P o p p i n g
On the 25th of October, Guatemala ushered in a new era of political optimism with the election of Jimmy Morales to the highest office in the land. The newly elected president beat opponent Sandra Torres in a run-off election with the convincing slogan “not corrupt or a criminal.” How can you argue with that! Jimmy is a former comedian and is a fresh face in Guatemalan politics.
Guatemalans everywhere are crossing their fingers that Jimmy keeps his election promises and is a positive influence on Guatemala’s political system that has long been plagued by corruption. Appearances can be deceiving, however, and no one gets to power in Guatemala with scratching a few backs along the way. Let’s just hope the backs Jimmy scratched weren’t too hairy!
F lo p p i n g
The combination of a huge storm on the western coast of Guatemala, and another off the eastern coast, meant that the rainy season didn’t end on time this October but actually ramped up with torrential rain causing landslides all over the country.
The Western Highlands are always among the worst hit due to the mountainous terrain and deforestation (which loosens up the soil so it’s more inclined to slide away). The landslides and floods cause all kinds of damage and injury each year.
So if you’ve either: headed out for a sunny walk without a jacket and found yourself swimming home; found yourself cursing the sky when there’s no water to flush the toilet; or were praying for the power to come back on so you could ask you friends to check out your latest blog post — we here at XelaWho feel your pain!
Bring on the dry season, we say. It’s been long enough, we’ve done our time in the rain and it’s about time to dry out those boots and start complaining about how cold it is!
DIA DE TODOS LOS SANTOS
The first of November is a special day in Guatemala, and not just because you’ll be wrapped up in bed nursing a hangover binge-watching Better Call Saul on Netflix after dressing up like Zombie Hillary Clinton for Halloween. It’s also Dia de Todos Los Santos (All Saints’ Day), not to be confused with Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead — the religious holiday and not the classic 1985 zombie movie) which is a similar Catholic holiday to remember the dead but is mainly observed in Mexico.
Dia de Todos Los Santos is a time which many Guatemalans take to spend the day hanging out with family members who have passed on. Hanging out, you say? Yep, grab some snacks, a picnic blanket and a guitar and head for El Cemeterio General de Xela (Xela’s Main Cemetery) about 10 minutes walk from Parque Central next to El Calvario. If you go during the day, you’ll find tons of Guatemalan families picnic-ing and playing music to celebrate the day with their loved ones. The tombs and graves are wonderfully decorated and make for some great photos.
Another must-do is to try the famous Fiambre, a seasonal salad with up to 50 ingredients such as fried meats, and specially prepared veggies, that is only made in Guatemala on and around the 1st of November. Eating Fiambre at any other time of the year is considered just weird by many, so take advantage and dig in!
So balance out your gringo trick-or-treating with a cultural experience during Dia de Todos Los Santos down at the cemetery this November 1st!