Monday, December 28, 2009

La Navidad en Guatemala

So -- Christmas in Guatemala!

It was actually pretty awesome. They celebrate in style here.:)

The night of Christmas Eve, or La Noche Buena, I had a GIANT Noche Buena dinner with Urs, Juan Carlos, and 6 other friends they had over for Christmas Eve. We were quite the group. Out of 9 of us, only 1 person was originally from Guatemala, 5 were from Switzerland, there was a German, a woman from Poland, and me. Between all of us, we were speaking Spanish, German, Swiss German? (because apparently it's different from German German...I had no idea), English, and even some Greek!

Dinner lasted hours and hours with a billion different courses, and I ate so much food (soup, salad, potato pizza -- yes potato, toast with mushrooms, and more) that I literally thought I was goning to be sick. Everything was delicious though. Right before midnight, we ate dessert, and at midnight everyone rushed up to the rooftop terrace. At midnight, everyone in town sets off fireworks from their house. They aren't super fancy fireworks, but they are everywhere you look, and you have to look out for ones that are gonig to go off right above your head. Dangerous, definitely. Awesome, definitely. Since it was dark outisde, we could also look across the lake and see the little bursts of color that were fireworks coming from otehr towns along the lake. So pretty! While the fireworks are going off, everyone yells "¡Feliz CumpleaƱos!" and gives everyone else the traditional Christmas hug (abrazo).

Christmas Day is actually pretty calm, but I ate the traditional and DELICIOUS Christmas tamales for breakfast. In Guatemala, a tamal is a treat for the holidays, and they are dishes of corn flour stuffed with chicken, veggies, cheese, or sauces, and boiled in a leaf wrapper. When they're ready, you take off the leaf wrapper and eat. YUM.

Later on Christmas Day we went hiking in the hills above San Pedro, where we walked through fields and fields of coffee plants. From just about every spot, there were gorgeous views of the town, the lake, and the nearby mountain called El Nariz del Indio or the Nose of the Indian.

More on our hikes in the next post!

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