Friday, July 2, 2010

M&M Weekend: McDonald's & Maximón

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

Since we did not go to Agua in the morning which was 4AM when we were going to be up if we were going Danny and I got to sleep in until forever. I really needed it because I was exhausted and I am not sure what I was exhausted from exactly but I was. After breakfast we met up with Christina, Rachel and Emily. We were all supposed to go shopping and we did for a little bit until I got bored. It was soo hot and hungry and bored because I am just not a good shopper specially when I cannot buy anything. So after like 3 hours Danny and I headed out to the Market and then to McDonald's. Since it was a very clear day this time you could see the volcano. I do not think that we ate there but just looked around in the place and then took a picture by the fountain with the volcano in the background.

Me at McDonald's with the Volcano in the background!

Danny's picture includes the fountain & Volcano!

By this date my hair was really getting on my nerves so the picture above is after I got a haircut in Antigua for only 3 Dollars!! I actually think it is a very good haircut. My bangs are always the place where people who do my hair mess up but this lady did them perfectly she was a pro! I wish I could remember the place so that I could promote it here! Gosh Darn it! But Saturday was a fun relaxing day with the host family as well.

Today as well some of the people from our group went to Ciudad Vieja and donated some items. We were supposed to join them as well but we over slept. I heard it went great when we bumped into Emily Potter who told use they got to meet the Vice-President of Guatemala, which was great!

One last thing about today was that I picked up my shoes from this guy who fixed them for me. Because of all the rain my shoes were falling apart, they had holes on the side and everything. Well when I picked up my shoes and I asked him for a receipt he told me that he could not write, and then I started to think back and it hit me, there had been quite a few instances in which people had mentioned they could not read or write and this really bothered me but also made me appreciate this people so much more. You see these people had a lot of reasons to fail, they could not read or write their own name but yet they found a profession and they succeeded and that is admirable. I was saddened by the fact that they had this disadvantage but I also looked up to them and to the fact that they succeeded and they have a job and not just out on the streets begging for money blaming their inability to read or write as the reason they cannot get a job.

I love Guatemala and it's people who are always striving to be the best they can be!!!

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

Today we all, well most of us went on a trip to Itzapa, to visit Maximón's temple. My teacher told me that before people wold go worship him right in the middle of the main plaza in Itzapa but when we got there we actually had to go to this kinda creepy place. We got dropped off by the bus and then walked in between two fields of corn and then found the place a little secluded and less public than what I had imagined.

We took the chicken bus there and what the chicken bus is like is pretty much a school bus, that has been remodeled and its a pretty cheap form of transportation in Guatemala.

Inside the Chicken bus, it's just like the school bus!

I hit my head when I exited the bus through the backdoor!

When we first go in it looked like there was a lot of garbage on the floor and what not well not a lot but more tha usual but Dr. Golsan said that this was stuff that was actually used to worship. There was a coupke of people burning the ground almost and I was a little afraid. In addition we saw more people in a circle right outside the temple and they had two black chickens that they were using to cleanse themselves and they were all passing them around. At the end what they would do would be to kill the chickens and offer them as a sacrifice for Maximón.

The entryway to Maximón's worship place!

People preparing to worship Maximón

People outside the Maximón temple, preparing for the chicken sacrifice

People praying to Maximón, notice how the fire is just on the ground!

After no longer being able to watch the sacrifice we all headed inside the temple were we saw a lot of candles all different colors and also Maximón himself. There was a welcome sign right above him, it was a little funny looking. We also saw a lot of candles all of different colors for the different meanings, and the black ones are the worst ones because i think they mean you are wishing for something very bad like a curse on someone or something like that. There was people who were lining up to go real close to Maximón and then get healed there by the witch doctor I would assume. The witch doctors were those people wearing red bandanas and they did cleansing what they did was that the person wold stand there and they would kinda hit them with different herbs and I mean hit like it sounds like it hurts. So after this the witch doctor would put alcohol in their mouth and then spit it out at the person all over their body it was a little gross to me. I was pretty okay with it until the witch doctor person did that to a little girl and then I judged a little. After all of this this witch man came and started talking to us and he was really creepy I got really scared when he looked at me so I just left outside. Outside the sacrifice was just staring and it was weird but I could not look away I was so Thankful that Danny stepped right in front of me as they cut the chickens heads off, or I would have probably flipped out.

Finally after everyone had their look we all started to leave but not before some people stopped outside to buy their
Maximón souvenirs. I was really creeped out so I did not buy anything and all I wanted to do was go to church because I felt like I had betrayed God by coming to a place where on Sunday instead of worshiping Him they worshiped someone else.

Maximón, I loved the beinvenidos sign!

People were up there infront of Maximón getting healed and what not

The different colored candles represent different things, the black candles are not good

The lady in the red is like a witch lady and with herbs she is cleansing the other lady

After cleansing the lady she spits alcohol around her body

Stand outside where you can buy Maximón related things

Finally after a while we all left to the chicken bus stop. During one of the stops I found a sign with my name on it and we saw two dogs who were stuck together and everyone laughed and so the mood was starting to change.

Finally we arrived in Antigua and we walked for what seemed forever until we arrived at this place where there was brunch, but by the time we got their brunch was over. Because Danny and I had had nothing to eat in the morning we were starving so instead of exploring with the rest of the group we walked to El Parque Central to find something to eat.

The whole group back in Antigua after our Maximón adventure!!

The parrot in the cafe, we saw it on our way out

Later that night I watched a movie and Danny and I went to dinner at this place called Madre Tierra, Mother Earth, which you would not believe but only served chicken!! I thought it would serve salads--not that I would have any, but it was a delicious meal.

Oh yeah one final thing was that on this day I finished reading the book Sarah's Key which was really interesting. It was a nonfiction book about the holocaust in France and how the French police had locked up and exterminated many families.

I had a great time on Sunday and I even managed to make it to mass in Spanish!!!

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