by Steve Mullaney
If you are a foreign government that wants to say “Thank you for the cheap labor” or “My bad on the whole 1940’s Syphilis Experiment” you have probably decided to build a monument somewhere in Guatemala. The Ministerio de Monumentos Extranjeros (MINMEX)* has apparently decided that the best place to put every monument ever is in a one-block part of the city in Zone 3 called Plaza Ciani.
Before Hiper Paiz, Plaza Ciani was the place to go to shopping. Now, Plaza Ciani is known for having a barber where they give you massage after your haircut; (No joke. This actually happens. It’s strangely wonderful.) the ayudante cry of ¿Alguien de la Ciani? ¿Ciani? No hay; and the collection of foreign monuments built there.
The big one that everyone notices is the Japanese pagoda. What is a pagoda doing in Guatemala? Who knows. This monument took over three years to build because it’s really easy to steal from the Japanese government. No word on Japan’s reaction when the mayor thanked los chinos for building the pagoda. During the day the pagoda plaza is mostly abandoned, but at night it takes on youthful flair as a place for teenagers to smoke and make out. Japan should be so proud.
Israel’s second biggest contribution to Guatemala (after sending arms during the Civil War when Reagan cut off military aid) is a statue of the Star of David on the other side of the road from the pagoda. Here at XelaWho we are working at spreading the rumor that a genie lives inside the statue and that if you rub it hard enough it will emerge to grant you three wishes. If you wouldn’t mind passing that along to gullible folks we would appreciate it.
Not to be left out, the European Union also has a statue of the European Union emblem. After this statue was built, a wave of peace and prosperity descended upon the neighborhood, providing jobs, improving health and causing 35% more smiles. Just kidding! The monument, entitled Good Intentions in Statue Form, mostly just sits there.
In exciting recent developments, ground is being broken on a new monument on the Israel/EU side of the street. Email us your prediction as to the outcome. If you correctly guess the country, the statue and the stated purpose you win a case of beer. Our pick: Canada/Maple Leaf with Smiley Face on it/”Sorry about all those mines”.
*(Gobierno de Alvaro Colom: Tiempo de solidaridad. Y monumentos.)