My Guatemalan hosts were Manuel and Elsa. Manuel is a Panza Verde, or Green Belly, which is the name for natively born people of Antigua. Green stomach because they grow and eat lots of avocados around those parts. Elsa is from El Salvador. They’ve been married, if I remember correctly, about 30 years, give or take a year or two. I could not have asked for better hosts! They seem to get along quite well and have fun with each other.

Manuel is a very quiet type of man, very artistic. He does gardening, painting, restoration work on ancient Mayan artifacts, or whatever needs to be repaired. He’s also into photography and plays chess, though I didn’t challenge him. My chess skill are pretty rusty and weren’t all that good in the first place! 🙂 Any plant, painting, or sculpture that you see in these pictures, were his doing.

Elsa is the one who runs the Air B&B reservations, does the cooking, for the most part, and handles the day-to-day with the various visitors. She is very good natured, easy to talk to, and, since she was a Spanish teacher for 20 or so years, quite eager and capable of helping with Spanish, should you desire it. It was nice to be corrected and find out why the particular choice of phrase was grammatically incorrect. While I was there, Elsa had to go to Guatemala City to take care of the rest of her citizenship paperwork. She said that since she’s been there for 28 years, she might as well get her papers in order. 🙂

They were always fun to chat with around the table or throughout the day in passing. They kept to their normal schedules and we kept to ours. I felt completely at home at all times, free to come and go as I pleased, and welcomed back each time that I returned. If and, probably, when I return to Guatemala, I’ll certainly want to stay with them again. It was such a pleasant stay!

Party like a Guatemalan
Zacapa Centenario 23, the other rum

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