Pupusas are delicious
Xelawho would like to give an old-fashioned shoutout to thepupusa —that delicious Salvadorian grease dumpling that will steal your heart before clogging it with merciless efficiency. A good pupusa is often followed by another, and then sometimes by a third. Don’t think twice about putting down your shot at a long, healthy life as collateral so that you can get a heart attack’s worth of fried masa in your stomach.
Live fast, die young, and eat pupusas. That’s an epitaph you can see that epitaph on many marble mausoleums under the pepper trees of Calvario. It’s no coincidence that some of the best pupusas in Xela are on the far end of the triangular park that fronts the cemetery. Pupusas make life worth living; they also are hell on the circulatory system.
Easter Thunderdome: Cops vs. Jews
Prensa Libre reported this month that Holy Week celebrations in Colomba —a humid coffee hub down the hill from Xela —went above in beyond by bringing state-sponsored violence and bad racial praxis into their dramatic reenactment of the crucifixion.
Tear gas was used by cops allegedly attacked by drunks costumed as Jews to participate in the “juego de los judeos.” The police claim that they were struck with rocks and sticks. In response, they gassed the problematically costumed drunks. One tear gas canister landed on a roof, smoking out the family inside.
Guatemalan police, useless as they are, have an obligation to deal with the drunk and disorderly. With only handful of arrests, however, this case seems like one where the cops could have saved Easter without having to tear-gas a household to viscerally remind them of the suffering Christ went through. Also, dressing up as Jews is at best tacky and at worst anti-Semitic.
Where There’s Smoke …
Guatemala’s dry season is coming to and end. You can tell because people are ducking into smoky cantinas, breathing in deep next to trash fires, and drafting behind chicken buses on their jogs to get a breath of relatively fresh air. It’s a sad sight reminiscent of the moving Al Gore documentary Spaceballs, which brought home Planet Spaceball’s struggle with an ugly epidemic of canned air addiction. Smog can do terrible things to a person
.On April 7th, a farmer cleaning his fields started a blaze on Cerro Candelaria behind Xela. It sent skyward a column of cream-colored smoke thick and lustrous enough to make Santiaguito jealous. That fire cleaned not just the farmer’s fields but 100 hectares of tinder-dry forest to boot. It was the largest of a series of small fires that have burned in Xela through the month, including a blaze on the shoulder of El Baul on the 25th. Bomberos ascended with hoes to toss dirt on the edges of the fire -the bomberos don’t really have the resources to pump water up the hill.
That’s a safety concern —it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where an out-of-control fire lights up a barrio on the edge of Xela. It’s also a public health problema. Fires dump a lot of smoke into the air, and the last thing we need around here is more particulate pollution than we already have.
Our hope at Xelawho is that the coming rainy season will rinse some smoke from the air and put out the fire that’s been smouldering at theboterofor months. Our fear, however, is that the rainy season is like the waters of Lethe —that the rain, like that river in Hades, helps those who drink from it to forget. The dry season will come in November, and in November the year after. And this warming planet needs less hot takes and more concrete measures to protect our forests, our skies, and our lungs