Thursday, September 15, 2011

Emperor of Ice Cream

Miguel greets us early in the morning bearing bananas. It's guatemalan independence day, he explains before taking his day off. He's stopped by to make sure we're ok at the house. Todo bien? Miguel has been slowly repairing the collapsing steps (due to heavy rains) leading down to the house. Back breaking work. He's very kind and we like him and Mateo...the house crew. I enjoy these little exchanges; green limes, aloe vera, concern over Manly's paw, or chit chat about Maya and Pedro, the other dogs on the grounds and the daily doggie interactions, the rules of initiation into the extended pack.

We thank Miguel for the bananas and exchange some pastel de yogurt (yogurt cake). He tells us of the festivities in the village.

By 10am we find seats among the locals. Everyone in San Marcos seems to have already gathered around the basketball court, the makeshift town center. Children dressed in mayan and modern garb are ubiquitous, forming separate school circles. Parents and villagers crowd along the perimeter looking on...patient, prideful...bored. Speeches that sound more like sermons are followed by more sermons. Finally, everyone stands and mimes the national anthem. It's led by an american...190 years from spain folks! He sings with exaggerated fervor, his 15 mins of fame. Most people milli vanilli the words, hands on heart, unaffected by the baseball patriotism.

The first group of children line up in a rectangle and beat drums and marimbas. There's a harvest dance, what looks like a fertility dance with head dresses, a choreographed number to jennifer lopez mixed with spanish rap...everyone watches sipping free orange sodas. The performances are a pageantry with a dash of pomp...each group with their own element of flare, the toss of glitter, back flips, break dancing....everything you would expect on independence day, right?

Amidst the celebration, the real action is centered around the ice cream cart. Every minute, a child comes running, ready to recieve a cone. (View the entire emperor of ice cream set). Feliz dia de independencia Guatemala!

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