Happy Independence Day Guatemala

Today marks the day for Independence Day in Guatemala. There are decorations and celebrations all around the country today and for the rest of the month. The sights and sounds are an awesome thing to see. The Palacio de los Capitanes in the Main Plaza of Antigua is decorated with flags and banners in remembrance of this great event.

It is an awesome time in Central America this time of year.

Foot Loom or Treadle Loom

The women in Guatemala often weave their clothes using either a back strap loom or a Treadle (foot) Loom like the one here in the picture. They will use this to weave their Traje (traditional clothes). Each Maya village has its own style of weaving and dress so you can usually tell which village a women is from the style of her traje.

Antigua Guatemala the beauty found in abandonment

What makes Antigua so beautiful to me is the lovely old historic faced. This picture is just that "old
and historic". This old abandon building I spotted while walking around one day on a side street in Antigua.
One thing that caught my eye was the textures and character in this photograph. This was probably someones home at one day in past years, now it sits abandoned. Another thing that caught my eye is how narrow the doorway is. I cannot imagine trying to squeeze my body through this narrow opening.
Like many of the buildings, doors and windows in Antigua Guatemala, there is much beauty and charm that lays in the eye of the beholder.

Kitchen Stove

How would you like to cook your meals on this every day?

 This here is a upgraded kitchen stove in the highlands of Guatemala. This stove has a smoke stack to ventilate the noxious fumes of smoke out of the home plus it has decorated time around the top. Many of the homes in the highlands cook over an open fire pit in the middle of the home. The problem with this is that the smoke does not escape the living area of the home and this causes the people to inhale the smoke all day long. Inhaling this polluted air has also been linked to pneumonia, heart disease, lung cancer, low birth weight and respiratory infections, just to name a few. Many organizations are working to help supply newer and cleaner cooking stoves for the people in the highlands of Guatemala.

Borracho Cake

 Today we will be taking a look at a favorite dessert of mine called the Borracho Cake or also known
as the Drunk Cake. The wonderful desert can be bought at almost every pastries shop around the country of Guatemala. This awesome dessert cake received its name because it is soaked in alcohol based syrup, which makes it taste out of this world.

The cake is a light sponge cake that is soaked in sugar syrup and laced with Guatemalan rum made from local sugar cane. The cake is topped with a Crème Anglaide and decorated with fruit.

You can make the sponge cake from scratch or purchase one from your local grocery store.

Here are the recipes for the rum syrup and the Creme  Anglaise:


For the rum syrup:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup of water
1/2 cup dark rum
1 cup of pitted prunes

Creme Anglaise:
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large egg yolks
5 tablespoons of granulated sugar

Doorway in La Merced Church and Convent.

Inside the La Merced Church and Convent is a delicate work of art. The church façade is without a doubt a classic example of predominant construction. The rooms in the structure date back to the 17th century. In 1749 Juan de Dios Estrada was commissioned with the construction of the luxurious sanctuary and cloister.

This breathtaking church is a destination you will not want to miss while visiting Antigua Guatemala. You will have to pay a small fee to enter the monastery attached to the side of the church. This part of the building was never restored after the destruction caused by the Santa Marta quake.

Guatemalan Desert Rellenitos de Platano

This little treat that is a Guatemalan favorite will knock your socks off. It is a combination of mashed cooked plantains with sugar and cinnamon and thick black beans. These two together are a perfect match to make this sweet desert.

This recipe makes 10 to 13 Rellenitos

3 ripe plantains
1/3 - ½ cup sugar, if needed
1 teaspoon true cinnamon
½ - ¾ cup black beans
flour, for dusting
sugar for rolling
vegetable cooking oil for frying

1st thing, when you go shopping or picking your plantains make sure you get real riped plantains. This will make things easier when preparing this dish. Now peel the plantains and cook in water to cover for about 15 minutes or tender. If plantains that are ripe and not green you may not need any added sugar. If the plantain mixture is soft, do not add sugar. Add in the cinnamon and mix well. If the mixture is warm or hot refrigerate till cool.

Now cook your beans. You want to achieve a pasty consistency. If they are runny and not pasty add more beans to the mix.

Have the oil in a frying pan and turn on the heat. Now take a scoop of the plantain mixture in the palm of your hand. About a ¼ cup. Take a spoon and make a indentation in the mixture in your hand. Now take about 2 teaspoons of the black bean mixture and put in this indentation of plantains. Now encase the bean mixture with the mixture of plantains in the palm of hand and make like a baseball so no bean mixture is showing. Roll the relleno in flour and set aside till you have 10 -13 of these made.

Once the oil is hot cook (fry) 4 at a time. It will take about 6 to 10 minutes to achieve a golden brown color. Turn them as needed and make sure they do not sit and burn. Once the color is achieved take out of oil and towel dry. Then roll in granulated sugar or confectioner sugar.

Now repeat till all are cooked.

Life in the Highlands of Guatemala

Life in the Guatemala Highlands,

I have trekked all over the highlands of Guatemala and have enjoyed every minute that I have been in the highlands. The life and culture here is so much different than in the larger cities and so much different than life in the States.  Looking around you make think this is the way life was in the late 1700’s early 1800’s in the United States.

With Mayan culture being so dominant in the highlands the majority of the language is indigenous Mayan language such as kaqchikel or K’iche (there are over 21 different dialects of Spanish spoken in Guatemala). Many of the people in the highlands speak up to 4 types of dialects I have found. As long as you can speak some sort of Spanish you can get by.

In the highlands you will find that most of the females will wear the traditional dress of the Mayan culture which is the hand-weaved huipils (blouses), cortes (skirts) and faja (belt). Now the men wear

traditional traje for men (which include colorful traditional traje for men (which includes colorful pants with a mismatched and equally colorful ‘skirt’ or ‘apron’ around the waist.) You can tell what city or town a woman is from by the design of her huipil, corte and head dress.

Life in the highlands is so vastly different than the United States. That is why I love it here so much. This culture is so very poor but so rich in life.

The Patron Saint of Antigua Guatemala Saint James

The tradition dates back to 1543 when the conquistadors named the area around Antigua Santiago de Guatemala (St. James of Guatemala) after the apostle who was the conquerors’ patron saint and is theJuly 25.

patron saint of Spain today. His feast day is

Celebrations in what is now La Antigua Guatemala have been exciting over the years, but the fiesta has come to life in recent years with events throughout July!

As late as the early 1980s, celebrations included a July 25th Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph with a small procession headed by the mayor of Antigua, a marimba (and sometimes disco) concert in Central Park and a school parade. Through our efforts, we created a “Semana de Santiago,” which has grown into a month-long celebration with the participation of just about every cultural, educational and sports group in town.

Although celebrations begin early in July, the big day is July 25. Highlights include a 7 a.m. Mass at the cathedral, followed by the 8 a.m. school parade, which this year focuses on “Yo Vivo Mi Ciudad,” Antigua’s program of cultural identity, manners and customs. This magnificent show of schoolchildren and bands parades throughout the streets of Antigua, finishing up at 12:30 p.m.
At 4 p.m. the marimba concert in Central Park showcases seven marimbas from all over the country, followed by the 7 p.m. concerts with a wide range of music. Don’t forget the fireworks!

Large Maya Carving found in Guatemala

Archaeologist Anya Shetler cleans an inscription below an ancient stucco frieze recently unearthed in the buried Maya city of Holmul in the Peten region of Guatemala. Sunlight from a tunnel entrance highlights the carved legs of a ruler sitting atop the head of a Maya mountain spirit.
The enormous frieze—which measures 26 feet by nearly 7 feet (8 meters by 2 meters)—depicts
human figures in a mythological setting, suggesting these may be deified rulers. It was discovered in July in the buried foundations of a rectangular pyramid in Holmul.

Maya archaeologist Francisco Estrada-Belli and his team were excavating a tunnel left open by looters when they happened upon the frieze. "The looters had come close to it, but they hadn't seen it," Estrada-Belli said.
According to Estrada-Belli, the frieze is one of the best preserved examples of its kind. "It's 95 percent preserved. There's only one corner that's not well preserved because it's too close to the surface, but the rest of it isn't missing any parts," said Estrada-Belli, who is affiliated with Tulane University, Boston University, and the American Museum of Natural History and who is also a National Geographic Explorer. His excavations at Holmul were supported by the National Geographic Society/Waitt Grants Program.
Maya archaeologist Marcello Canuto agreed, calling the frieze "amazingly and beautifully preserved."
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