Just back from my first return trip to India since Pan Am was the way to travel there, I found myself marveling at the progress made in that country while little or none has been made in Guatemala. The main difference is a great emphasis on education in India. There are schools, universities and "coaching" centers for the challenged everywhere and lots of children in neat, clean uniforms practicing their English every chance they get. On the Kerala coast we were asked "please, I would like one ball point pen," so many times that we decided that it was representative of their first full sentence in English.
Back in Guatemala I took Alex, Estela and their children to Guatemala City to see a movie in a real theater. The children had never been to the capital before and none, except Alex, had ever been on an escalator before. I proceeded up the escalator only to find them all standing at the bottom wondering what was happening. Popcorn and pop for all and we saw "Illuvia de Hamburgesas," (rain of hamburgers) or, in English, "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs." It actually had a good message for Alex, the distant padre.
As in the US the holiday season seems to start earlier every year in Guatemala. With a friend I went to a nearby village that must grow most of the planet's poinsettias as we visited nurseries that had literally thousands, as far as one could see. Most were marked "vendido" or "sold." Soon they will be in Home Depot in the states and on the streets of Antigua for far more than we paid for a dozen or so. The Christmas season in Guatemala is a mix of religious and thanks to those of us in the developed world, consumerism. There is a Christmas market selling creche provisions and also a fireworks market which blew up a couple of years ago thus it is now in a different location. The law dictates that all workers receive an extra month of pay mid- December and a lot of that seems to go for cerveza and stronger along with fireworks. The trees in central park are all lighted and the "posadas" which are processions of children seeking lodging for Mary and Joseph start mid-month. Feliz Navidad to you and yours!