Stand in the middle of the Grand Plaza between Temple I and Temple II at Tikal, Guatemala and imagine what life must have been like in this Mayan city over 1,200 years ago when Tikal was at its peak. The size of the temples and surrounding acropolis indicate that this must have been a rich and sophisticated city-state. Yet the ruins are only partially exposed and understood, as thick rain forest still covers most of the park.
And the grand mystery remains: Why was Tikal abandoned in 900 AD?
We can’t answer that question, but we can give a sense of what it’s like to sit in the middle of the Grand Plaza and wonder. Continue Reading »
Ever wondered what sawdust carpets have to do with Good Friday? Continue Reading »
We have a weakness for coffee. But, like so many people, we didn’t truly understand where it came from or who the people were behind the process. Then we took a rather adventurous drive along Guatemala’s Lake Atitlan from San Pedro to Santiago and met these friendly guys shoveling coffee berries into 50 kilo bags for transport to the nearest coffee cooperative. Continue Reading »
“For safety reasons, we’ll need to go in groups of at least four to the cemetery,” our Spanish language teacher informed us.
“Why,” we wondered. “Are the dead coming back to life?” Continue Reading »
As we close out our reflections on Central America (don’t worry, food comes next), we are reminded of the places and moments — the good, the bad, the idiosyncratic, the illustrative — from our zigzag chicken bus journey across Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua.
Let’s dig in. Continue Reading »
- The Golden Plantain Awards: Central America’s Best and Worst
- The Golden Plantain Awards: Best of Central American Food
As we travel, it’s common for locals the world over to ask us where we are from. In Asia, the response “The United States” was usually sufficient. In Europe, they didn’t ask; they assumed.
Not so in Central America. People were curious to know the states and often the towns and cities where we grew up, where we have lived. After sharing our details, it wasn’t uncommon to hear: “I had a cousin who lived there”, “Oh, I lived [nearby] for 15 years” or “My brother lives there.”
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What does a family-run small business launched or expanded with the help of a microloan look like? We offer a couple of answers…in three dimensions.
Maybe you’ve seen our photo essays from microfinance programs in Guatemala and India. Now we share a three-dimensional inside look – via 360 degree panoramic photography – at two small family-run businesses in Guatemala. Continue Reading »
- The Face of Microfinance in Guatemala
- Microfinance Panoramas from Guatemala
- Microfinance Diaries: Seeing is Believing in West Bengal
- Machu Picchu? Not Yet. A Slideshow of the Other Peru
Guatemala surprises with its variety and delivers a diversity of humanity and landscape that belies its size. Continue Reading »
Descendants of shipwrecked slaves from Nigeria; Jerry Garcia’s rumored Caribbean seaside bungalow hideout; warrior dances (see video below) and turtle shell drums; echoes of an accented
pigeon pidgin English that smacks of Jamaica; and a remarkable coconut seafood soup called tapado.
This is Livingston, home of the Garifuna. This is the other side of Guatemala.
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