Sunday, March 30, 2008

How I Spent Semana Santa

Hello everyone! This is Maria from Antigua, and I bought a BUNCH of stuff from her. How could I resist? Frankly I was on sensory overload most of the time I was away. Guatemala is another word for COLOR!!!!!

I've been trying to post some of the photos I took on the trip into an album on Shutterfly, and I'm not doing a very good job of it. It still needs work, but I'm about ready to throw in the towel for today. If you go to the link on the left side bar that says "Susan's Photo Albums" you'll find a NUMBER of albums....evidently I keep entering info and duplicating it. But pick the most recent one with 60 photos and play it as a slide show. You can slide right through and make it go fast. I didn't even post any photos from the painting class, the market in Chichicastenango, or any of the amazing flora and fauna.

I haven't figured out how to put the comments or descriptions in where they're supposed to be, so I'll give you a little background here on what I DID post. Mona Cavalli (a neighbor of mine from down here) and I travelled with a group from Puerto Vallarta to spend ten days painting with an artist who spends half her time in PV and half in Wisconsin. She rented a large casa on the outskirts of Antigua where most of the group stayed. That's the big white house you'll see in the first photo. We met there every day and painted in the garden and around the pool.

Mona and I, however, stayed in the Hotel Aurora right in the middle of town, just a couple of blocks from the main plaza. You can see what a pretty place it was. They served us breakfast every morning in that sunny patio area. The rate was $65/night for the two of us, for those inquiring minds who want to know! :-)

We were happy we were in town, because beginning Palm Sunday, there were processions at all hours of the day and night, and we were right in the middle of all the action. It was absolutely medieval and mysterious. We would hear the dirge like music coming from big drums, tubas and horns -- sometimes at 2:00 in the morning! Then we'd whiff the incense that came rolling up in great clouds of copal. I couldn't resist running to the front gate of the hotel to watch as purple robed figures swayed in unison carrying huge platforms with images of Jesus or the Virgin on top. (Guys carry Jesus, women carry Mary.) They walked solemnly through the streets and over carpets of flowers residents laid out as offerings. I hope you get a sense of how eerie and mysterious it all seemed from the photos. I felt like I was back several centuries -- and then I'd see the sunglasses, or the iPod earbuds, or see some of the members of the hermandades (fraternal orders) talking on or snapping pictures with their cellphones.

Enjoy the photos. They're colorful and interesting, no matter what shape the collection is in right now. I'm going down the street to play Mexican train dominoes!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hello/Goodbye! ..... At least for a while

Score! Interest from an editor! Got to get my bottom in the chair and get busy with what to send and how to send it.

Looking at a host of houseguests. Sisters! At last! Emily, Jay, and Meredith come for a week this Saturday, and the first of April, Amy, John and JP come for a week. In between I'm spending ten days in Antigua over Semana Santa, painting. So, Hello/Goodbye. See you sometime in April!