who might be interested (usually no one). The word´s actually been around since 2002 and its supposed first appearance was on an Australian internet forum where a poster used the term to refer to a photo he´d taken of himself because he got so drunk he´d fallen down the stairs and cut his lip open and wanted to share a picture of his war wounds with his friends. Variations include helfie (a selfie of just your hair…), welfie (a workout selfie… and you thought it couldn´t get any worse!) and, XelaWho´s favourite: belfie, a selfie of one´s posterior.
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Although not commonly seen in Xela, this atol recipe (the name used for hot drinks in the region, often made with corn) is perfect for the cold winter nights that are rapidly closing in on us. It’s a great drink to serve at your end of year fiestas and can be served as you see in the stalls in parque central, ‘con piquete’ or ‘sin piquete’ (with or without alcohol), depending on whether or not you need a little extra kick!
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Once, an extranjero said to me, “Honestly, some of the graffiti in Xela is really quite special. In my country, most works of graffiti are only associated with simple disobedience or with gangs of young delinquents. But not here. Here they are much more a form of artistic and social expression. ”
The truth is that the graffiti in Xela has evolved in recent years. It is very common to see quetzals painted on the walls around Xela, and even XelaWho once used a photo of one of these quetzals as the front cover for one of its editions. What sets the type of painting you see on the walls here with graffiti in many other countries is the message that is implicit within the paintings. There are paintings of flowers and animals, as well as of political, artistic and social characters or historical figures.
One piece that particularly caught my attention was a huge work of graffiti on the walls of what used to be the old Western military zone near the Montblanc Paiz Mall. There is the face of what appears to be an ancient Mayan man, and in each of the ornaments worn on his head there is a message written. Previously, I have also seen in a couple of places paintings of mushrooms growing in psychedelic looking gardens and, even though these works have now been painted over, they left me with a clear message: that graffiti in Xela is not only a manifestation of rebellion but also of creativity and social protest.
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What you’re holding in your hands is much more than the 100th edition of the little magazine known as XelaWho. Really, what it is is a testament to dumb-ass perseverance and a vindication of slacker culture worldwide.
It all started as all brilliant/ stupid plans do – with a collection of inquietudes. One, us English speakers here in Xela needed something to read. Two, we needed to know what was going on, preferably before it happened. And three, I needed something to do with myself as I whiled away the days here in my adopted mountain home.
Initial reactions were skeptical. Yoga Kevin made the now famous prediction that the magazine would be one page long. People said there would be no interest, or advertisers wouldn’t pay. But we stuck in there. Dumb-ass perseverance, remember?
Since those heady early days we’ve survived hurricanes, weathered the predictable onslaught of copycat “competition”, changed editors more often than we’ve changed underwear (sometimes waaay more), gone legit tax-wise, tripled our staff, halved our profits, tried out even more stupid, brilliant ideas (ref the ill-fated Color Cover Experiment. Compare and contrast with The Doomed From the Start San Pedro Section), grown (56 pages was the record), shrunk (20 was the all-time low), printed the only known photo published in Xela of two men kissing (and lost advertisers because of it), published the same editorial every September for the last eight years (thanks for noticing, Yoga Kevin), been called losers, posers and a whole lot of other stuff that wasn’t strictly true either, launched at least two writing careers, been responsible for at least one relationship breakdown (it was on the rocks, anyway), and generally done our best to inform, amuse, misinform and infuriate while providing what you have to admit is the best bathroom reading that Xela has to offer.
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El Guayo captured
It´s a rare occurrence when we can say that it´s been a good month for law enforcement in Guatemala, so lets take a moment to appreciate this achievement this month, as the chances are within a month or two we´ll relegating the law back to the Flopping section of the magazine when we find something new to moan about. But this month we can at least bring you a positive update on the not-so-positive story of the massacre in Salcajá in June this year, in which a gang stormed the local police station in broad daylight and shot dead eight police officers. October brought us the news that the purported leader of the raid, a drug trafficker known as “Guayo Cano”, was captured and arrested in Tuxtla, Mexico and has been transferred to Guatemala, signaling the successful completion of “Operation Dignity” by the armed forces and police of Guatemala .
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By Simone Riddle
If you intend to spend any time in Guatemala there are two things you need to be able to enjoy eating: tortillas and beans. I love living in Guatemala because I can legitimately eat the same thing for breakfast and for dinner and no one will judge me. Nothing can unite a house, a family, friends and coworkers like a ‘desayuno tipico’ and my fondest memories are of a Sunday morning sharing platefuls of scrambled eggs, beans, queso fresco and endless cups of Guatemalan coffee.
Any of those that know me know that I have an incomparable love of beans, some might say it is an obsession. You would think after four years I would now be bored of tortillas and beans but no. I can go through between 1lb and 2lbs of black beans in a week, and I would go as far to say I can cook them better than most gringos in this city.
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By Diana Pastor
Few political figures in my country are worth remembering long after their time has passed. But this is certainly not the case with a brilliant and exemplary man, whose life story could have been lifted straight from a literary novel. His name: Jacobo Árbenz Guzman. This year marks the 100 year anniversary since his birth and 59 years since the disastrous CIA operation PBSuccess that overthrew him under the guise that he was a communist threat to the United States.
Árbenz was the second president of Guatemala that came to power after the revolution of 1944. He was the son of a Swiss-German immigrant and a Quetzaltecan mother. Jacobo was an outstanding student during his time at the military academy of Guatemala and upon graduation he rose rapidly in his political career: from sergeant to instructor, from instructor to captain, and from captain to one of the leaders of the post-revolutionary government before being appointed Minister of Defense. In 1951, he was elected president with overwhelming support from the popular classes, including students, campesinos (farmers), teachers and workers.
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“Organic Sundays” is a new initiative in Xela that aims to bring delicious, fresh, organic food to Parque Central in order to give
Quetzaltecans and extranjeros an opportunity to support local farmers and rural communities and learn more about ways to protect the environment and about local organisations and initiatives doing important environmental and development work in the region. XelaWho recently caught up with Mario Flores from FECCEG to get the lowdown on this exciting new initiative and to bring the news to our lovely readers.
XW: How did these events come about and what are you aiming to achieve by bringing organic food to Parque Central?
MF: Organic Sundays came about as an initiative of the Regional Organic Collective and was inspired by an Organic Sundays initiative in the Capital City which has been very successful. We saw the need to expand the market for organic produce in the Western region of the country, as we realised that there are various organic and agroecological producers and farmers across the Altiplano who don’t have a concrete space in which to promote their products and to raise awareness about the benefits and advantages that come with the consumption of organic food.
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Don’t diss Xelaju
Xela´s most hilarious story to hit the local headlines last month goes to the controversy caused by the recently crowned Miss Quetzaltenango and her not-so-cool comments on our bellowed Super Chivos. Only a few days after being crowned, Stephanie Sical caused an outrage across Guatemalan social networks when she enraged Xelajú fans (read: the entire population of Xela) by tweeting “I don´t mean to offend anyone but this is one of the stupidest things I´ve ever seen. Hahaha” in reference to a rather passionate Super Chivo fan that had tattooed Xelajú Club´s logo on his back. The comment whipped up such a storm that Stephanie was forced to issue a formal statement claiming that she wasn´t specifically referring to our dear Xelajú but instead wanted to raise awareness among young people to discourage them from getting tattoos because our bodies are “temples of God” and He would not approve. Keep digging that hole Stephanie. Keeeep digging.
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