Guatemala Part 3.

Coffee beans! But first, chicken buses.

Chicken buses are one of the primary ways people get around in Guatemala. It’s called a chicken bus because people would tie baskets of chickens to the roof with the rest of their luggage. They are school buses from America that we’re done with. Guatemala buys them, paints them in the jauntiest of colors, gives it a name like “Esmerelda,” slaps some chrome and maybe some lights on there and uses them as mass transit. Not surprisingly, I loved them.

Type in “Chicken Bus Guatemala” into Google Images and scroll through that. It’s a vibrantly-festooned good time.

Coffee beans! I went to a coffee plantation in Costa Rica and a lot of the information is the same concerning how the plant grows and how its harvested, etc. Here’s a link to that:

http://design-newyork.com/blog/2012/02/28/costa-rica-2012-part-7/

Here is the enormous cement area where the coffee beans are spread out to dry.

Here are the beans dry before roasting.

These are coffee bean plants and a little pollinating bee. You go, bee! I’m proud of you.

 

Would you like to see the scariest roasting machine ever? Here ya go. If someone wheeled that into a room where I was being held captive I would immediately start spilling state secrets.

Teeniest church ever on the coffee plantation. Fits four parishioners max.

And gorgeous plants all over the property, especially the striped boo.

In the main house the owner had some coffee-oriented items. There was a collection of spoons.

And cups.

And a coffee advertisement from 1657. It looked like an olde versionne of a 1950s ad:  “Coffee puts pep in your step!”

There was a small museum on the coffee plantation. Similar to Mexico (which is not surprising since they share a big ole border) Guatemala uses those lovely paper-cut decorations on their ceilings.

And also, not surprisingly, there’s a whole bunch of spiritual non-Christian religious traditions that are still practiced. Here is a small costume worn in a ceremony. Common themes are mirrors and masks which you can see here.

There was a store in the city of Antigua (more on Antigua later) where they had a whole wall of these kinds of costumes and masks decorated with sequins and antlers. I wanted everything on that wall. It’s a good thing that place was closed most of the time because I would have laid my credit card down and asked them to fill up a truck.

While we’re here, let’s look at some random bits and pieces that relate to anything else specifically. First, geckos in light fixtures! I do love me some geckos in light fixtures.

A cemetery on a hillside. Vibrantly-painted mausoleums. I think that’s something we should adopt here, everyone should have their tomb painted the color they loved most. It tell you a little something about the deceased.

Every culture has a craft that they are excellent at. In Guatemala it’s thread-based. The embroidery / cross-stitch / loomwork / quilting / braiding is unreal in both its skill and diversity of styles. I bought some stunning bracelets using a popular pattern but different colors.

Here’s a Pinterest page that shows a pretty good sampling of the variety of threadwork. It’s pretty phenomenal.

https://www.pinterest.com/CasaAmarosa/guatemalan-embroidery/?lp=true

And here is something that made me laugh every time I saw it. In one of the hotels we stayed in there was a gift shop. No big whoop there. There was, however, a painted box on display. I assume the artist was trying to make a lovely tableau of Guatemalan items together, a themed still life. The only problem was there was an owl that looks like it had been sucker-punched in the back of the head while witnessing something profoundly traumatic. Every time I saw it I got the giggles.

Next entry: the town of Antigua.

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