Monday, April 25, 2011

Resurrección en Guatemala

On Saturday I arrived, with a classmate, in Guatemala City and then took a four hour bus-ride to Guatemala's second largest city, Quetzaltenango, also known as Xela (pronounced Shay-la). We arrived in Xela after dark and found our way through the mostly un-labeled streets to a hotel we had reserved while we waited at the bus station in Guatemala City. We had eaten little on Saturday, arriving early in the morning from an overnight flight from Los Angeles and then waiting for seven hours at the bus station with few food options so we were famished by the time we got our hotel room. We decided to brave the dark streets in a country known for it's violence (in certain places) and were not disappointed by that decision. As we walked to a more central part of the city it began to rain and we found a small square with an adjacent cathedral which was filled with people celebrating Easter-vigil.
The square and the cathedral with overflow crowd in background.

After finding a food cart which would accept dollars, as we had run out of quetzals and there was no ATM nearby, we devoured a much-needed dinner.
The food stand where we got out of the rain and had some excellent dinner. I tried to take this one stealthily with my iPhone to avoid looking any more like a tourist than I already did.

As I looked around at the other people eating and those sitting in the pews for the overflow crowd coming out the doors of the cathedral I noticed that we were the only Gringos, which I took as a good sign as hopefully we will get a more authentic Latin American experience in a place that doesn't exist mainly to cater to tourists.
Contraption to heat water for the shower. Amazingly no one got electrocuted and if you turned the stream of water down low enough it actually got pretty hot.

On Easter morning we made our way back to the same square and got some coffee and tamales for breakfast. We had planned to worship in a Presbyterian church while in the city but after a short taxi ride were disappointed to find that church firmly locked.
The same square in the morning.

We walked back toward our hotel and went into the first "evangelical" church service we passed. Unfortunately it was a pretty extreme Prosperity "gospel" Word of Faith type of church. I hardly speak Spanish and even I could tell it was Word of Faith heresy but my friend who speaks a lot more Spanish was quite disgusted by the end of the sermon. I regretted not just having gone to one of the many Roman Catholic options we had passed by. Overall it was great to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord here in Guatemala though. He is risen!

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