Archive for January, 2012

This is Not Your Typical Church Façade

Monday, January 16th, 2012

The Church of San Andrés Xecul is Not Your Typical Façade by Rudy Girón

The yellow church in San Andrés Xecul is one of the most famous sites in Guatemala and certainly one of the most photographed. Dating back to mid 17th century, the range of colors used on the facade of the church is said to have come from the vivid tipico dress of the area, embroidered with a plethora of saturated colors. If you come to visit Xela, it is just a short bus ride out of the city to see this fabulous church and completely worth it!

(source: 100% Chapín)

Ermita de Salcajá: First Chapel of Guatemala

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

Ermita de Salcajá: First Chapel of Guatemala  by Rudy Girón

Just outside of Quetzaltenango, so close that it could be a colonia of Xela, there’s a village known for its liquors “Caldo de frutas” (fruit punch) and Rompopo (similar to eggnog) and this chapel, known as La Conquistadora, Ermita de la Concepción, or Ermita de Salcajá, which was the first Catholic chapel ever built in Guatemala and Central America for the matter.

This historic building also houses the first Spanish cemetery of Central America. La Ermita de Salcajá is located on what’s now known as the barrio San Jacinto in the Municipality of Salcajá and was funded on May 7, 1524.

La Conquistadora was the name given to the Virgin of Conception by the indigenous population. Another interesting trivia about Salcajá is the fact that the first mestiza (mixed race), Leonor de Alvarado Xicontencatl, of Central America was born here. All these reasons should be excuse enough to pay a visit to Salcajá in case you haven’t already done so. (source: 100% Chapín)

What other things can you share with us about Salcajá?

Deadline Extension! Send in YOUR Photos of Xela!

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Photos of Xela

I’m terribly sorry that I wasn’t able to get a post out earlier today (yes, for me this is still Saturday, I’m still awake!) I had some technical difficulties, so this post is a REMINDER to please send in your photos of Xela!! See Send in Your Photos of Xela!! for all the details! I’m extending the deadline to the end of the month and I’ll be waiting to see YOUR fantastic photos of Xela and to post them here on XDP!!

Enter the Pasaje

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Pasaje in Black and White by Arturo Godoy

I love the Pasaje Enriquez….beautiful almost any way you shoot it. This lovely yet stark shot is from photographer Arturo Godoy.

Respect the Culture

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Respect the Culture by Sergio Dominguez

As I have lived in Xela for all of my years here in Guatemala, I can’t speak for the rest of the country, but I can say that Xela (for the most part) is a very conservative city. As a foreigner here, you may be asked what your religion is, and if you are of “age”, if you have a spouse and WHERE is he/she. While the locals are used to many foreigners coming and studying Spanish here, of course their perspective and their questions come from their own understanding and culture. They may not understand that you as a traveler who is 30 years of age don’t have a spouse…what could be wrong with you? Or if you were to answer that your religion is Buddhism (or anything else that is not Catholic or Protestant), you may receive a funny look, perhaps even a public prayer.

I feel that visiting and living a foreign country demands an understanding of the culture…or at the very least a RESPECT for the “possible” culture. Some things may seem obvious…don’t take close-up pictures of the locals without permission. But other things may be more subtle. For example, I have seen too many University age female students come to Xela for projects/to study and stroll through the park wearing (very short) athletic shorts and tiny tank tops. Although this may be appropriate day wear in other cultures, it isn’t here. In my time working at the Black Cat, I even had the chance to hear a hostel guest say, “I can’t believe what that man said to me in the street this afternoon!!”…all while wearing a sundress the size of a hand towel.

Of course, it may be difficult to know what you should or shouldn’t do/wear/say in a new culture. But the best bet (for any country you visit)…err on the side of conservative behavior and you can’t go wrong.

Photo by guest contributor Sergio Dominguez, text by Luna McCarthy.

Mario Camposeco Stadium

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Mario Camposeco Stadium by Luna McCarthy

The futbol stadium here in Xela is named after the famous Mario Camposeco. A terrific little article in the November issue of the Xelawho magazine (Do You Know Mario Camposeco?) explains the man behind the mystery.

Grrrr…

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Grrrr... By Jose Moreno

Not far from Xela, the fabulous theme park Xetalul (mentioned in Gametime Anyone?) also has animals on display. The shot of this beautiful tiger was captured there by Jose Moreno.

Ride ‘Em Cowboy!

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Ride 'Em Cowboy! by Jose Moreno

About 15 minutes from Xela in a town called Chiquilajá, this week (mainly this Sunday) there is a village fair with rides, carnival games, and as we see in this picture, there is also something extra…horses that you can “ride” for only 5Q! As well, you can find nice places to eat and relax.

Photo and text by guest contributor Jose Moreno.

If There Was Any Question…

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

If There Was Any Question by Sergio Dominguez

That Guatemala, specifically the area surrounding Xela, is at the least, breath taking…have a good look at this photo by Sergio Dominguez. The plains, the mountains, the fog gently rolling over the hills…the streams of sunlight. Uffff, one of the many reasons I love this country!!

** EDITOR’S NOTE: Please do NOT forget the “Photos of Xela” opportunity that is happening right now!! Read about it here:

Photos of Xela

And send your pictures in as soon as possible!!

Luna de Xelajú

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

Luna de Xelajú by Jose Moreno

As the magical full moon approaches us tonight and tomorrow, there is nothing better than a splendid shot of the moon over Xelaju, as taken by Jose Moreno.

Luna de Xelajú lyrics in Spanish:

Luna gardenia de plata,
Que en mi serenata,
Te vuelves canción,
Tú que me viste cantando, me ves hoy llorando,
Mi desilusión,

Calles bañadas de luna,
Que fueron la cuna de mi juventud,
Vengo a cantarle a mi amada,
La luna plateada de mi Xelajú,

Luna de Xelajú,
Que supiste alumbrar,
En mis noches de pena,
Por una morena de dulce mirar,

Luna de Xelajú,
Me diste inspiración,
La canción que hoy te canto,
Regada con llanto de mi corazón,

En mi vida no habrá,
Más cariño que tú,
Mi amor,

Porque no eres ingrata,
Mi luna de plata,
Luna de Xelajú,

Luna que me alumbró,
En mis noches de amor,
Y hoy consuelas mi pena,
Por una morena que me abandonó…

Luna de Xelajú lyrics in English:

Moon, silver gardenia,
In my serenade,
You turn into song,
You who saw me singing, now see me crying,
My disillusionment,

Streets bathed in moonlight,
That were the cradle of my youth,
I come to sing to my beloved,
The silver moon of my Xelajú,

Moon of Xelajú,
You knew how to shine,
In my nights of grief,
For a sweet looking dark-haired girl

Moon of Xelajú,
You gave me inspiration,
The song that I now sing,
Watered with the tears from my heart,

In my life there will not be,
More love than you,
My love,

Because you were not ungrateful,
My moon of silver,
Moon of Xelajú,

Moon that shone,
In my nights of love,
Now you console my grief,
For a dark-haired girl who abandoned me…

(source: Wikipedia)

Colorful Profile

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Colorful Profile by Arturo Godoy

Stunning profile shot of an indigenous woman, taken by guest contributor Arturo Godoy.

Funky Interior

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Funky Interior by Jose Moreno

One of the fun things about living here over the years is having been able to watch the evolution of some of the local businesses. El Cuartito has changed owners a number of times since I have lived here, but has been under the same ownership for a while now…long enough that the progression of the fun, funky interior has been fun to watch. It makes me wish I had pictures of the inside a few years ago, to show you how, well…”meh” it was.

Photo by Jose Moreno, text by Luna McCarthy.

The Start of the Evening

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Early Evening by Jose Moreno

As a foreigner and an English teacher here in Guatemala, one small thing I have noticed is that in Spanish, “tarde” goes until it is night time. In English we have the word “evening”, which signifies the time in-between afternoon and night, from roughly 5pm to about 8pm. It’s a small period of time, but one adjustment to living in a Spanish speaking country is that when someone says they will pop over to your house in the “afternoon”, it could be as late as 7 or 8!!

Photo by guest contributor Jose Moreno, text by Luna McCarthy.

The Simple Life

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

The Simple Life by Sergio Dominguez

A single family home just outside of Xela, captured in the light billows of the early morning fog, by guest contributor Sergio Dominguez.

Black and White Simplicity

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Down the Street by Arturo Godoy

Fabulous shot of one of Xela’s main streets by friend and talented photographer, Arturo Godoy.