Monday, 31 March 2014

antigua and beyond

Surprisingly we escaped the worst of the belly aches despite the native food we were all unused to... except our guides of course because I had every one plied with doses of essential high grade therapeutic oils I had with me complete with capsules and pipettes to administer them. The main one thieves oil

derived as a recipe apparently from a group of thieves in the time of the great plagues that tore through France, these men stole from the dead who were left to rot with no one venturing near the corpses for fear of catching the deadly, and at that time, incurable disease. The oil is a combination of strong plant oils like citrus, clove and cinnamon that combine to basically knock out must bugs in their tracks!

Being a tad horrid to take, I was perhaps the most vigilant and unsurprisingly the only one who did not get sick at all. Even our guides had a day or so in Antigua that threatened to end badly but were staved off with the oils. My sons, despite my warnings, kept drinking Coke and they finally realised it must have been being made with the local water because, dosing them as I was, it seemed they would threaten and then barf all too often!! Only the oils arrested its taking hold!

 Oh yes and the refrigeration issue... mm may have something to do with why fighting microbes was a tad more difficult for us weakies from the sanitised west...

From our short stop... and finally real coffee... yes i admit I missed my little luxury of good coffee... even though the beans are actually grown here...
we drove to the lake region and our final big stopping point where I was to really make use of the lessons I had filtered into me over this journey.

We arrived in Panajachel and a most beautiful house. Here we stayed as friends and family arrived to join us in preparation for what was turning into quite an event that was originally just a private ceremony for Isabel and her husband and son to welcome them in the Mayan tradition.

 The volcano is mesmerising .. in all its shades... only my eldest son ended up climbing it with a guide under our guide's organisation. Isabelle had been a guide for this mountain for many years and done it many times with people but this time she was here for me and her family, so indi went with another professional and managed to do one of the best times down the hill - even the guide was impressed!

  the garden out my bedroom window
same view only looking at the volcano

After so many weeks of tortillas and corn chips...I was thrilled to finally find a market and have a kitchen to cook in... finally some green food and simple fish! 

We investigated the local culture and visited the huge market 


 some one hour drive away through some of the worst roads in Guatemala with things they call 'speed' humps. As they are essentially large blocks of concrete with no flow to them they are really stop-dead-in-your-tracks humps that only a large vehicle can really navigate because anything else will have the undercarriage ripped out! Then you start again in first gear... slowly... only to stop for another one before you can accelerate out of second gear... so I am not really sure the distance is that far but OMG the road is wild with sheer drops off the side and fallen landslides caving the road away...

First adventure was the parking lot...
 It was taken up with the local pigs... and the pay to get a piece of loo paper toilets...

But most intriguing is the entrance to the church that is surrounded and imbued with the smoke of burning Frankincense both a Catholic smoking of evil spirits 

and an incorporation of acknowledgement of the good spirits that they come to thank and speak with... 
in the time of the slaughter of their faith it was the catholic brothers that often helped them and hid their people in times of need. 

As a result the two religions have become intricately blended as the Mayans learned to hide their ceremonies and prayers in the very idols of Catholicism that lined the church walls 

This pic the husband is throwing aqua de fleur to ward off spirits right onto the sculpture... I found this sacrilegious as a n artist wondering how long the art would last the many bathings it would receive daily! lol but I was happy they were happy and marvelled once again at our indomitable spirit even in the face of great tragedy.

Most entertaining were the actual snake oil salesman complete with live snakes and bottle of oil making the crowds laugh uproariously as he claimed all manner of things it would cure from groin mal function to hair growth... such humble beginnings...;)

Eating in the market... always an adventure.. the kids had a great time!


  the locals always watched us and would smile at our antics....

the wooden carvings of this spirit were everywhere

 End of a long day Aleix in his jammies...was asked to tell us what the flowers for the wedding smelled like... sooo cute!

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