By Simone Riddle
For a hangover, people in Guatemala will typically suggest two remedies: hair of the dog or the famous ‘caldo de huevo’; the best chapin remedy para quitarte la goma, (o rather to get rid of that hangover)!
So if you drank one too many IPA cervezas last night in Pool and Beer, or took advantage of the dos por uno offers in Paisaje Enriquez, then this morning-after remedy is just for you. Saturdays are the typical day here in Guatemala to eat sopa de huevo, ya sea con o sin goma (whether with or without a hangover).
I was taught to make this soup with a packet of Maggi’s “sopa criolla con caracolitos” but that is a little too much trampa (cheating) for me. For those of you that wouldn’t dream of eating packet soups or you’re trying to impress your yoga house friends, here are the instructions to make it from scratch.
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By Juan Jardinero
“Grow your own drugs.”
When you’re traveling, it´s common to get sick, sometimes because we’ve had too much to drink and the midnight street food seems irresistible or at other times a simple cold will strike and take you down. Obviously if you are feeling terribly ill it’s good to visit a doctor, but sometimes the best thing to do is page Dr. Greenthumb.
Dr. Greenthumb would recommend you check your garden. There you could find essential plants to not only strengthen your immune system but also to reboot your body when you’re feeling ill. While plants are rarely part of multi-billion dollar human clinical trials to prove them efficacious, they have been used since time immemorial to both nourish our bodies, and to prevent and treat disease. And they also come highly recommended by my grandmother.
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by Seudonimo Anonimo
Walking down the street in Xela is no easy “feet.” As any Quetzalteco knows, Xela is a hopping, major metropolis comparable to any Los Angeles, New York City or London. However, Xela has its own unique set of pedestrian “road rules” that, once clarified, will hopefully help you stay safe(r). By following these rules, you will hopefully have fewer accidents than the chicken bus drivers (you don’t have to try too hard to achieve those numbers!).
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January 2014 was the month of the now infamous polar vortex. Those of us who didn’t have the (mis)fortune of experiencing first-hand the “southward movement of tropospheric Artic air” (layman’s translation: a rather nippy breeze) that led to parts of Canada and the Midwestern United States reaching colder temperatures than those at the North and South Poles, certainly didn’t manage to get through the month without hearing or reading about it on every single news channel and newspaper. Reporters and journalists bombarded viewers and readers with stats on record breaking temperatures; photos of Niagra falls freezing over; stories of chaos at the airports and on the streets; lots of testimonials from local residents freezing their tits/balls off; and (if you watch Fox News*) the obligatory spots given to some rather confused but very impassioned nutjobs who try to reason that the phenomenon is (further)evidence that global warming is a global farce (if it’s global warming, then the world should be heating up, right?!).
We here at XelaWho think that all this attention given to the poor sufferers of the polar vortex is very biased. What about us all here in Xela? Sure, temperatures in the States and Canada may have fallen to -20 °c or lower (compared to a seemingly measly -2 °c here in Xela). But at least over there, local residents could look forward to returning to their nice warm homes with central heating. Maybe even with a toasty roaring fire. Here in Xela, the closest thing you get to central heating is wearing three jumpers, five t-shirts, two pairs of socks and a woolly hat. And then getting into bed and curling up under the covers.
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P o p p i n g
To the Rescue!
It can often be difficult to bring our readers a positive “Popping” story from the local news each month, what with the daily stories of robberies, murders, corruption, incompetent politicians and bureaucrats, car crashes, chaos on the roads, collapsing infrastructure and the ever disappointing Super Chivos (sorry guys).
However, this month fortunately Xela’s local police forces came to the rescue when were able to rescue a 6 day-old baby in Cantel after its mother had been scammed into handing it over to another couple, presumed to be part of a larger network involved in the kidnapping and illegal adoption of children. The child is said to be in healthy condition.
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By Simone Riddle
Milanesa de Res Meat eaters! February’s YOUR month, and right in time for Valentine’s Day. Maybe you want to impress your Guatemalan girlfriend or boyfriend by cooking them a traditional dish demonstrating how well you fit into Chapín life here in Xela. Perhaps it’s meet-the-parents time and you want to show off your cooking skills while making something everyone is familiar with ensuring it will be eaten.
Remember the time when you tried that delicious vegan fusion dish? Although containing a week’s supply of superfoods and sprouted greens, you couldn’t get any of the family to even try it due to the lack of meat, and the raw vegetables, unsmothered in mayonnaise.
This meal serves four people – so you may want to double if you are cooking for the extended family.
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by Juan Jardinero
“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece”
- Claude Monet.
Your garden can also be an amazing place, but it will require some work, time and patience as you engage in a friendly battle with nature. Grant yourself the permission to learn through trial and error yet be sure that with time your plants will respond positively to your care. Space will always limit how big and diverse your garden can be, but regardless of whether you have a few pots on a balcony or a big back yard, you too can become inspired to grow your own food. And in order to keep you motivated here are a few reasons why Juanito “The Gardener” thinks gardens are a must.
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by Juan Pablo Echeverria
All around the world the search for sustainable lifestyles is something more and more people are attempting to do. Groups of committed thoughtful, talented, individuals from different backgrounds are coming together to promote ideas of sustainability through natural and organic systems. Since the mid-1970s the term Permaculture, coined by a couple of Australian scientists, has proposed a solution to some of the world’s most pressing agricultural, architectural, ecological and also economic problems. *Permaculture is the harmonious integration of all life kingdoms into an agriculturally productive ecosystems and socially just environments producing sound economic outcomes through systems management. It is a regenerative design system that promotes the use of biological solutions for today’s problems allowing for energy efficiency and abundance of yield. All of these ideas are well wrapped around a simple code of ethics: “care of the people, care of the earth and reinvestment in those ends.”
Guatemala, a land of incredible biodiversity and favorable conditions for growing an abundance of food and natural building materials, is now facing an ecological, agricultural and social crisis. Pollution of rivers and lakes, erosion, deforestation, intensive use of pesticides and herbicides and a lack of regard for basic environmental practices have forced us into an urgent need for new innovative solutions. Could that be Permaculture?
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P o p p i n g
Christmas is over and the New Year has started. And with this the constant explosions of firecrackers will also come to an end. Yes, they are fun, and they are pretty to stare at in the night. But some of them seriously sound like bombs going off right outside your room, at all hours of the evening, lit up by a 7 year old kid. And for those who have pets, Christmas is truly the scariest time of year for our furry friends. So yes, we love our “cohetes” but we are glad it´s over, see you till next year. Or until the next person on your street gets celebratory birthday firecrackers at 5am.
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by Simone Riddle
So it’s the New Year and most of us are on their post-Christmas diets having eaten way too many ‘tamales’ (a rice-based dish wrapped in leaves which is full of lard but soooooo good) on Noche Buena and Christmas day. There are few salads served here in Guatemala that are not covered with a thick dressing of mayonnaise so this recipe offers a quick, easy, and cheap Guatemalan alternative to the usual pasta salad option to keep us all on track with our New Year diets.
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