Day 8 San Antonio and Santa Caterina

San Antonio is a town where the women’s costumes are simple and blue. The red and white sign for LIDER, one of the political parties, is everywhere: on billboards, poles, and stones by the roadside.

San Antonio sits on a steep slope, and rain water flows down the mountainside in funnels. These boys are scraping through the mud left in the funnels for worms. I looked over their shoulders to see what they were doing, and they pretended to shoved the can of worms in my face. We shared a good laugh.

We visited a women’s weaving cooperative where this little four-year-old girl weaves colorful bracelets. Her eleven-year-old sister helps her by snipping off the ends and finishing the band.

We climbed up to the church located near the small market. It’s an obvious gathering place for the community with a gorgeous view of the lake, but as Vivien says, “Great views don’t buy rice and beans.”

Inside the church, volunteers were making ready for the celebration. A little Windex clears up the glass so that devotees can better see the reclining Christ.

This man cuts leaves of the corozo palm to make them even and pretty.

Next to the church stands Maximon’s shrine, decorated with fresh foliage and flowers.

This man’s teeth cuts the cord he’s using to create a string of hanging berries, possibly for dangling across the front of his store for the celebration. We saw many such strings of hanging fruit throughout the day.

At a pottery factory, a very small facility of small rooms and patios perched high on the side of the mountain, we saw the ceramic pieces ready for painting.

The pieces are made from molds.

These young men are using sandpaper to smooth the bottom of this pitcher.

A painter uses a razor tool to remove excess paint.

I’m happy with the moon and a smiling sun, that I bought for my new deck. I’ll just have to get them home in one piece.

The moon and the sun are common themes for the San Antonio pottery.

This man sits at the door of the pottery factory. He reads the Bible under his arm when visitors aren’t around.

We took the van to the town of Santa Caterina, where the main street is decorated with hanging fruit and corozo palms.

We had lunch at the Villa Caterina, a very nice hotel and restaurant with views of the lake. I ordered a chef’s salad, but when it appeared loaded with juicy beets that flavored all the other items in the bowl, I did a switch with Georgia for half of her pulled pork sandwich. Georgia LOVES beets,

so the switch made us both happy.

My roll with salad came with a pat of butter wrapped in corn husk.

After lunch as we wandered back to the van, we saw the hang gliders sailing over the mountains behind the town. The view of the lake must be magnificent from above.

Back in Panajachel, the town crawled with tourists, many of them young males playing cool.

And of course, the chiquitas were out in full force advertising this and that.

For dinner we went to Jose Pinguino’s Cafe (Jose Penguin’s Cafe) where restauranteur/motivational speaker Miguel entertained us while informing us about the Mayan culture. We once again made tortillas, and Marisol (Ellie) won for the best-shaped tortilla. That makes sense since she was born in Guatemala and has the tortilla-making gene.

Miguel’s daughters play the marimba, and Miguel showed us how the instrument gets its resonance from differently-shaped wooden boxes with holes covered by gut held together with beeswax. Imagine!

One of the daughters put on the traditional headdress of Santiago Atitlan very quickly and without a mirror. It is amazing how the whole thing, a very long band, holds together without fasteners.

Miguel left us with these words of wisdom:
If you’re happy, I’m happy. If you’re not happy, I’m happy.
(Maybe you had to be there to be captivated by Miguel’s big smile and heart.) A very enjoyable evening cut short as we’re getting up early tomorrow for the Good Friday celebrations.

Sent from my iPad

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