United States names new Guatemala ambassador

Arnold A. Chacón (photo courtesy of U.S. Embassy)

U.S. President Barack Obama has named Arnold A. Chacón, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, as ambassador to Guatemala, succeeding Stephen G. McFarland, who held the post since 2008. Officially he remains a U.S. designee until his credentials are accepted by the Guatemalan government. Chacón, whose nomination was confirmed last month by the U.S. Senate, had been deputy […]

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Creepy Carp Haunt the Lake

Creepy Carp Haunt the Lake

As if the ingress of bully bass to Lake Atitlán were not bad enough (see Revue August 2011, Lake Views, page 88), another alien may be even more harmful. At least since 2002, carp of the genus Cyprinus have been appearing in fishermen’s trawling nets. No one knows when they got there, nor what to do about them. “They have […]

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Green Gospel

Forest and brush fires were blazing all around me during my recent expedition into the rainforest.

The tradition of slash-and-burn farming cannot continue text/photos by Thor Janson (www.bushmanollie.com) In Mesoamerica the end of the dry season—April and May—finds millions of campesino farmers busy practicing their age-old method of slash-and-burn agriculture. All the refuse on the fields is put to the torch, enriching the soil with mineral ash. This traditional method of farming is sustainable as long […]

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Sacred turtles in Mayan art and iconography

A new FLAAR Report* now lists all of the animals that were sacred or otherwise considered as special by the Classic Maya. There are animals that are related to the sky (constellations, stars, planets), the forests and those that are associated with rivers, lakes, swamps and the oceans. These waters are conflated by the cosmology of the Preclassic and Classic […]

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Rain

Lightning storm approaches Antigua from the west (photo: Guido Lucci)

INVIERNO, winter, is here. It’s the rainy season, and all our senses know it, even though most days still have lots of sunshine in the Guatemalan Highlands around La Antigua Guatemala, and temperatures continue to be mild. Drizzles, showers, deluges, each day’s touch of rain is different, something for all five senses. The colors of our rain shade from light […]

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Bad-Ass Bass Rain from the Sky

Karla S. is among the many anglers who frequent the Panajachel piers for bass. (photo: Brennan Harmuth)

53 years ago, an airplane wrought sudden, significant alterations in Lake Atitlán’s food chain Flying fish inhabit oceans, not lakes. Well, except for one sunny day in 1958. If you were looking at Lake Atitlán then, you would have seen big fish on the fly. They arrived in tubs welded into what was, judging from eyewitness accounts, a Sikorsky seaplane, […]

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In the Land of Green Lightning

Guatemala: Tierra del Relampago Verde

  Author/photographer: Thor Janson Published by Artemis Edinter Spanish/English 240 pages, color photography   “Biologist, conservationist and photographer Thor Janson has worked in Central America for nearly thirty years. In this book he reveals his deep love and respect for the land and its inhabitants through 250 stunning color photographs accompanied by short descriptive text. An introduction by anthropologist Robert […]

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Fugitive’s arrest closes the book on frying-pan caper

Ready for action: Monoloco owners Jean-Louis Trombetta and Billy Burns

    U.S. authorities recently arrested one of their most-wanted fugitives in California–an alleged mobster-murderer from Boston who had been in hiding or on the run for 16 years. For two businessmen in La Antigua Guatemala, the June 22 arrest of James “Whitey” Bulger, 81, dashed hopes of ever claiming a million-dollar reward (later upped to $2 million) to turn […]

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My Guatemala

My Guatemala

Author/photographer: Hanne Linder KOM Publishing (www.komforlag.no) Graphic design: MILLA Design Printed in Guatemala by Print Studio 222 pages, color photography www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrOX29x1zvg “My Guatemala brings you a powerful encounter with the people and the environment the author has gotten to know throughout more than 20 years. It all comes together as a colorful and fulfilling book about the country, the culture […]

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The Heart of the Mayan World

Walter Fischer, INGUAT

A candid chat with INGUAT’s Walter Fischer Imagine a place with volcanoes and mountains, jungles and deserts, white sands and black beaches … but while you and I have already discovered the beauty of Guatemala, the majority of the world remains oblivious. INGUAT, the country’s tourism board, has embarked on a 10-year campaign to increase tourism in the country at […]

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Carnelian

Color-chart people say carnelian is a reddish-brown somewhere between cardinal and cerise. OK, if you say so. Painters in oil say carnelian is a perfect shade as a skin tone in painting handsome Mesoamerican natives. Jewelry makers and rock hounds say carnelian is a form of quartz, found worldwide, soft and easy to carve. Crafts makers say it’s onyx, which […]

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Chance Reunion

Eric (l) and Matt (r) meet up after 35 years (photo: Shaun Paul Griffiths)

by Eric Mencher Years ago in the infancy of my photojournalism career, after I complained yet one more time about a dropped credit line under one of my artful, award-winning photos (or so I had naively thought), an editor once told me that only mothers and other journalists read credit lines and mastheads. I can’t vouch for the mother part, […]

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Nelson Lunding

Nelson Lunding

Like thousands of his New Orleans neighbors, blues piano player and singer Nelson Lunding was uprooted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. “There was eight feet of water in the street, three feet of water in the house, cars were underwater…my neighborhood didn’t exist,” Lunding recalls. “People became insane, angry, heartbroken—including myself.” After more than a decade of performing in New […]

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Paseo de La Sexta, Zone 1

Restoration brings new life to an old district Last year, the municipality of Guatemala City undertook a project to conserve and revitalize the city’s heritage, and it started with La Sexta Avenida, Zone 1: the backbone of el centro histórico. Historically, La Sexta was the fashion capital of Guatemala—the place to see and be seen—with shops selling luxury goods and […]

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Finca Filadelfia

A luxury getaway on a coffee plantation by Tanya Hughes “The hardest part is stepping off the edge,” my canopy-tour guide said encouragingly. Dubiously, I peered over the 40-foot drop. After a couple of deep breaths I took that step and I was flying through the air, held securely in place by my harness. Both youngsters and adults can line […]

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Aquamarine

Aquamarine (photo: Matt Bokor)

One of this month’s birthstones is beryl, a simple colorless crystal in its pure form. But Guatemala is never colorless, so to celebrate May we must find some impure beryl, which gemologists tell us can be green, blue, yellow, red, white. Whatever, it’s still beryl, with different names. Let’s go find this month one crystal from the impure-beryl list: aquamarine. […]

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Between Light and Shadow

Between Light and Shadow

A Guatemalan Girl’s Journey through Adoption Author: Jacob Wheeler Foreword by Kevin Kreutner 280 pages, 27 illustrations 978-0-8032-3362-1 Publisher: University of Nebraska Press Lincoln, Neb. www.nebraskapress.unl.edu Veteran journalist Jacob Wheeler puts a human face on the Guatemalan adoption industry through the story of 14-year-old Ellie, who was abandoned at age 7 and adopted by a middle-class family from Michigan. Wheeler […]

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The Art of the Handbag

The Art of the Handbag

Using brightly colored native textiles as her media, Guatemalan artist Diana de Solares is introducing a line of fine, handmade handbags, each of which is unique. “You won’t see anything like this in the market,” de Solares says. “This is a high-end product—it is totally different.” In a range of sizes, the handbags incorporate geometric and floral patterns, as well […]

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Some noisy, noticeable events unrelated to Semana Santa

The carpets, floats and sorrowful dirges of Semana Santa carry centuries-old tradition reserved for the holiest period of the Catholic calendar. But, in Guatemala during this special season, you’re also likely to encounter sights and sounds that are common year-round. Before you panic thinking there’s a shootout down the street or a UFO hovering nearby, here’s a brief rundown of […]

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Kaleidoscopic Days

Kaleidoscopic Days photo by César Tián

A fellow in Scotland coined the name and invented that mirrored tube he called the kaleidoscope, an “observer of beautiful colors.” We don’t need his device to see swirls of beautiful colors that form our sensuous Guatemalan kaleidoscope all year. Color, sound, aromas, tastes and touch are especially strong throughout Lent, from confetti and fireworks at the start, then through […]

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Life in the slow lane

Despite scares, pet tortoise enjoys a pampered life He survived a murder attempt in the United States and death threats in Honduras. He touched off a brief crisis at the Mexican border and was the object of a frantic search in La Antigua Guatemala. Yet as durable as the patterned shell he calls home, Jamal perseveres. “Slow and steady wins […]

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Revelers turn heads at Antigua’s version of Mardi Gras

Costumed revelers — and at least one pimped-out piñata — provided Antigua’s down-sized but festive version of Mardi Gras on Fat Tuesday night at the second annual Antigua Masquerade Ball. An eye-catching assembly of plumed, beaked and beaded guests converged outside La Merced for a parade to the ruins of San José El Viejo, where the Venetian-style charity event was […]

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Blues master Steve James performs in La Antigua

Internationally known blues guitarist Steve James traveled from Austin, Texas, to perform for an appreciative audience at Ocelot, the blues & jazz joint in La Antigua Guatemala. The intimate setting, limited to just 50 guests, was the perfect venue for James’ flawless fingerpicking on the guitar and mandolin. Singing old standards and newer favorites from his latest CD, ‘Short Blue […]

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Medical Tourism

As more U.S. residents are going abroad for medical treatment, an Antigua company guides medical tourists to doctors in Guatemala Frustrated with the rising costs and maddening bureaucracy of the U.S. medical system, more patients are looking overseas to get treatment of the same or better quality at a fraction of the cost. This year, well over 1 million North […]

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Maguey Journey

Maguey Journey book cover

Discovering Textiles in Guatemala Author: Kathryn Rousso Three parts within 14 chapters; illustrations, b/w & color photography; appendix 1-5; table, Mayan terminology; glossary; bibliography; further reading & index Publisher: The University of Arizona Press, Tucson www.uapress.arizona.edu “There is no other publication quite like this one devoted to maguey use in Guatemala, past and present. Rousso’s photographs are excellent and provide […]

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Chocolate

Chocolate

Chocolate is coming back home to Central America, good chocolate at last. The cacao plant has been cultivated here for at least three millennia, the bean used as beverage and a food ingredient. Archaeologists found evidence of cacao cultivation at sites dating back to 1400 BC, with carvings of Maya enjoying the frothy, bitter drink. Spanish conquerors took chocolate to […]

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Magic Moments

Mayan wedding globe

‘I Do, Guatemala’ creates dream weddings amid Antigua’s romantic settings With volcanic backdrops, a signature arch, cobblestone streets and centuries-old ruins, La Antigua Guatemala couldn’t be more picturesque. Diana Sciarrillo of Guatemala City and colleague Romie Black of Atlanta (USA) want those and other images unique to Guatemala in wedding albums around the world. So last year they started “I […]

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Sensuous Guatemala: Enjoy Your Valentine

Ignore the deep sky-blue, the forested green Highlands, the foamy ocean surf, the coffee browns, the rich oranges and yellow lemons stacked high in market stalls. This month, drink in Guatemala’s Valentine colors—bright reds, soft pinks, pure whites. Valentine reds are long-stemmed roses in the markets, bougainvillea spilling over walls, poinsettias still in bloom from the holidays, brilliant scarlet huipiles […]

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National Orchid Exposition on Feb 3-6

National Orchid Exposition on Feb 3-6

February 3-6 The Guatemala Orchid Association presents the XXXVII National Orchid Exposition, featuring a colorful array of orchids and informative workshops, from Feb. 3-6 in Guatemala City. The event will be at Cervecería Centroamericana, Salón José Mariano Arzú Castillo, 3 ave. 17-16, z. 2. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is Q25. Guatemala, the Land of Eternal Spring, […]

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