Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Second Annual Giant Kite Festival at Lake Atitlan

For the second year, I got to go up the hill to see the Barriletes Gigantes -- giant kites -- at the Lucy Sturgill Foundation festival. This time Bert came with me and I thought it would be fun for him to take the camera while I hung out with my friends. It was a great idea...and a horrible one! He took HUNDREDS of pictures! Ha ha! It's taken me two weeks to sort thru them and choose the ones to showcase here. He is a great photographer and has a wonderful perspective. It was neat for me to come home and go thru the pictures and see the festival thru his eyes.

Note that this is NOT the really big kite festival that happens every year in Sumpango. That one is a few hours' drive away from us and is super crowded. There are a lot more kites there and much bigger ones but it happens on November 1st, a day that I am most often recovering from a fun night out for Halloween. This smaller festival suits me just fine. Plus there is a spectacular view of Lake Atitlan.

We had to walk a bit from the parking lot to the grounds. This was our first glimpse of the Lake and volcanoes.

The view looking the other direction -- corn and hills for as far as you can see. And pine trees!

You could get really close to the edge and look down down down.

This is just to the side of where the paragliders take off!

I can see my house!!
An old man was blowing in a conch shell and making a blessing over a fire.

It was very windy and this kite broke while we were looking at it.

The kites are made of a bamboo frame with paper and tape.

Unique shape.

Of course, Bert found a stray dog to feed.

The largest kites were being assembled down at the bottom of the slope.

Amazing detail

I loved this one.
This one had a neat theme of how corn makes up the Mayan people.

Bert went down to the bottom of the grassy slope to look back up at everyone.

These were the queens of the kites...or something. I think they were actually from Sumpango.
They are being interviewed on TV.
The queen and the "breezes"? 
Their traditional outfits were beautiful.
This is a more accurate picture of what these girls went thru. See the two dudes with the cameras? ALL day people were snapping pictures of these girls like they were movie stars.
In addition to the big kites, kids were flying little kites all over the lawns.
I stole the next eight pictures from my friend who took some great photos of some things Bert missed.
Selling kites for the kids.
The kites were so pretty against the blue sky.
Me! Showing how big the kites were...and there were way bigger too!
A great pic of that shaman dude and his ceremony.
There were also craft booths. This was rughooking from old second hand fabric.
A charity I support that does cat rescue. I bought a cute mug!
Kites in preparation, crowds, TV van, kites standing up, lake and hills. So much color!
Of course, there was AMAZING food there too. I got to have an arepa de pollo, the same as I had last year. It's a Venezuelan sandwich of chicken, mayo, cheese, and avocado sauce. So good!
Here's some videos that Bert took. You can hear the wind whooshing! Also, I love the excited sounds the crowd makes when the kites fly...and fall!

There's me! Huffing and puffing up the big hill on the way out of the festival.
I made Bert pose like he was admiring the Lake :D 
It was a great event and everyone who went with us said it was awesome and they were so happy that we went. I was glad that I could share it with some new friends and that Bert got to come this year.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Shoeshine Boys in Panajachel

Bert is a sucker...but in a good way. He's always giving away his last quetzal to beggars or shoeshine boys. And there are lots of them! But he knows which ones deserve the money. Here is what he wrote:
"These are some of the shoeshine boys in town. The kid with hat (second on the left) is my buddy Carlos. I am 42 years old and this is the first kid I ever met in my life that I actually liked. He is smarter than your average bear...and half the adults in town. Carlos and his little brother Jose (other kid wearing a hat) come to town every day from a little town up the mountain to shine shoes. They do it to help make money for their family and to help to pay for their schooling. I do what little I can to help, buy shoes and backpacks and school clothes for them and buy them chicken every day that I see them."
Shoeshine kids taking a break at La Palapa
 An added bonus in this picture -- in the back on the wall is Bert's 5Q Tequila mosaic! He's been working hard on a commissioned mosaic for a friend that has proven to be an arduous task due to the complexity he designed into it but he is persevering. When he is finished, I'll post some pics.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

A Magical Scene at Sunset on Day of the Dead

Bert and I walked out to the grocery store at sunset on November 1st and were blessed with a lovely sight. Families were out flying kites as part of Dia de los Muertos. I just love this tradition.