Thursday, January 01, 2009

Feliz Neuvo Año

Lisa arranged private Spanish lessons with a local couple Ana and Dany. We have been working a few hours a day with them here in Antigua. Of course, Lisa being charming, by the end our our third day of lessons, Ana had invited us to their home to celebrate New Years.

We surveyed the local scene on the way there - Antigua is a popular Guatemalan destination for New Years and the streets were packed with celebrants. By 7:00, the street that hosted the city's festivities was filling up and we saw parts of two processions - a mix of Catholicism, traditional music and fireworks. There is a really cool wearable framework that essentially straps a whole lot of fireworks to someone's body - it doesn't seem the slightest bit like a good idea but it looked cool. The fact that we saw 2 of these go off at around 8:00 indicated the kind of party we were to see.

We made it to Dany and Ana's around 8:30 (having run into Dany on the street and followed him home) and enjoyed a snack of tamales. They were tasty, but not what i'd expected: I'm familiar with the tamale of Mexican (or American) cuisine, cooked in a corn husk. These were cooked in a plantain leaf and were a soupy mix of corn meal, tomato sauce and cheese, sopped up with a piece of bread - tasty nonetheless.

After the tamales, we visited and drank until the main meal at midnight. We had pollo con arroz (chicken with rice). They were cooked separately, the chicken roasted with chorizo, onions and wine - it was fall off the bone and fantastic. There was more wine and visting after dinner until we finally had to call it a night and head home.

While it was late for all of us, the festivities in Antigua were far from over. We drifted to sleep around 2:00 AM in spite of the myriad fireworks demonstrations still going on (they were still going on around noon the next day too).

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