I traveled today with a really nice bunch of people to a small town of Zunil, located in a volcanic crater abut 20 minutes away from Xela. Zunil is famous for a few things–its lovely church, its weavers, and its local saint-devil, San Simon.
Earlier in the day, I worked hard on verbs with mi maestra. This is the room we’re in. It doesn’t look like much, but it has a nice view of the garden.
After break (and the papas fritas we get from a street vendor) we played a Spanish version of Taboo. I’m terrible–my vocabulary is pretty spotty, after all. But I have Taboo skillz, so I managed to not utterly humiliate myself.
Then on to Zunil. First we checked out the church. It was a fascinating blend of the Colonial and indigenous, with the various santas often dressed in local garb.
The we went to a weaving cooperative. Zunil’s weavers are famous for their use of purple. I bought a small piece, but really wanted one that would have cost Q200, or about $25. But I must save my money for things like eating and buses.
Then we visited San Simon. He is a syncretic icon, usually made from wood. His worshippers dress him, even up to his Rayban sunglasses, and give him cigarretes and booze. San Simon can help you out if you pray to him, but he’s a bit of a rowdy, and you definitely want to appease him. Thus it costs Q20 to take one photograph of him.
Behind the cofradia where San Simon is housed for one year (he then moves to another house) we saw still smoking offerings: copal, aguacates, huevos, and un pollo.
Next door a store houses all the stuff that San Simon’s followers might want to offer him, including crate upon crate of “Xela’s finest” alcohol.
After visiting San Simon, we traveled to another nearby town, also in the bottom of the volcano’s crater, called Almolonga. It’s famous for its exceptional produce, and its natural hot-water baths.
I feel great. Not so sure about my hypothamlus-adrenal axis, however.