BootsnAll Travel Network

A Weekend of Hanging Out In Xela

Today I’m off on my 6 day hike with Quetzaltrekkers, and will return next week. In the meantime, I have posted blogs that will appear every day at 12pm, for those of you that need your fix in your regular day routine… also, I apologize for the formatting, I have no idea why everything is all squished together!

My plans for stay the weekend at a local coffee finca were cancelled at the last minute because there were not enough people signed up to meet the minimum requirements.  Without any other plans, I just decided to hang out in my home away from home, Quetzaltenango, or as the locals and everyone else refer to it, Xela (Shay-la).

Friday night I joined in the weekly dinner offered by my school, Sakribal.  It was a little strange because the Friday dinners usually have between 12-20 students; this week, attendance was down to 6 students.  Gone are my amigos Markus, Mitzi, Kathy, Megan, TGIF’s, Joker and many more I left 2 weeks ago.  But Yuh Wen, Pablito and Kirk are still there, and met three additional students, Erica, Clem and Alex.
After our dinner, we all went over to get some licuados at restaurante Sabor de India, but since it was totally packed, we found a local Wine and Cheese bar celebrating their first anniversary, so we settled in for music, wine, cheese and a relaxing evening.
Live music from this duo, playing mostly covers from the Gipsy Kings.
For some unknown reason, Kirk was determined to down 2 hot dogs from a local cart near the Parque Central.  He managed to convince Pablito and Yuh Wen to get one too; I withheld, but will soon have to try a Xela dog before my time is up here.
The next morning, I wandered around the market to enjoy all the sights, smells and sounds of vendors hawking food, housewares and more.  Here are mangos, mangos and more mangos!
Pineapples, watermelons, and those are freaking huge papayas on the left.
Gotta love those mangos…I got a bag filled with 15 of these beauties for only 5 Quetzals…or the equivalent of $.75.  I also scored a whole pineapple AND a whole cantaloupe for the same price…$.75 for both.
After a quick lunch stop at a local market comedor (grilled chicken, rice, tortillas, a juice drink and a small mayo salad…10 Quetzals), I headed over to the Templo to meet up with Yuh Wen, Clem and his wife for the first annual Chocolate Festival.
The Templo.
Another angle.
We were treated to free entertainment from La Voz de Los Altos, specializing in music via the marimba.
Yuh Wen enjoys a chocolate covered frozen bananna with nuts.
The chocolate festival presented about 10 different chocolate purveyors, offering free samples of their chocolate.  What is interesting is that in Guatemala, chocolate isn’t regularly consumed by eating it….instead, you have to use some fancy contraption to roll the chocolate and heat it with water to make a hot chocolate drink.  So most of the vendors were offering samples of the chocolate drink, as opposed to chunks of the chocolate.  In this pic, a representative from Cafe La Luna is in middle of the drink process.
Yuh Wen is sold on this particular award winning recipe, and buys it direct from the owner.
A local catering company (or maybe a chef school?) was on hand to give out free samples of finger foods (it took me forever to search and find how to spell hors d’oeuvres)…anytime there is free food, you know I’m there!
Back for seconds and thirds with Maria, a 54 year old self-described feminist who is currently publishing a book comparing women’s rights in Guatemala with those of other countries.
Sunday was my day of eating my way through Xela.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I had 2 ice cream cones, 2 tacos, 1 pupusa con queso (similiar to a quesadilla), 5 mangos, a bowl of Coco Puffs cereal (courtesy of Jonas, Amy and Adam), 4 small garnaches, 3 cookies, a glass of some thick corn drink that I didn’t particularly like, and the remaining half box of Trader Joe cookies.  To cap it all off, Sunday night we head out back to the Indian restaurant that we were shut out of 2 nights before, to savor our licuados, nan, semosas and more.  I think I gained back all the weight I lost on this one day.
Yeah the fries aren’t really Indian food, but Yuh Wen swore that they were like crack because they put some kind of seasoning that makes it completely addictive.
One of the way home, I ran into two events that coincided (and thankfully not clashed) with one another.  Semana Santa (Holy Week) is very close, and with it are the many processions like this one, where members of the church carry an effigy of Jesus dragging the cross, down one church to another. 
Another effigy.
The procession walked right past this student organized protest…it’s a long story, but basically every year in March, for every weekend students all across Guatemala don hooded masks and gowns (to the outsider it would look like they are Ku Klux Klan members) to hold rallies and call for change from the government.  Mostly peaceful, in the past it was a pretty big and serious thing where the government would send out the police to keep order.
The rally comes complete with stage, music, speeches, piñata, flares, firecrackers and a lively crowd.


One response to “A Weekend of Hanging Out In Xela”

  1. Mike says:

    Nice glasses and beard or whatever that is hanging off your chin. Yeah, I’m jealous. Keep having fun.

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