I was going to wait and post again when we got back from Atitlan, but a few things of interest have happened since then. Yesterday we went on our first excursion with the school to a nearby town called San Antonio. We visited a women´s cooperative there, where the women of Mayan origins get together to sell their handmade purses, blankets, table clothes, etc. When we arrived, we learned about the history of the cooperative, how women´s rights were beginning to expand and how it was a priviledge to be able to work and earn money for themselves. They also talked about the dresses they wear, and what each color symbolizes. (You´ve probably seen these type of dresses before, they are very colorful and they look very heavy. The indigineous people wear them.)
When the lecture was over, they asked Cory and me to come to the front and model the typical dress of a Mayan. They wrapped me up in this heavy skirt and blouse, and put a veil and beaded tiara on my head. They clued me in, ¨We´re going to have a wedding.¨ They dressed Cory in a black cloth suit and put a staw hat on him. Another girl was asked to be the ¨mother in law¨and she threw flower petals at us while we knelt on the floor. Everyone was laughing at us and taking our picture, and we just kinda stood there like the trained models that we are. They asked the ¨mother in law¨to say a blessing, and she said, ¨May you live long lives together and have 20 children!¨ Oy! I´m not sure if that was a blessing or a curse. We have pictures of the whole event, and I´m going to try to find a place where I can download them soon. I guess since our anniversary is Sunday, we got to renew our vows!
There has been a buzz all over Antigua about this ¨manifestacion.¨We were a bit confused at the terminology, but we eventually figured out that there was going to be a protest in Antigua this morning. All the stores, banks, restaurants, etc. closed and the employees met in the central park to demonstrate. Cory´s been all excited about it- he couldn´t wait to go and take pictures. They were protesting violence (everyone can protest violence!) and demanding a better police force. We convinced our teachers to take us to the beginning of it, and Cory got ready to take some pictures of the signs people were holding. However, to his grave disappointment, he had taken the batteries out to charge and left them at home. Que lastima!
Another interesting thing is that we are so much taller than the Guatemalans. The sidewalks here are pretty narrow, so it can be a humorous affair when we are trying to walk altogether with the Irwins south. On the way to the protest, Cory and I were walking on the street, and our teachers were on the sidewalk, which is several inches higher. We were still taller than them! Last night we were on our way back home around 10, and it was dark outside. We get a little paranoid in the dark, but apparently we aren´t the only ones. There was a Guatemalan guy walking in front of us, who kept looking back at us in terror. We felt bad because he lived on the same street that we did, so we followed him, inadvertantly, for several blocks. We could tell he was getting really nervous that the giant Americans were going to beat him to a pulp and take all his quetzales!