little backyard garden at homestay
Well it´s with mixed emotions that the time has come after a 3 week stay to move on from Xela. Guatemala is such a great country and I really want to take some time to see some more of it before I go on to Honduras , but I will definitely miss Xela life and the friends I have made here. I completed my third week of Spanish lessons at Celas Maya this week , studying again with Carlos , my teacher from the first week. I decided that three weeks of lessons is enough for now - I´ve been learning more and more new stuff each day without really consolidating & fully absorbing what I´ve learned already - so its time for a break from the lessons ...I may well take some more classes later on in my trip.
The highlight of this week was when I went to Zunil , a nearby indigenous mayan village , to to meet "San Simon".
the dogs playing
"San Simon" or "Maximon" (the mayan name) is the patron saint of drinking , smoking and revelry , whom the Mayan people worship because they believe he can grant them miracles. I thought I was being led on a bit of a wild goose chase as I asked different locals where I can find the house of San Simon in Zunil but eventually up a back alley I found his little house. The effigy of San Simon has to be seen to be believed - its basically a mannequin dressed up in a smart suit with rayban shades and sitting on a little throne. He is given alcoholic drinks by the Mayan people who pray to him - there is a system where San Simon reclines to take the drink and he has tubes to pass out the liquid into a bowl when he wants to pee. They also give him lit cigarettes in a little cigarette holder . I have to say it was highly entertaining if a little bizarre bordering on the ridiculous , but if the Mayans believe in it then I wish all good luck to them , I hope they get their miracles.
Moving forward I´m now heading north towards the highlands of Guatemala to see some of the more off the beaten track indigenous villages. After the discipline of three weeks homestay with my Guatemalan family and three meals a day of what can be at best described as "basic" food at really regimented meal times , I have to say I am looking forward to the freedom of being a traveller again. Next stop.....Momostenango