Guatemala: Home of the Hearty

I’ve been here in Guatemala a little less than two days, but I can already tell you one thing: These people are tough.  Not just for making it through 30 years of civil war to see the other side, but in lighter ways.  Before my trip, I posted a link to a LA Times article about the Mayan ruins of El Mirador, a massive, still partially unearthed system of temples that predates most of the other civilizations around here and could be even bigger.

The story I linked to talked of the harrowing journey to the site, a two to three day trek from here.  I was impressed. But here I’ve learned that the trek to the site is old hat for folks around here and tours are quite common. Harrowing? Forget it. These people eat harrowing for breakfast with a side of frijoles.  Just ten minutes ago as I sat here typing, a procession of locals made their way through the streets of Flores in the driving rain, decked out in full costumes in the back of a long line of pickup trucks. As far as I could tell, they were promoting an upcoming Carnivale celebration, or something like that. The colors on the sign were running a bit. Did I mention the absolute driving rain here? And the people in scant costumes and outlandish makeup looking like they were having the absolute time of their life? Earlier today I was astonshed by the ancient civilization of Tikal, but I’m pretty impressed by the spirit of the modern one around here as well.