The Full Measure

Mars Orbiter Crashes: NASA Should Have Consulted Guatemalans In late 1999 a would-be Mars orbiter, manufactured for NASA by aerospace titan Lockheed Martin, entered too low an orbit around Mars, burned up and crashed, costing U.S. taxpayers at least $125 million. The subsequent investigation revealed that one of the engineering teams had been calculating using metric measures (meters, kilometers) and […]

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Roses in Guatemala Part II

Now that you’ve planted those roses, which flourish so vigorously in Guatemala, what do you do with them? I once started an article for a Guatemalan newspaper with the comment that it’s hard to kill a rose here. The editor took that comment out with a rebuke, “That’s not what the readers want!” But roses are hardy, especially in Guatemala’s […]

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Growing Roses in Guatemala

Guatemala is a major exporter of roses to the United States and Europe. The epicenter of rose production used to be La Antigua Guatemala, but rising real estate prices have pushed it far afield, especially since hothouse construction has never been so easy and inexpensive. Step one is to dig a hole, leaving ample depth and sides. Digging a hole […]

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Sea Salt

She sells sea salt by the seashore: packaging salt at the Sol y Mar factory

Guatemala produces unrefined natural sea salt which is much higher in vital essential minerals…and it’s inexpensive as well Wars have been fought over it. Deer in the woods and cows in the pasture love it. Gourmet shops hold sophisticated human tastings of it in elegant surroundings. If you spill some and wish to ward off future bad luck, throw a […]

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Guatemala’s Unique Chachales

Red beads have long held a certain fascination not just here but around the world.

A second word is chachal, Quiché for necklace. The evolution of chachales in Guatemala is a fascinating tale of history, economics and anthropology. At the time of the Conquest, Guatemala’s indigenous prized red coral as component in necklaces. As easily recoverable near-shore coral became scarce, sharp traders, chiefly in Europe, manufactured substitutes and introduced them into Guatemala as trade goods. These were almost but not always red, apparently to satisfy taste here and elsewhere.

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Where Am I? And What Day Is It?

Here’s a clue: If it hadn’t been for this event, the colonial gem of La Antigua Guatemala arguably might not exist. Here’s an almost contemporary account of the event, and to keep you guessing the place and, more interestingly, the date, the anwers are far below. This has been a year of much rain, and having been raining Thursday, Friday […]

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