Archive for June, 2012

Looking Up

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Looking Up by Luna McCarthy

The ceiling of the Pasaje Enriquez, where no doubt many, many people will be watching tomorrow’s final game of the Eurocup. I doubt very many people will be looking up though…

Photo by guest contributor Jose Moreno.

Fashion Friday!! Sitting in Style

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Sitting in Style by Luna McCarthy

This gentleman has it all, whitest of white shirts (with a t-shirt underneath), cowboy hat, jeans that are faded just right. I doubt that he would consider himself a fashion statement, but I think this look is fantastic! He gets a 9.5 out of 10 (extra points for the dark socks with the shoes), just half a point short of a 10, because a perfect 10 would have to include cowboy boots. But this fellow is rocking the sitting in the park on a sunny morning look, that’s for sure.

NO Smoking

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

No Smoking by Sergio Dominguez

I remember when I came to Xela in 2008, there were so many things that I loved about the city. The people, the mountains/volcanoes, the music, the colors; so much to love. I do have to admit though, as a smoker, I thoroughly appreciated that I didn’t have to go outside to smoke. It was a lovely refreshing change from the strict “air” laws of Canada.

Likely I will offend the non-smoking readers at this point 馃槈 Although I do understand that second hand smoke is dangerous and smelly and all the other (valid) reasons for having separate smoking areas, there is a delightful decadence to being able to smoke in a restaurant, at your table, after a meal. It’s a comfort thing, smokers “do” that for dessert.

The non-smoking law was passed in Xela in January of 2009 and all of us who smoke sighed in disappointment. Having been through the difficult change in Canada years ago, I knew how to cope with it. But I watched others around me struggle with the “why’s” of the law and the new restrictions and the inconvenience of having to go outside to partake in our addictions.

It is healthier for everyone, it is cleaner, it is certainly better for the elderly and the children not to have to be submitted to the second hand smoke. I completely understand that it IS the better choice. Perhaps the smokers who have to go outside to have their cigarette might even just smoke a little less because of that. I wholeheartedly agree it is the right thing. But on any given day, if I find a little cantina that has litros of Cabro and lets me smoke inside, I’ll smoke double, just because it is so lovely.

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

Nature and Security

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Nature and Security by Luna McCarthy

When I first came to Guatemala, I was surprised to see all the barbed wire. It’s funny how now I don’t even notice it. Barbed wire and broken glass are fairly good security measures here. The funny thing is that because all of the houses have metal doors, much of the security threat comes from access to the terrazo…since almost all of the houses have an open space in them somewhere.

This ivy/barbed wire combination is one that I really like. Not only is it more aesthetically pleasing, there is a small part of me that might giggle a little if a would-be robber were to cut his hands open on the “ivy”…evil, I know.

Not Just For the Women

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Styles for the Boys by Luna McCarthy

There have been a number of photos posted before about all of the women’s shoes for sale here in Xela. Women’s shoes are a big seller, we ladies LOVE the pretty shoes. But men’s and boy’s shoes are just as big of a hit, they just happen to have less sparkle.

Just a Hop, Skip and a Jump – Reader Photo!

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Haunting Trees by Salvino Terranova

Well, more like a chicken bus or two… Usually we stick to photos of or “around” Xela, but reader Salvino Terranova sent in this haunting picture taken at Lake Atitlan and I fell instantly in love with the mist, the solitude. Depending on where on the lake you want to visit, you can be there in 1.5 hours to 3 hours and for the peace and tranquility and a quick trip to get out of the city, I totally recommend it!

No Convenience – Reader Photo!

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Hard Work by Eddy Elias

Here and most often in the pueblos outside of the city, work is work. There isn’t much “modern day” convenience of machinery or gadgets that “help” the users do what they need to do. Work is hard and honest. Trees and crops are cut with machetes, handcarts are often used to haul things from place to place and people work HARD. Many houses and apartments, even in the city, don’t have microwaves, washing machines/dryers and sometimes don’t even have refrigerators. Yes, sometimes it is a matter of economy. These things are expensive and there just might not be enough money to go around.

But the flip side to this in my opinion, is that life is much more simple, honest and real. I have spent every week I have lived here (approximately 182 weeks by my count), washing my clothing by hand in the pilla. Of course there have been times I have taken some things to the laundromat, but for me, these situations are more like “emergencies”, if I am ill or something. I LIKE washing my clothes by hand; gives me time to think. I know people that wouldn’t be into that. But one of the reasons I chose to be here in Guatemala, is to have a simpler life. To have a clarity and quality of life.

That doesn’t mean that “modern day conveniences” like washing machines are bad. But in a day and age when in many countries, there are SO many “conveniences”, from machinery to computers to fast food AND people still feel like they have NO time to be with their loved ones and mountains of stress, WHAT is to be gained by all the “convenience”??

While you’re pondering that, I’ll be at the pilla, pondering life and being grateful 馃槈

***Photo by reader Eddy Elias; text by Luna McCarthy.

Green Spaces

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

Green Spaces by Luna McCarthy

One thing I do love about Xela is that there are little parks everywhere, around the most unusual corners are small spaces devoted to grass and trees. Sometimes there are just walkways and sometimes there are stone benches. It’s one thing about Xela that I hope doesn’t change.


Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Tranquility by Luna McCarthy

Sorry to break with Fashion Fridays, but after the garbage post I wanted to show a little bit of the raw, natural beauty that is Xela during rainy season. Fashion Fridays will return next week. Have a lovely weekend everyone!

The Real Issue

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Muni Post Party by Sergio Dominguez

For those of us who have visited Xela, lived here or seen pictures, the Municipal Building is indeed a gorgeous example of Xela architecture. This shot however, taken by guest contributor Sergio Dominguez, shows the tiled floor of the “Muni” covered in garbage. I have seen similar scenes in other countries and yes, granted this was after a party in Central Park. But truth is, Guatemala has a garbage issue.

It’s surprising to see, because in so many ways, Guatemalans are such hard workers…constantly sweeping their doorsteps or spraying down the dust that arises during dry season. It was not in Guatemala that I first saw someone open a candy bar and toss the wrapper on the ground, but that behavior is common here and it is extremely troubling. If you read XDP often, you know I applaud the hard work done by the Xela Limpia fellows. Truth is, we need them, badly.

But beyond that, education is needed about the damage that is done to the land as our generations litter and no one changes. Much of the flooding in Xela during rainy season is not only due to poor infrastructure/drainage systems, it is due to the garbage that lines and fills the grates of the drains themselves.

It was good to see that this year, outdoor garbage cans have been added to many streets in the center. Although small, a little frail looking and hung on the posts on the sidewalks, I do see them filled and emptied as time passes. This is a good sign, a step in the right direction.

I’m not sure what can be done about this. I recall hearing an American say once that the U.S. went through a very similar thing in the 1940’s/1950’s, until someone (perhaps the President?) stepped forward and initiated and made law, that things had to change. There was massive education on littering and it’s effects. I remember when I was a child, seeing commercials on tv about how disrespectful is it to throw your waste on the ground. That stuck with me.

This is such a beautiful country, rich with culture, passion, art, love, music, faith and so many other wondrous things. What needs to be done to change how people treat this wonderful land?

Tertulianos by Night

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Tertulianos by Jose Moreno

As breathtaking outside as it is inside. One of these days I will go in and ask if I can take some photos for those of you who haven’t seen the inside of this lovely building!

Photo by guest contributor Jose Moreno.

Perfect Model

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Perfect Model by Jose Moreno

Everything about this little girl, in this terrific shot by guest contributor Jose Moreno, is lovely. From her dark mischievous eyes and chubby little arm, to her super cool pink outfit, to her very styling hair…she is one of the best models I have ever seen! Perhaps I should have saved her for Fashion Friday, but she was just to cute to wait 3 more days!

Busy Afternoon in the “Other” Park

Monday, June 18th, 2012

"Other" Park by Luna McCarthy

Although no one is in the kiosk/gazebo in the center of Benito Juarez Park, lots and lots of people buzz around, enjoying a sunny but windy afternoon.

Happy Father’s Day!

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

First Father's Day by Luna McCarthy

Very Happy Father’s Day wishes to all of you who are fathers, step fathers, grandfathers, Big Brothers or A Very Important Man in a Child’s Life, from all of us here at XDP.

Pocket Sized View

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

Pocket Sized View by Luna McCarthy

Not everyone in Xela has fabulous views of the city and the mountains and the skies. Many houses do have rooftop patios/terraces, but the reality of city living is that some houses are only one level and the roof may not be accessible. This is the view from the patio at Moonkat, (the patio is not open to the public) and because the patio is small and surrounded by walls, there is not a view of Santa Maria or even of Baul. Having said that, we still catch some pretty fabulous skies and clouds…as long as they’re overhead.