Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Agroturismo Guatemala

Check out YouTube videos: search for Agroturismo Guatemala, and Lake Atitlan (Lago Atitlan). Interesting! Here's one example:

Segmento de Agroturismo Finca Los Andes, Guatemala, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STB8BtI26rE

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"How to grasp the fascinating birds of Guatemala in 10 days"


We design your trip to the fascinating world of birds of Guatemala absolutely free.
Who designs the trips?
A group of biologists, experts in birds, will guide you step by step to design the trip that you deserve, taking into consideration your expectations in terms of time, budget and birds to observe.
Founded in 1994, Martsam Tour & Travel is a family-owned tour operator with strong commitment to provide the highest quality service in the tourism industry.
Our tours are designed to create unique experiences that fulfill your expectations but also allows you the satisfaction of being part of the process of conservation of our resources and the planet, most of our destinations are within public and private reserves that form the network natural reserves of Guatemala.
For questions and comments, please feel free to contact us.
We are looking forward to your kind visit,
call or e-mail at PH. (502) 7867-5093 Fax. (502) 7867-5377
Call Toll Free 1-866-832-2776
info@birdwatchingguatemala.com

www.birdwatchingguatemala.com



Monday, December 29, 2008

El Palmar: Finca Patrocinio

Destinos: Quetzaltenango: El Palmar: Finca Patrocinio:
Nombre: FINCA PATROCINIO
Descripcion:
Finca Patrocinio es una reserva privada manejada por una empresa familiar con vistas hacia la conservación. Participa activamente en el desarrollo sostenible de Palajunoj, junto a otras seis fincas.


Patrocinio cuenta con varias secciones dedicadas a cultivos, como: café, cardamomo, banano, pacayina. Además cuenta con 0.75 caballerías de bosque virgen propio de este bioma. La casa patronal en el casco de la finca ofrece muchas comodidades. Hay senderos para recorrer la finca que pueden ser utilizados para observación de aves. Cuenta con un mirador hacia el Volcán Santa María y el Volcán Santiaguito a diez minutos del casco de la finca a través de un camino de terracería. Hay un recorrido en el beneficio de café donde se explica todo el proceso para su elaboración


Tipo de bosque: Selva subtropical húmeda (Type of forest: Humid subtropical forest)


Ubicación: Palajunoj, Municipio de El Palmar, Departamento de Quetzaltenango

ECO-HOTEL LAS GARDENIAS, Coatepeque





Sitio en Español
Destinations Activities Services-Deals Travel Tips

My Guatemala
Home Events News ServTur Images Multimedia Maps Links Contact Us




Services: Quetzaltenango: Coatepeque: ECO-HOTEL LAS GARDENIAS:
Category: Lodging: $5 to $50
Provider: ECO-HOTEL LAS GARDENIAS

Address:


KM 218.5 CARRETERA AL PACÍFICO

Departamento:


Quetzaltenango

Municipio:


Coatepeque

Telephone:


7775-6217 7775-6216

Informacion de la Entidad

Nombre: ECO-HOTEL LAS GARDENIAS Direccion: KM. 218 CARRETERA DEL PACÍFICO
Departamento: QUETZALTENANGO Municipio: COATEPEQUE
Telefono: 7775-6217 7775-0764 Fax: 7775-6217
E-Mail: ELMASHANAL@HOTMAIL.COM Pagina Web:
Jerarquía: --- Latitud: 14°41'630"
Longitud: 91°51'079" Altitud: 1601
Servicios:
Imagenes:

(more)

---

Note: Near Enclish's house in Coatepeque. Fabulous swimming pool with smaller pool for children, both have fantastic water slides! Spent all day there with the children and we all loved it. Had the best time ever in Guatemala!

El Palmar: Finca Patrocinio

Destinos: Quetzaltenango: El Palmar: Finca Patrocinio:
Nombre: FINCA PATROCINIO
Descripcion:
Finca Patrocinio es una reserva privada manejada por una empresa familiar con vistas hacia la conservación. Participa activamente en el desarrollo sostenible de Palajunoj, junto a otras seis fincas.



Patrocinio cuenta con varias secciones dedicadas a cultivos, como: café, cardamomo, banano, pacayina. Además cuenta con 0.75 caballerías de bosque virgen propio de este bioma. La casa patronal en el casco de la finca ofrece muchas comodidades. Hay senderos para recorrer la finca que pueden ser utilizados para observación de aves. Cuenta con un mirador hacia el Volcán Santa María y el Volcán Santiaguito a diez minutos del casco de la finca a través de un camino de terracería. Hay un recorrido en el beneficio de café donde se explica todo el proceso para su elaboración



Tipo de bosque: Selva subtropical húmeda



Ubicación: Palajunoj, Municipio de El Palmar, Departamento de Quetzaltenango

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Spanish Word of the Day

despertador, noun
alarm clock

We’ve already come across the words despertar and despierto meaning to wake up and awake. A related word which can prove very useful when you’re traveling is el despertador, an alarm clock. Notice the verb poner and the preposition para in this next example.

No te olvides de poner el despertador para las cinco.
Don’t forget to set the alarm for five o’clock.

And notice how you use the verb sonar:

Cuando sonó el despertador salté de la cama.
When the alarm went off I leapt out of bed.

One of the services your hotel is likely to offer is:

servicio de despertador
wake up call


Yesterday's Word - Previous Words - Help
Content By Collins
© HarperCollins Publishers Ltd 2006. All rights reserved.
Dictionary.com Spanish Word of the Day
http://www.dictionary.com/wordoftheday/es/

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pueblo a Pueblo



Welcome to Pueblo a Pueblo

Pueblo a Pueblo is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting the people of Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala. Located on the shores of Lake Atitlán, this community of more than 40,000 indigenous Maya suffered some of the worst mudslides as a result of Hurricane Stan. The Panabaj mudslides alone buried hundreds of people and left more than 5000 homeless and destitute. The Hospitalito Atitlan, the only ER, inpatient and surgical care facility in the area was once again closed - a victim of the disaster.

Hospitalito Atitlan
Donor will match your gift to rebuild a permanent hospital for the people of Santiago Atitlan

Pueblo a Pueblo both supports the operations of the temporary Hospitalito Atitlan and has begun a Capital Campaign to build a permanent hospital. We are pleased to announce that an anonymous philanthropist, through the Kendeda Fund has awarded Pueblo a Pueblo a challenge pledge of $750,000 to build the permanent Hospitalito Atitlan. This means the Kendeda Fund will match your donations dollar- for-dollar. Together, with the T'zutujil community, we can build a sustainable medical facility that will dramatically improve the health status of Santiago Atitlan and the surrounding indigenous communities.


(more) http://www.puebloapueblo.org/


Contact: Kenneth Wood - Pueblo a Pueblo NGO- in Santiago Atitlan, Solola
www.puebloapueblo.org
Hospitalito Atitlan
Referred by Claudina Monterroso who worked there 8 months as a volunteer coordinator

Proyecto GT (Project GT)



Proyecto GT
Free web resources for Guatemalan Non-Profits and NGO's

Bienvenido
Written by Administrator
Monday, 25 June 2007
Proyecto GT es una base de datos de fundaciones y otras entidades que dan apoyo y subvenciones a proyectos en México y América Central.
Proyecto GT se maneja y mantiene por personas como usted y por eso es un servicio gratuito. Por favor déjenos saber de cualquier cambio o información que se necesite actualizar. Si quiere incluir alguna fundación u otro recurso en la página contáctenos por correo electrónico al: raquel@entremundos.org

Babel Fish (rough translation)in English:

Project GT is a data base of foundations and other organizations that support and subsidy to projects in Mexico and Central America. Project GT handles and maintains by people as you and for that reason are a gratuitous service. Please déjenos to know of any change or information that is needed to update. If it wants to include some foundation or another resource in the page contáctenos by electronic mail to: raquel@entremundos.org

Guatemala: http://www.proyectogt.org/rdb/index.php?option=com_content&task=section&id=4&Itemid=26

* Agricultura ( 7 items )
* Animales ( 1 items )
* Arte ( 6 items )
* Afiliación Religiosa ( 8 items )
* Ayuda Humanitaria ( 8 items )
* Derechos Humanos ( 14 items )
* Desarrollo ( 37 items )
* Educación ( 24 items )
* General ( 3 items )
* Indígenas ( 14 items )
* Juventud ( 18 items )
* Medio Ambiente (grants, funds and foundations)- ( 25 items )
* Micro Crédito ( 2 items )
* Mujeres ( 19 items )
* Organizaciones Políticas ( 3 items )
* Pobreza ( 15 items )
* Salud ( 23 items )
* Salud Sexual y Reproductiva ( 10 items )
* Sociedad Civil/ONGs ( 12 items )
* Tecnología ( 3 items )

---


Main Menu
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Monday, December 22, 2008

Bruce Barclay, founder of Las Manos, died

Revue Magazine: Browse: Home / Border Crossing, Lake Atitlán / Bruce Barclay



Bruce Barclay

By Dwight Wayne Coop • November 1, 2008

Humanitarian, entrepreneur, and one of the founders of Modern Panajachel

Bruce Barclay, founder of a worker’s paradise in Panajachel, has died. The New Yorker of Jewish heritage was 60.

After arriving in Panajachel in 1978, Barclay had a vision for the east bank of the San Francisco River, which bisects Panajachel. He purchased the upper riverside and created a magnet for impoverished Mayas seeking a better deal from life. Bruce Barclay offered them one.

These people possessed what stoneware maven Ken Edwards calls a “corporate artistic gift,” a talent shared by whole communities. The local Mayas can take an introduced artistic medium and, without training, instinctively render it in new and beautiful permutations. (more)

---

Obituaries | PressDemocrat.com | The Press Democrat | Santa Rosa, CA
Published: Friday, September 5, 2008 at 3:42 a.m.

More than two decades ago, Bruce Barclay opened Las Manos, ... Barclay's former wife, Diana Celeste, was a designer and seamstress who made the patterns ...
www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20080905/OBITS/809050407/0/WIRE&title=Bruce_Barclay

NGO Networking - Antigua Network - Volunteer Charities

http://revuemag.com/2008/12/ngo-networking/
NGO Networking

By Revue Magazine • December 1, 2008

Written by by John Barrie
How the Antigua Network helps connect organizations productively through presentations and one-on-one contacts...
For more information about the Antigua Network and its many participants, email: dulcitainantigua@gmail.com. For monthly NGO activities and gatherings, refer to the December DateBook. (more)


Antigua Network ... Antigua Network. Events · Mission · Background · Profiles · Resources · Contacts · Terms and conditions · Privacy Policy ...
antiguanetwork.net/

---

DEFINITION OF NGOs

A non-governmental organization (NGO) is any non-profit, voluntary citizens' group which is organized on a local, national or international level. Task-oriented and driven by people with a common interest, NGOs perform a variety of service and humanitarian functions, bring citizen concerns to Governments, advocate and monitor policies and encourage political participation through provision of information. Some are organized around specific issues, such as human rights, environment or health. They provide analysis and expertise, serve as early warning mechanisms and help monitor and implement international agreements. Their relationship with offices and agencies of the United Nations system differs depending on their goals, their venue and the mandate of a particular institution. (more)

Historical Building in Guatemala - Viva Travel Guides

Viva Travel Guides: Unbiased. Up-to-date.
the travel guide YOU create.

http://www.vivatravelguides.com/central-america/guatemala/guatemala-activities/activity-type/historical-building/

Guatemala City

Interesting photos and info about visiting Guatemala City (which everyone has to, at one point or another) as well as other countries:

Guatemala City
Traveling without destination

http://www.caminandosinrumbo.com/guatemala/guatemala/indexe.htm

NGO Networking

Written by by John Barrie

How the Antigua Network helps connect organizations productively through presentations and one-on-one contacts

Another successful meeting of the Antigua Network was held recently in the spacious surroundings of La Peña del Sol Latino in downtown La Antigua Guatemala. The Network is the brainchild of Judy Sadlier and Gene Budinger, two active U.S. retirees who came to Guatemala in 2004. Judy and Gene both have a background in sales and say they “love to connect people.” The Network has been active since Spring 2005, when it first convened under the title of the Community Forum. It describes itself as “an informal network of organizations and individuals in Guatemala and outside the country who work to improve the living conditions, health, education, and economics of others in Guatemala.” The principal aim of the Network is simple: to bring together locally operating non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and interested individuals, with the goal of fostering cooperation between them and of increasing awareness among them of what other individuals and organizations are doing throughout the country.

Through the Network, organizations that require resources or knowledge can connect with those who are able to provide these things. Organizations that require volunteer assistance or materials find this connection very useful. The Network meets in Antigua three or four times a year.

Read the full story here: NGO Networking

With the wide range of NGOs and individuals working throughout the country, it is clear that the potential for the Antigua Network and similar organizations, including the monthly networking group at Stuardo’s Place, to make “the whole more than the sum of its parts” is great.

For more information about the Antigua Network and its many participants, email: dulcitainantigua@gmail.com. For monthly NGO activities and gatherings.

Source: revuemag.com

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Couch Surfing.com

http://www.couchsurfing.com/

EntreMundos ("Between Worlds")


Mission

EntreMundos is a non-profit organisation which supports and helps local communities non-profits increase their capacity while respecting their principles and values. EntreMundos is an intermediary which facilitates and connects organisations and volunteers, both national and international, with the objective of maximising the impact of each organisation.

It is a our aim to link socially and culturally active organisations in Guatemala together with useful resources, and to provide a forum and information centre for people wishing to become involved in social, cultural and political projects. We believe in the value of volunteer work for community and project development. http://www.entremundos.org/index.html

6a Calle 7-31 | Zona 1 | Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
mail@entremundos.org |
Tel: +502 7761-2179

Source: entremundos.org

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Weather in Guatemala

December 12, 2008. Actual conditions:



22°C
Guatemala La Aurora, Guatemala

El informe se hizo hace 15 minutos, a las 19:00 UTC. El viento soplaba a una velocidad de 5.1 m/s (11.5 millas por hora) del norte (360°). La temperatura era 22 °C (72 °F), con un punto de rocío de 12 °C (54 °F). La sensación térmica era de 25 °C (77 °F). La presión atmosférica era 1025 hPa (30.27 inHg). Había una humedad relativa del 53.0%. En cuanto a la nubosidad, algunas nubes a una altitud de 610 metros (2000 pies). En aquel momento la visibilidad global era mayor de 10 kilómetros (6.2 millas).

MGGT 201900Z 36010KT 9999 FEW020 22/12 Q1025 A3027


http://climaya.com/

Rough translation with BabelFish.yahoo.com:

The report became 15 minutes ago, to 19:00 UTC. The wind blew to a speed of 5,1 m/s (11,5 miles per hour) of the north (360°). The temperature was 22 °C (72 °F), with a dew point of 12 °C (54 °F). The thermal sensation was of 25 °C (77 °F). The atmospheric pressure era 1025 hPa (30,27 inHg). There was a relative humidity of the 53,0%. As far as the cloudiness, some clouds to an altitude of 610 meters (2000 feet). At that time the global visibility was greater of 10 kilometers (6,2 miles).

Lake-Atitlan.com

Lago Atitlan, Guatemala ~ Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Nightlife, Hotels, Restaurants, Stories, Nightlife, Etc.
A Resource for World Travelers on Lake Atitlan

maps
weather
stories
photos
resources
(more)

Escuela Caracol (Caracol School)

Our Vision:

The vision for Escuela Caracol spans a full primary school, from kindergarten up to 6th grade (or age 12). Our plan for growth follows an organic model that begins at the beginning – with a kindergarten. Expansion will occur as our students grow, adding primary school classes sequentially in the years that follow. In 2009, we will have a blended first and second grade class. The kindergarten – which we call KinderCaracol – currently meets five days a week for a half-day. Classes take place in an expansive garden filled with fruit trees, winding paths, rocks and trees to climb, and many enchanted areas for play. We have also built a small schoolhouse designed upon the golden rectangle, which is the basis of the golden spiral, found most commonly in the nautilus shell.

Our Community: San Marcos La Laguna lies on the shores of Lake Atitlán with an inspiring view of three volcanoes. This small pueblo of about 3000 people is located in the western highlands of Guatemala – a region predominantly inhabited by indigenous Maya for thousands of years. Within the past twenty years, however, a significant number of internationals and non-indigenous Guatemalans have relocated to the area around the lake. Many of these newcomers now have children and are discovering a sense of solidarity with indigenous people and their vital need for quality education. This is no slight dilemma in a country still recovering from a 36 yearlong civil war where hundreds of schools were burned and many educational workers “disappeared.” Though interest in education is increasing, public schools are in no way equipped to handle the need due to overcrowded classrooms, absent teachers,chronic mismanagement of resources, and school climates that exhibit residual tones of oppression and often violence. Viewed in this light, it is somewhat less surprising – though no less disturbing – that only 35% of Guatemalan children are enrolled beyond the third grade (UNESCO). An intense development of educational efforts is required if San Marcos and the other growing villages around the lake are to meet the many environmental, social, and economic challenges that lie ahead. What is needed is not just more education, but a different kind of education.

Holistic Education for an Intercultural Community

(more)

See also: http://www.escuelacaracol.org/OctUpdate.html

La Cambalacha (The Interchange)

Blog by Iriesky "Adventures in the life of a gypsy"

Kumar and I are heading off to San Marcos La Laguna (Lake Atitlan), Guatemala on June 15th.... I will be working with this beautiful nonprofit called La Cambalacha facilitating art, music, circus art, performance art, craft, and street theatre workshops with the youth (www.lacambalacha.org). I will be back at the end of this year in just enough time to catch some new years parties... see you then!!!
Thu, June 8, 2006 - 9:53 AM

Friday, December 19, 2008

Lake Atitlan Stories

Blog by Jopa. See more at:

http://lake-atitlan.com/writings/about/ and http://lake-atitlan.com/writings/category/on-lake-atitlan/

The Associates

* Atitlan Resource
* La Cambalacha
* Lake-Atitlan.com

About Lake Atitlan Stories
Posted in On Lake Atitlan by admin on the December 3rd, 2006

This is a blog with stories and writings about Lake Atitlan written by users of the lake-atitlan.com website. Please be kind and conscious when using this resource.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Onil Stove

http://www.onilstove.com/

The Onil Stove

In the late 1980's, HELPS International's medical teams reported an alarming number of children being treated for burns and numerous respiratory problems. Don O'Neal, an engineer with HELPS, investigated and found that the problem was the method of cooking that the indigenous Mayan women used in their homes, a centuries old tradition: cooking meals using an open fire pit on the dirt floor of their one room homes known as a "three-stone fire" with no ventilation, so families were inhaling noxious fumes causing Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI). More specifically, Mr. O'Neal found:
  • That the high instances of facial and hand burns were due to children falling into these open fires when they were playing or learning to walk.
  • That excessive smoke inhalation is the leading cause of death in Guatemalan children under the age of 5, according to to the World Health Organization. The deadly gas carbon monoxide was found to be twice the level considered to be dangerous.
  • That inefficient burning of wood for three-stone fires required the women and children to gather huge amounts of wood daily, contributing to Guatemala's deforestation at a level of 2% per year. The time lost to long treks to get the wood combined with the effect of carrying heavy loads had a detrimental health impact on women and their families.

The Solution

After consideration of the cultural as well as technological factors surrounding three-stone fires, Don O'Neal developed the "ONIL" Stove, a method of cooking that is compatible with traditional methods.


The Opportunity

Form your own stove-building team and work side by side with Guatemalan families on this project. Take the next step in changing the lives of children in Guatemala.

Click here to obtain the necessary forms or call us directly at 800-41-HELPS (800-414-3577). We can assist you in joining one of our existing stove teams or help you start your own team.

Each stove costs only $150 and can change the lives of generations of people. Click Donate a stove or contact us today by calling 800-41-HELPS (800-414-3577) or emailing info@onilstove.com. Stoves make excellent "socially responsible" gifts!

Source: helpsintl.org

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Los Tarrales

Discover the natural side of Atitlan volcano! Los Tarrales tourism program invites you to discover a jewel of Guatemalan nature.

Birdwatching: Endemics - Horned Guan, Highland Guan, Azure-rumped Tanager, Rufous Sabrewing ...

Tours in Rainforest and Coffee Plantation

Coffee and Ornamentals: Come see how coffee is cultivated and processed and where the ornamental plants come from!




(more)

Quetzaltrekkers


Volunteering in our Street School in Las Rosas
We currently offer free education to over 195 children (between 5-15yrs) in the economically poor neighborhood of Las Rosas, just on the outskirts of Xela (a 10min. busride). If you are interested in volunteering in our school we ask the following from you;
• Be able to commit for a minimum of 3 months, 5 days a week
• Speak intermediate Spanish
• Be flexible, adaptable and take initiative
• Have some experience working with children
• Help with fundraising events

Possible work at the School is limited only by the imagination and funding resources. Current needs; (co)-Teachers, Social workers, Health care workers etc. Working in our School you will most likely be working in the mornings unless you want to help out with computer classes in the afternoon. Co-teaching with one of the local teachers you will be involved in all teaching aspects. Helping children to learn to read and write, class discipline and in all other areas were needed. Our teachers are open towards any ideas or plans you have. Volunteers receive discount on a room in Casa Argentina (see below for prices).
For more information about volunteering in our Street School, please e-mail the school at edelacxela@turbonett.com. (Spanish only, please.) Estimated cost of living in Casa Argentina for volunteers:
(as of December 10, 2008, you get 7.65 Quetzals for US$1 and 9.97 Quetzals for EUR€1)
Room 600Q per month US$78.42/EUR€60.11
Food 400Q per month US$52.28/EUR€40.08
Other 200Q per month US$26.14/EUR€20.03
Total 1200Q per month US$156.83/EUR€120.20

Source: quetzaltrekkers.com



Quetzaltrekkers

Take a trek with us and all profits go to support street kids and children at risk in Quetzaltenango Through Escula de La Calle (EDELAC).





Want to volunteer with Quetzaltrekkers?
We are always looking for people to come and support our team!
We have had volunteers from countries all over the world working in our
different programs. Our project offers several positions to volunteer with.
Learn about becoming a volunteer Guide

Source: www.quetzaltrekkers.com

Monday, December 8, 2008

How to Recycle Plastic Bottles

FW: [Basurillas] Comentario: "Cómo reutilizar botellas de plástico."

Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2008 17:11:14
From: Susana Heisse
puravidaatitlan.org
in English: http://puravidaatitlan.org/english.html

English translation by Babel Fish http://babelfish.yahoo.com/
(rough, not exact, but better than nothing):


FW: [Basurillas] Commentary: "How to reuse plastic bottles"

Susana Heisse to Soul, americo, Ana, Carmen, carola, me, Cristina, cvargas, Daniel, Daniel, elmalex, Fuensanta, Gabriela, Hotel, Hugo, Inez, Ingrid, Isabell, jaibalito, jill, Juan, marlis, resistance, valentina show details 8:36 p.m. Wed, 3 DEC 2008


From: basurillasweb@gmail.com
To: puravidaatitlan@hotmail.com
Subject: [Basurillas]
Commentary: " How to reuse bottles of plástico."

Hello friends of Puravida, We are a group of people of Spain who very we are worried about the amount of residues and undone that estan contaminating the Earth and want to give to people ideas to reuse and thus to reduce I distribute.

For it, a year ago we created the Web www.basurillas.org in which everybody can participate. Recently, we made a article on your actions, that enchanted and transmitiros queriamos to us our support. http://www.basurillas.org/construccion-a-partir-de-botellas-de-plastico-pura-vida/

People who write and leave her commentaries to us, request more information to us on like constructing to a house like you habeis done. We sent one to you of them, in case podeis to help him. We offer ourselves to publish in our Web any thing that querais to make arrive at but people. Immediately, we wished much luck and much spirit you with your work.

A greeting -- Basurillas www.basurillas.org, info@basurillas.org, basurillasweb@gmail.com


---------- Resent message ---------- Of: chumil Jose Date: 2 of December of 2008 2:17

Subject: [Basurillas] Commentary: " How to reuse bottles of plástico."

It stops: basurillasweb@gmail.com

New commentary in its entrance #212 " How to reuse bottles of plástico."
Author: chumil Jose Email: jchumil@gmail.com URL:

Commentary: he is fantastic what can be made to contribute not to contaminate the environment, and to remove benefit to him for several years, the subject to construct to house, using bottles of plastic excites to me, since I do not count with money to construct my vivenda, and that gives a hope me to enjoy a safe ceiling, reason why I ask to them that they send information to me or the detailed instructions but to do it, I write to them from Guatemala.

blessings and ahead with this phenomenal project Aqu& can see all the commentaries of this entrance; iacute;: http://www.basurillas.org/como-reutilizar-botellas-de-plastico/#comments
--

2008/12/8 Susana Heisse ,
- Hide quoted text -



Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2008 17:11:14 +0100
From: basurillasweb@gmail.com
To: puravidaatitlan@hotmail.com
Subject: [Basurillas] Comentario: "Cómo reutilizar botellas de plástico."

Hola amigos de Puravida,

Somos un grupo de personas de España que estamos muy preocupados por la cantidad de residuos y deshechos que estan contaminando la tierra y queremos dar a la gente ideas para reutilizar y asi reducir el imparto. Para ello, hace un año creamos la web www.basurillas.org en la que todo el mundo puede participar. Hace poco, hicimos un árticulo sobre vuestras acciones, que nos encantaron y queriamos transmitiros nuestro apoyo.

http://www.basurillas.org/construccion-a-partir-de-botellas-de-plastico-pura-vida/

Gente que nos escribe y deja sus comentarios, nos piden más información sobre como construir una casa como vosotros lo habeis hecho. Os remitimos uno de ellos, por si podeis ayudarle. Nosotros nos ofrecemos para publicar en nuestra web cualquier cosa que querais hacer llegar a mas gente.

Sin más, os deseamos mucha suerte y mucho ánimo con vuestro trabajo.

Un saludo

--
Basurillas
www.basurillas.org
info@basurillas.org
basurillasweb@gmail.com


---------- Mensaje reenviado ----------
De: jose chumil
Fecha: 2 de diciembre de 2008 2:17
Asunto: [Basurillas] Comentario: "Cómo reutilizar botellas de plástico."
Para: basurillasweb@gmail.com


Nuevo comentario en su entrada #212 "Cómo reutilizar botellas de plástico."
Autor : jose chumil
E-mail : jchumil@gmail.com
URL:
Comentario:
es fantastico lo que puede hacerse para contribuir a no contaminar el medio ambiente, y sacarle provecho para varios años, el asunto de construir casa, utilizando botellas de plastico me entusiasma, ya que yo no cuento con dinero para construir mi vivenda, y eso me da una esperanza de gozar de un techo seguro, por lo que les pido que me envien informacion o las instrucciones mas detalladas para hacerla, les escribo desde Guatemala.
bendiciones y adelante con este fenomenal proyecto

Puede ver todos los comentarios de esta entrada aquí:
http://www.basurillas.org/como-reutilizar-botellas-de-plastico/#comments

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Globally Minded Works

Globally Minded Works
helps Mayan families in the Highlands of Guatemala rise above poverty through charitable and educational development.

Read our
blog or support our projects here.

Kat Vaughan
(MBA), founder and President, launched Globally Minded Works after living and serving in Guatemala for three years. She launched a non-profit internet cafe/technology center and directed a middle school, both around Lake Atitlan, in the Highlands of Guatemala. Kat also launched Globally Minded, a fair trade, eco-friendly jewelry business to help support Mayan artisans in Guatemala.

Making a Difference, one child, one teacher, one school at a time.

Globally Minded Works is looking for people to help us accomplish a myriad of tasks to help the Guatemalan people. If you are willing and committed, we welcome your arms and legs to do great works in Guatemala and for the people of Guatemala.

Globally Minded Works is committed to helping families in Guatemala obtain access to fresh water through affordable and portable water filters. A water filter costs approximately $35.00 and includes the manufacturing, testing, delivery and education for the family so they know how to use it. The water filter will last 3-6 years, depending upon usage.

We are committed to empowering the poor in Guatemala. Join us!

Donate $35.00 and help a family get clean water today. DONATE

Source: globallymindedworks.org

Burning of the Devil Day

How to burn the devil
Wednesday, 03 December 2008
By VALERIA CEREZO
Did you know you can burn the devil?
One of our traditions in Guatemala in December is burning the devil.
Yea, I know, the devil lives in hell, full of fire, but we like the idea of burning him!

VALERIA CEREZO

On December the seventh is when the Christmas holydays officially begin for us after this crazy but fun event.
It is widely believed that after you burn the devil on this day at six in the afternoon the house will be clean of all evil spirits and ready to begin the holly season when Christ was born.
It used to be a very serious day back when its mysticism was firmly believed, but like many other things in Guatemala, we eventually turned it into a party.


BURNING THE DEVIL

Originally, this bonfire took place as a purification process the day before they celebrate the virgin of the Immaculate Conception. There couldn’t be an immaculate conception without purification Of course! So this tradition is merely catholic.
In Guatemala we use it to clean our houses from evil spirits… Guatemala is a very superstitious country… but like I said, after a while we turned it into a party and a good reason to get together and share.
Before we became concerned about global warming and pollution, every single house in Guatemala burned the devil; here is how it goes: people gathered dry leaves and branches and other garden disposals and made a big pile right outside the house, at six in the afternoon this pile was put on fire, believing that the smoke and the fire would shoo all the evil spirits and bad vibes that might have made themselves comfortable at you house in the past year. As time passed, most families kept this old tradition but started adding new things.
For example, October is when the schools close for the summer vacation, although here is not summer but it’s the same concept; so kids grabbed all their school papers and notebooks and threw them in this jolly bonfire, dancing around it and burning firecrackers.
Yes they are legal in Guatemala, firecrackers and many other dangerous powder stuffed items. But trust me, kids at 5 already master firecrackers better than they do with a spoon for their cereal. (more)

Fundacion Tradiciones Mayas

Fundacion Tradiciones Mayas

The Fundacion Tradiciones Mayas is a Fair Trade organization working with cooperatives of Maya women weavers in Guatemala. We need materials to post in travel agencies and other places where we can attract tourists and wholesale buyers traveling to Guatemala. We offer educational tours on Fair Trade, weaving demonstrations and a Fair Trade shopping experience in Panajachel, Sololá (Lake Atitlan). These tours help support our social economic development programs while educating people about the ancient art of back strap weaving and Fair Trade. The promotional material could be an attractive bookmark, a brochure or a poster with presentation cards. We would like to start by placing these materials in fifty locations within Guatemala and the US during the month of January, 2009. There is no deadline and we have not yet developed a budget.

How to Apply:

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Want to Live in Guatemala?

International Living has produced a comprehensive report on Guatemala that explores its culture, its economy, and its history.Everything you need to know about Guatemala, whether you are interested in visiting, investing, or living in Guatemala, or are just interested in learning more about the country.

What is Included?
Tips on visiting Guatemala
What is Guatemala's system of government?
How is the economy?
What languages are spoken?
How do you obtain a visa?
What is the geography of Guatemala?
And much more!

(more)

American citizen living in Guatemala

You are here: Experts > Cultures > Mexico/Central America for Visitors > Guatemala > American citizen living in Guatemala

Guatemala - American citizen living in Guatemala
Expert: Armand Boissy - 10/8/2008

Question

Armand,

I love Panajachel and dream of owning property there one day!! Maybe once we are settled we will come see you.

My husband lived in Guatemala for 2 years and has taken me back 3 times. Our last visit we took our 3 older children and traveled all over the country. We homeschool our kids and we are business owners here in the States. We are planning to come live in Guatemala near Xela for a few years. We may end up buying property and starting business there if we love it and want to stay -which is a huge possibility. What are the laws about American Citizens buying property and starting businesses in Guatemala and what about health care? We basically use natural medicine to handle everyday illnesses but what about catastrophic insurance and care in case of a car accident or broken bone ect? What about bringing our vehicles in the country. Can we even register them in Guatemala if we are not citizens?

More up to date information on Guatemala Real Estate.

Finding Artisans for Spanish Colonial Building Materials

allexperts.com

You are here: Experts > Cultures > Mexico/Central America for Visitors > Guatemala > Finding Artisans for Spanish Colonial Building Materials

Guatemala - Finding Artisans for Spanish Colonial Building Materials
Expert: Pancho - 3/13/2006

Question
Hello Pancho,

My husband and I are traveling to Guatemala for the first time. This is a very spontaneous trip. (We only booked our flight a week ago.) We are celebrating our 20th anniversary and have wanted to go to Guatemala for some time. We are leaving March 23 and returning April 3.

Although we have traveled extensively in Mexico, this is our first trip to Guatemala. We fell in love with the Spanish Colonial architecture in a book called Casa Guatemalteca. My husband is a builder and we are beginning two projects in which we would love to be able to incorporate traditional Guatemalan materials.

My dream has been to start an import/export company and since we have an immediate application for these materials, I want to begin to explore this on our trip.

We are interested in purchasing colonial style building materials, especially wood doors, wood and tile flooring, wood cabinets, wrought iron for balconies and stairs. We are interested in both salvaged materials and newly manufactured products.

In addition to the building materials, we are also very interested in purchasing some of the beautiful Guatemalan Santos wood carvings, both old and new.

We would appreciate any suggestions or directions as to how to find artisans, collectives or companies to whom we might contact.

I appreciate your assistance. We are very excited about the possibility of being able to build a successful export business by bringing to the United States some of the products produced by the many talented Guatemalan artisans.

I did contact the Guatemala Consulate in San Francisco. They asked me to send them an email which I did. I will contact them again soon.

I know this is a lot to do in a short time, but I am committed to pursuing this. My husband has a friend who is Guatemalan and lives in Puerto San Jose. He has also said he would help us as much as possible.

Any insight, advise, direction, etc. would be appreciated. Thanking you in advance.

Sincerely,

Constance



Answer here (more):

Habitat for Humanity Guatemala

Note: I found this listing from Habitat for Humanity Guatemala on Craigslist.org (who has no Guatemala category, people use Mexico or Costa Rica):



http://burlington.craigslist.org/vol/920598881.html

vermont craigslist > volunteers
Working to eliminate poverty housing-Guatemala (Totonicapan, Guatemala)
Reply to: comm-920598881@craigslist.org [?]
Date: 2008-11-15, 5:02PM EST


Our international team will work with the local community to replace poverty housing. No prior experience needed, just good health and a willingness to help. Totonicapan is in the mountains of Guatemala, and remote enough that people have retained their traditional dress and customs. We will be there from Jan. 31 through Feb. 15. The team leaders are Jack from Toronto and Ann from Boston. Contact us if you would like more information. Habitat for Humanity Guatemala.

* Location: Totonicapan, Guatemala

PostingID: 920598881

---

http://www.habitat.org/intl/lac/86.aspx

Habitat for Humanity Guatemala
Families Served Current FY: 2,899
Total Houses Constructed: 26,588
House Sponsorship Cost (USD): $4,020
Tercer Nivel
Office 3
Supercom Delco
Quetzaltenango
Guatemala
Phone: +502 77635308
Fax: +502 77671301
E-mail: info@habitatguate.org
URL: www.habitatguate.org

(more)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Lake Atitlan Cleanup, Pollution

See what PuraVidaAtitlan.org has been doing to help clean up the lake.


Read this article on other polluted bodies of water, and how it may put an end to swimming and enjoyment of bodies of water world-wide:



Pollution to Put an End to Endless Summer Days?
by Jennifer Hattam, Istanbul, Turkey on 12. 6.08
Travel & Nature

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/12/ocean-pollution-threatens-blue-cruises.php

Airlines & Travel To Guatemala

Tues and Thurs are typically the cheapest days to travel to Guatemala. The airport is at the capital, Gautemala City, which uses "GUA" airport code. I use kayak.com and orbitz.com, both of which send alerts for the cheapest fares (although there are many more sites). Kayak allows booking of travel originating in Guatemala (which Orbitz does not). High season flights from RDU run around $800.00 RT and low season is around $400 to $500.00 RT. Right now American Airlines is having a half price sale with flights as low as $300.00 RT from FL or NYC!

For what to do, tours and pickup service by city, see EnjoyGuatemala.com and Lake Atitlan Travel Guide: A guide to things to do, places to stay, classes and schools for learning, restaurants,festivals and music spots... in the Lake Atitlan, Guatemala area. http://lakeatitlandirectoryguide.blogspot.com/

Some airlines that travel to Guatemala City, Guatemala - La Aurora (GUA) airport, as of Dec 2008. The list changes frequently, so always check current travel sites to be sure. I use kayak.com and orbitz.com, although there are many airline sites. You can book flights originating in Guatemala on Kayak.com; as of this writing, Orbitz does not.

American Airlines
Continental
COPA Panama
Spirit Airlines
United
Mexicana

I do not recommend TACA Airlines, as they consistently overbook, bump travelers and do not give refunds (happened to me in Miami!). I have never used Mexicana airlines. I used to go nonstop from Charlotte NC to GUA in 3 or 4 hours on U.S. Airways, but they recently stopped service to GUA. Hope they resume soon. In the meantime, I will use American Airlines who has some really great prices listed as of Dec. 2008. It's only 2.5 (two and a half) hours from Miami to Guatemala City. Leave in the morning and get there in time for lunch!

Lake Atitlan is a 2.5 hour drive from the Guatemala City airport to Panajachel. If you are rich, you can get there by helicopter in about 20 minutes - I was told this cost $800.00, so I really don't know - LOL. You can take a shuttle bus from the airport for around $25.00 or a private taxi for around $80.00.

I always have Martin, my favorite driver, pick me up at the airport and we stop for groceries, a cell phone, cell phone card, a meal, book, whatever I need to pickup before I get home. It's a beautiful drive through the farms, valleys, fields and mountains to Lake Atitlan so you get to see a lot of the country going to and from the airport. Bring your camera and be prepared to start taking pictures. If you've never been there, it will blow your mind!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Hummingbirds at Lake Atitlan

From Les Todd: take a look at this report for your blog: http://www.hiltonpond.org/ThisWeek081116.html

"HUMMINGBIRD MORNINGS"
In 2008, informative and entertaining hummingbird banding presentations are scheduled for locations around the country.


If your group would like to host "Hummingbird Mornings" anywhere in the U.S. or Canada in 2008 or later, contact Bill Hilton Jr.


Hummingbirds In Mesoamerica,
Part Two:
Guatemala's Lake Atitlan
(16-30 November 2008)


Last Week's Installment:
Hummingbirds In Mesoamerica,
Part One:
San Salvador & Cerro Verde

INDEX to all back installments of
"This Week at Hilton Pond"
(more)

Note: there are 800 species of birds in Guatemala, so check out the many birdwatching sites on the web. It's a birdwatcher's paradise, through many nature reserves and hikes up the volcanoes as well!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Revue Magazine ~ Guatemala



http://old.revuemag.com/index.php

FROM THE PUBLISHERS: August 2008 in Revue Magazine
Posted by rudygiron on Friday, August 01

Revue Cover: 2008 Olympic Athletes
design by Rudy A. Girón

We salute Guatemala’s olympic athletes on our cover this month, designed by Rudy Girón. These 12 talented and committed men and women will be competing at the Beijing 2008 Olympics; stay tuned to local media for more about their achievements.

August is traditionally dedicated to Guatemala City’s downtown Historical Center. Starting with Sensuous Guatemala, a feast for the senses in the great square that is flanked by the National Palace and the Metropolitan Cathedral. Next up, The Time Tunnels of Zone One, a trip through four fascinating ‘pasajes’, along with a sentimental journey to those golden bygone days. The final homage to zone 1 is Portal to the Past, featuring El Portal, Guatemala City’s oldest and continuously-operating restaurant. If those walls could talk.

Within the ‘Ruins of La Antigua’ series is the not to be missed Mysterious Monument, the story of the Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zaragoza de Religiosa Capuchinas. Flashback: 1937 offers you a chance to guess which town the author is writing about ... “real estate sells from $2.50 an acre to $8.50 an acre.”

The Zen of Fin and Fondo is aptly named for we have come to the end of this popular column—at least for now. Our thanks and appreciation to writer Dwight Wayne Coop who, after some 55 The Zen of ... articles, would like to shift gears and introduce a new subject, beginning next month.

The August DateBook is jam-packed with events all month long; in El Salvador the Festival de Maíz (Celebrating Corn in Suchitoto) will be held on August 17.

Thank you for reading the Revue; with 20,000 in print monthly, the magazine is also available in Flash Paper or PDF format online at www.revuemag.com

Chicken Bus, Antigua


chicken bus, Antigua, originally uploaded by i'mjustsayin.

Arco de Santa Catalina, detail

Arco de Santa Catalina


Arco de Santa Catalina, originally uploaded by i'mjustsayin.

Antigua Guatemala. This beautiful arch is how the convent nuns passed over the street to the monastery on the other side.

antigua wall


antigua wall, originally uploaded by i'mjustsayin.

Catedral de Santiago, Antigua Guatemala

backyard


backyard, originally uploaded by i'mjustsayin.

Chichicastenango Hotel


chichicastenango hotel, originally uploaded by i'mjustsayin.

Tuk Tuk Taxi


tuk tuk tuk, originally uploaded by i'mjustsayin.



Note by CT: tuk-tuk taxis are EVERYWHERE in cities in Guatemala, so you don't need a car! They are like little three wheeled golf carts with sides... I take one for 5Q per day (75 cents) and it will take me anywhere I want to go in Panajachel, with a wonderful "piloto" (driver) who will also help carry packages etc. Just a great all-around service.

Yarn in Chichicastenango Market


yarn, originally uploaded by i'mjustsayin.

Hardware Stall in Chichicastenango Market


hardware stall, originally uploaded by i'mjustsayin.

Uploaded on Flickr.com on April 7, 2007
by i'mjustsayin
This photo also belongs to:
Guatemala 3: Chichicastenango Market (Set)

Coming home to a new America


L.A. Times reporter Hector Tobar visits Sortata, Bolivia, in 2004 to report a story. Two weeks after 9/11, Tobar moved his family from L.A. to Latin America, where he gained a new perspective on the U.S.


Los Angeles Times

LATimes.com
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/latinamerica/la-me-cominghome5-2008dec05,0,4439263.story?track=rss
From the Los Angeles Times
COLUMN ONE
Coming home to a new America
A reporter who left after 9/11 to work in Argentina, Mexico and elsewhere returns to a nation that now seems more like those others.
By Hector Tobar

December 5, 2008

Two weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, I packed up my L.A. home and moved to Latin America with my wife and family.

In the years that followed, I watched the United States from afar. My country went to war and elected George W. Bush to a second term. We built new walls on our southern border and started deporting people by the hundreds.

In Argentina, Mexico and other places I lived and visited as a foreign correspondent, people asked me if my country had gone crazy.

I listened to taxi drivers in Buenos Aires rail against "the imperialist Bush." In Mexican villages, farmers asked me: "Why does everyone over there hate us so much?"

And yet, from thousands of miles away, I pined for the U.S.

When you write about young democracies, as I did, you learn to appreciate the comforts of old ones. I covered historic votes in Brazil, Nicaragua and other places but cast my own ballot by mail in every Los Angeles County election. I collected U.S. quarters and used them to teach my children some basic American history and geography. Illinois: Land of Lincoln; North Carolina: First Flight.

After suffering through an economic collapse in Argentina, and the chaos of overcrowded Mexico City, I came to think of the United States as an orderly place where people obeyed the traffic laws and the banks never lost your money. When I visited California on family vacations, everything looked bigger than I remembered. The size of a "large" soft drink kept booming, along with the price of real estate. All my old friends seemed to be flush with cash.

Then I moved back home, permanently, this summer. I discovered a country different from the one I had left behind.

For one thing, a sizable chunk of Latin America had followed me home, bringing more of their customs and their language with them. I saw Angelenos proudly wearing the jerseys of obscure Honduran soccer teams. At the Glendale Galleria, I wandered into a boutique that sold T-shirts emblazoned with the word "cipote," which is Salvadoran slang for "kid."

Another unmistakable sign of change was all the signs that cried out "Change." My old neighborhood, on a hillside overlooking the Arroyo Seco near downtown Los Angeles, filled up with posters for a man with an African name who was running for president.

I knew, of course, about Barack Obama but was unprepared for the full impact of Obamania. People were registering to vote in record numbers. Even my own young children were swept up by the spreading democracy fever.

At the same time, Wall Street was collapsing and banks were crashing. My country seemed embarrassed by its fall. For a moment, being an American bore some resemblance to being a Guatemalan.

"We've become a banana republic with nukes," the columnist Paul Krugman wrote, just a few days before he won the Nobel Prize in economics.

As the son of Guatemalan immigrants, I have some experience with banana republics. My grandfather worked on a Guatemalan banana plantation. Until recently, my reporting duties took me to countries that some people still call banana republics.

We are not yet living in a banana republic. Here, there are no generals or death squads waiting in the wings to take over should the elected president fail at his task.

But the new United States I've encountered does resemble a country like Guatemala or El Salvador in at least one important respect.

"Papa, why were so many people at that party speaking Spanish?" my 9-year-old son asked the other day, after a birthday celebration in Eagle Rock that climaxed with mariachis singing the birthday song "Las Mañanitas."

One of the Spanish-speaking people at that party was a top aide to the mayor of Los Angeles. And the mayor, I informed my children, is a guy named Antonio whose father was born in Mexico City.

In the new United States, we are more comfortable with the Latin American, Asian and African roots of our multitudes. Thus, the president-elect with the funny name, and the proliferation of languages around us.

The United States I returned to is a more colorful place than the one I left. And we Americans seem mellowed and slightly more humble.

If I could meet those Buenos Aires taxi driver drivers again, those Mexican farmers, I would say:

"The United States is a lot like your country. We're going through a rough time. We speak a lot of Spanish. And we're wondering how safe it is to keep our money in the bank."

When I lived in Argentina, I watched the middle class disappear in a whirlpool of bank failures. People rioted and attacked bankers in the Buenos Aires financial district.

I interviewed a 59-year-old woman who had poured alcohol over her head and set fire to herself in the lobby of her bank. Her failed suicide -- "a moment of madness," she called it -- came after she lost most of her life savings.

This October, three blocks from my daughter's new preschool in Pasadena, a 53-year-old woman set fire to a foreclosed home from which she was about to be evicted. Then she shot and killed herself.

Today, in our suffering United States, too many of us know someone who's been laid off, someone in danger of losing their home.

On a plane trip last month, I sat next to a Texas bank executive, a man in his 50s whose job consisted of visiting "clusters" of foreclosed properties around the country.

"You see the things people leave behind in their houses," he told me. "Like the overdue bills for their kid's dance class in the mailbox." He grew quiet, with a faraway look that suggested the toll that came with seeing so much loss.

One week later, federal regulators closed the executive's bank.

How much deeper will the recession sink us? Can the new regime in Washington rescue us? No one can say.

Residents of Latin America, generally speaking, have more experience living with that kind of uncertainty.

There is a Spanish proverb that is resonating in my brain these days. It's a favorite of my mother, who lives in Guatemala, where the people know a thing or two about hard times.

No hay mal que dure 100 años, ni enfermo que lo aguante.

Translation: There is no illness that lasts 100 years, and no sick person who could survive it anyway.

I can see a new United States being born on my television, in the images of the first family-elect.

Change will be coming to the White House. Already, it sometimes comes directly into my home, or into my new, company-issued Blackberry, thanks to that bane of all owners of phones in the 213 and 323 area codes -- wrong numbers.

For a time, my Blackberry rang repeatedly for a Salvadoran laborer named Ramiro. Having run out of money to pay for his own cellphone, Ramiro graciously left his old number to me.

"No, Ramiro doesn't have this number any more," I'd tell the callers in Spanish. I talked to Ramiro's relatives in El Salvador (who hadn't heard from him in months) and to a guy downtown who told me: "Well, if you talk to him, tell him I need him. I got a job installing a floor this afternoon."

Migration and urban sprawl have made Los Angeles and Mexico City, the last "Third World" metropolis I called home, the twin bad brothers of North American metropolises. The list of things the two cities share goes on and on: Spanish-language billboards, bad air, the soccer games in public places.

At my neighborhood barbershop in Highland Park, as in Mexico City, it's possible to step inside and greet barbers and customers alike with a shout of "¡buenos días!"

On the Santa Monica Freeway, as on the Viaducto Miguel Alemán, I've gotten stuck in traffic behind a guy with a Virgin of Guadalupe sticker on his rear window.

Still, they are dramatically different places to live. Like two siblings, you can look at Mexico City and Los Angeles and see similar features but discover that dramatically different personalities lie hidden underneath.

Once a week or so, I am reminded that I am not in Mexico City by a small, everyday miracle of life here. A siren sounds in the distance. As it gets closer, all the cars around me part ways, in a synchronized dance. An ambulance or a fire truck speeds past, and seconds later, all the cars dance back into traffic.

What happens when an ambulance hits crowded traffic in Mexico City? Few if any drivers move. The ambulance driver's strategy is to pull up to the bumper of the vehicle blocking his path and emit an ear-shattering siren blast.

Every time I see an L.A. car stop for a pedestrian at a crosswalk, or when I see an L.A. commuter use her turn signal before switching lanes, I think: Ah, it's good to be home.

When I lived in Mexico City, I told a Mexican friend the story of my family trip to Washington, D.C., in 2007, and the visit my sons and I made to Capitol Hill.

My older son, then 10, wrote and hand-delivered a letter about the Iraq war to the office of our California congressman. I wrote one too.

This Mexican friend, the owner of a dry-cleaning business, nearly fell on the floor laughing. "Yeah, like I would ever write a letter to my congressman," he said. He considered "legislator" a synonym for "swindler." Writing a serious letter to such a person was the most ridiculous thing he'd ever heard.

Call us naive, but in the United States we have an earnest faith in the idea that government must listen to us.

Not long after we settled in our Los Angeles home, a neighbor appeared at our front gate with a clipboard. She was circulating a petition addressed to our city councilman, Jose Huizar, who happens to be a native of Zacatecas, Mexico. The petition asked that our street be repaved. You see, I told my sons after I signed my John Hancock. That's how American democracy works!

"We know, Papa," my younger son said, unimpressed. He explained that one of the fifth-graders in his Pasadena school had been circulating a petition to overturn a ban on Halloween costumes.

The school wanted to celebrate Day of the Dead (a Latin American tradition) and didn't think costumes would be appropriate.

"I signed it," my son said. On Halloween, he and his fellow students were allowed to wear costumes.

On Nov. 4, my wife and I gathered our three children around the television, where were treated to another civics lesson, this one courtesy of John McCain.

"This is an American tradition," I explained as McCain conceded. "The loser congratulates the winner. He asks the country to unite behind the new president."

"Not like in Mexico," my 12-year-old son said.

Two years ago, we watched the loser in Mexico's presidential election declare himself the country's "legitimate" ruler. He took the oath of office and donned the presidential sash -- even some of his supporters thought he looked silly.

In its long history, Mexico has had only one orderly transition of power between rival political parties.

We Americans are old pros at that sort of thing.

On Jan. 20, I'll turn on the television again, and gather the family for another civics lesson. The president who annoyed all those farmers and taxi drivers I met in Latin America will hand over the White House keys to the son of an African immigrant and a white woman from Kansas. The new guy gets a big job: rescuing us from economic collapse.

This, I'll tell my children, is what we call American History.

Tobar is a Times staff writer.

hector.tobar@latimes.com

Tobar will write a column in the California section each Tuesday, starting next week.

latimes.com /columnone
Previous Column One articles are available online.





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Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
View of Lake Atitlan and volcano from my apartment balcony in Panajachel. Taken by Catherine Todd June 2008.