Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Walk in the Park

Since Saturday is our P day, we spent time getting our laundry done and corresponding via email.  When we were finished, we took a walk down a street we had only driven previously and looked in the shops on the way to the Demo.  Sundays are the BIG market days, so it wasn't really crowded.  This is the entrance to one of the larger grocery stores in the city.

This is a typical street scene in Xela, with an occasional well built church and lots of vendors selling everything imaginable.  It's similar to a farmer's market in many respects.

The children of the merchants stay with their parents on the long days of selling, with little or nothing to do.  They appear to be uncomplaining and understand it is part of their responsibility to the family.  When I went to the correo (post office) the other day, the office itself was about the size of a laundry room and a mom was running it singlehandedly with her little boy on a stool watching Guatemala's version of Judge Judy on  a television a few feet away.  Every letter is hand processed and stamped by the postal worker and the factura (receipt) is written by hand on carbon paper.

With stalls set up around the entire perimeter of the park, this is a fairly common sight as we enter the park; usually people haul much larger containers on their heads and backs.  The woman's skirt is a corte tube that she steps into and then ties securely with her belt(s).  The corte fabric is generally handwoven by men and each type of cloth represents a different village or community.  There are elaborate aprons that are customarily worn over the skirts to protect them.  They are expensive to purchase and are a matter of national pride.

This Catholic Church is lovely and is less than a block from our apartment.  From where we are standing to take this photo it is ten degrees cooler than on the street and a nice refuge from the sun.  Sorry to mention that to those of you who are freezing in Minnesota right now.

These elaborate carvings and monuments are common.  This particular one is one of the centerpieces of the Demo Park.  It is often breezy here, which is a blessing.  All of the diesel fumes are drawn up and away throughout the day.

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