Saturday, November 3, 2012

Panajachel, Guatemala: Halloween, Kite Festival, Cemetary Visit

We left Vieques, Puerto Rico the morning of October 30, expecting to stay the night in Guatemala City before coming on into Panajachel on Lake Atitlan.  However, we were "picked up" at the Miami airport by a couple, Phyllis and Blaine returning to their home near Panajachel.  They convinced us to share a shuttle with them and found us an inexpensive place to stay ($25/night) right in town.  They took us under their wing, showing us around town and introducing us to many of their English-speaking friends at breakfast the next day.
Straight from the Ottoman Empire:  Blaine was Sultan  Mehmet and Phyllis was his favorite wife, Fatima.
Phyllis and Blaine's friend Jenny invited people to bring friends to her Halloween party, so we came as tourists and had a marvelous time, meeting many more people.

One person we met is Asrid, a Guatemalan woman who was traveling to Guatemala City on November 1 - the day of the kite festival and near to Sumpango where the kite festival took place - so we got a ride with her!  We stopped at the local travel company and arranged for our ride back - we have had angels guiding us all along!

The biggest kites stand but don't fly - but all of the rest were launched in a great kite competition.
The big kites are very elaborate and take the whole year for groups of people to make.  Launching the medium-size ones takes several people.  The food was great and there are lots of little kites in the air as well.  More pictures...

The ride back to Panajachel took us directly to the cemetery, where we watched families put flowers, candles, and incense at the grave sites.   We had a delicious meal in the cemetery as well.

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