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XelaWho by Issue

November 2009 Issue: Going Home. Coming Home.

Moving between cultures is fascinating, isn’t it? It challenges your encrusted assumptions and sharpens your inner anthropologist. If this visit to Xela is your first opportunity to spend significant time in a vastly different culture, you’ll see what I mean when you get home.


Her Story: Iris

By Kindra J. Perea

Whether you’re on your routine walk to the market, to your favorite street food vendor or to that tortilleria that you know makes the best tortillas in town, do you ever find yourself passing by the same familiar faces on the street?


Fiambre: A November Dish for All Tastes

By Diana Pastor

I have always considered the November dish fiambre an admirable representative of Guatemalan culture. I don’t say this because it utilizes regional or typical ingredients but rather due to the diversity and variety of colors that it displays. Up until now I have never found another food that contains so many types […]

Know Your ‘Nangos: Making Sense of Guatemalan Place Names

By Riley Lynch

If it’s trivia night at Ojalá, and they ask what “Guatemala” means, write this down: “land of trees.” You can thank me later. But the truth is a little more complicated. A lot of people think the country derives its name from the word, cuauhtemallan (or coactemahlán.) This is said to mean […]

Spotlight On: A Series on Culture & the Arts

“Spotlight On” is XelaWho’s regular monthly series on all things cultural & artistic in Xela and Guatemala. The topic for November 2009: Day of the Dead traditions in Guatemala by Diana Pastor.

“Pobres los que no tienen un muerto, porque no puede celebrar este día”. This is a popular phrase in Guatemala, said in conjunction […]

On the Road Guatemala: A Series on Travel Destinations

“On the Road Guatemala” is XelaWho’s somewhat-regular series on interesting travel destinations throughout Guatemala and the region. This month’s installment: The Kan’ Ba’ Caves & rafting at Semuq Champey by Claire Bourgin.

In August 2009, I went with Descubre Guatemala (a tour company from Guatemala City) to Semuq Champey for a weekend. It was my […]

The Food Critic: Italian Gelato in Xela

By Steve Mullaney

Everyone knows about Bake Shop. In fact, before I arrived in Xela for the first time in 2007 a friend told me that I was required to go to the famous Mennonite bakery and try to sneak a donut back through customs for her. Why? Because the goodies at Bake Shop are […]

¿Qué Onda Vos? A Series on Speaking Guatemalan Spanish

“¿Qué onda vos?” is XelaWho’s a monthly guide to speaking Spanish Guatemalan style. This month’s topic: nuggets of wisdom, estilo chapin.

Every language is full of wise sayings, and Guatemalan Spanish is no exception. Here are some familiar words of wisdom you’re likely to hear coming from the lips of Guatemalan grandmothers…or from the pages […]