Guatemala - Oct. 19, 2006 Thursday


2 of the 5 volcanos we saw in Guatemala - one burped for us and another was smoking. In the foreground, the rocky out cropping is the front part of a larger rock which is believed to be a meteorite.


our guide, Dario, at the textile cooperative talking about the various symbols shown in the weaving patterns

Our all day tour was a special combination of tastes of the city of Antigua, history, culture, a textile cooperative, textile museum, a music museum, and a jade archeological lecture and shop. We were blessed with a very good tour guide, former school teacher, with a good command of english.

On the ride out to Antigua, he talked about the formation of Guatemala - tectonics and volcanos. It is because of the rich soil from the volcanos that they can grow coffee on the sides of the volcano.

He also talked about the high illiteracy rate. The mayans don't see literacy as important and male children at 10 can work in the fields.


some of the crafts at the cooperative - embroidery as well as weaving. The weaving was both brocaded and double faced.


one of the ladies weaving at the cooperative on a back strap loom - each booth was primarily their own crafts

Our first stop was a textile cooperative. Unfortunately we only had 30 minutes for both a bathroom and shopping stop. Beautiful work!!!! When asked whether this was all hand done or whether it was machine done, our guide assured us it was by hand. Apparently, there are nearly 2 dozen villages where the major industry is weaving which accounts for the high production. Lots of different designs, both modern and traditional to be found. Rich colors - cottons and silks primarily with a little wool.

one wall of textiles - example of women's garb, from the textile museum


ladies warping, weaving, and embroidering at the textile museum

lots more pictures coming!!!!!!

Then on to a textile museum. There were mannequins of cornhusks showing the different costumes of the different areas. In other rooms were the actual dress from the different areas -- about 60 years old - still vibrant! Then more weavings.

In another section several ladies were doing all the various steps and forms of weaving. Then rooms with stuff for sale. Yes I bought a jacket - beautiful woven cotton with embroidery on the front. I couldn't resist!

ps. most of the cotton comes from Mexico now


playing the marimba (the national instrument) at the music museum


the fountain in the entrance of the hotel where we had lunch

Then on to the music museum. Here we were serenaded in a lovely garden courtyard with traditional music. The museum showed the evolution of Guatemalan music, its use in festivals and holidays. Then a short film which showed how music was used today by the people. It was wonderful to see the different areas and traditions of the peoples of Guatemala. Best of all were the faces of the people. Some were right out of the mayan temples!

Lastly we had a small cup of coffee - the best cup of coffee I've had in a week!!!!!!!!!!!


typical of the well to do houses - large fancy doors for carriages,separate from the entrance door, barred windows, tile or tin roofs, plants (flowers and weeds) growing on the roofs


main government building on the main square - 16th C facade

Then on to lunch at a hotel - soft drink or beer, bean soup, chicken in bell pepper sauce, rice, corn on the cob, corn tortillas (homemade), rolls, coffee, and dessert of bananas in a chocolate plum sauce - not sweet. Yummy.

Then onto the jade shop and archeological museum; including a long walk over nasty cobblestone streets. The shop owner was an archeologist who discovered the mayan jade mines and she has rebuilt their industry. Interesting talk and dangerous shopping.

Fully sated we boarded the bus for the ride back via the main square. It rained on the way, but cleared as we neared the port. It was clear enough for us to do some last minute shopping at the market at the pier. It was a riot of color and textures of crafts - textiles, wood, beads, stones, leather, and more!

Back to the Panama Trip introduction page

Rights to all pictures and text reserved by Robin Berry and Will Ringer Oct 2006.