Sayda’s Journal: Friday, April 2, 2010

I am writing from Stef’s house in Quetzaltenango (Xela). Kali, John and I arrived here two hours ago. Kali and I arrived in Guatemala City yesterday morning and John was supposed to follow on a later flight to arrive in Guatemala at night. Initially the plan was to go to Antigua from the airport for a day visit— to kill time while John caught up with us in the evening—but also to witness the massive extravagant Semana Santa processions (Easter processions) which is a tradition still going strong here in Guatemala. Antigua is the old capital of Guatemala. Well, when kali and I arrived yesterday morning we decided it was better to go to my cousin’s (who’d picked us up) house to drop of our stuff and then go to Antigua, but instead when we got there we cooked a light meal, ate and passed out. We had not slept in twenty-four hours and realized we were being too ambitious in thinking that we would be ready to take on Antigua and processions right away.So we waited for John, who in the meantime had been delayed in NYC, which caused him to miss his connection in Miami, which meant he was spending the night in mojito land. And he did, spent the night in Miami and caught the next morning flight to Guatemala! We finally reunited today, took shuttle service from Guatemala City to Xela, this service included a stop in Antigua where we got to have a quick lunch and walk around in the midst of Easter procession chaos. I will tell you more about the processions later. Last night when we learned that John wasn’t going to make it, we (Kali and I) met up with my friend Jose in Zona 1, where there were so many people out in the streets, whole families with their children, lots and lots of children, walking peacefully on the streets. The tradition on Good Friday in Guatemala is to visit churches as many as you like and light a candle to the saint of your devotion. Kali made the observation that there was something informal about wondering in and out of the churches, and that it was like at that moment church was sacred but also familiar and not a place where one could only be quiet and careful, but instead happy and light and move with a communal festive rhythm inside the church. We followed the crowds and went in and out of churches and ventured into eating the delicacies of Easter’s holy week, this included traditional Guatemalan street foods, like Tostadas de Guacamol, Enchiladas, Atol de Elote, Torrejas and corn on the cobb to name a few. So John got in this morning and now we are all here in Xela, about to eat a delicious meal, chicken cooked in beer, and other things…

The drive to Xela from Antigua was about 4 hours. I love this journey, driving on the mountains, we caught sight of a beautiful sunset.


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