Traveling Guatemala

Long time no see! I spent a couple weeks in Guatemala with hubby plus 12 more people that came along with us this past February. The route was amazing. We started the trip in Guatemala City (just one night which was plenty) and then we flew to Tikal the next day. Keith was leading a bird watching tour, and so I got to enjoy the great outdoors of this wonderful country. We tend to go to places off the beaten path to look for birds, but it’s unavoidable to visit “the must to go” places like walking through the markets or the streets of Antigua (one of my favorite cities). After several years of not visiting the country, I saw how much this country is changing rapidly, the technology is being embraced by the Guatemalans and it’s going to stay forever. One thing that struck me the most, was the heavy traffic in the city that I don’t recall as being this bad before. Nevertheless, it’s always amusing to watch the chicken buses passing by with their colorful load of all kinds of vegetables that they carry on the roof.

One of the mornings while we were in Tikal, we went up to Temple IV at 4:00 am to watch the sunrise. We could see the Temples I, II, and III and even Temple VI off to the right. It was an amazing experience even though the sun never showed up, but it was very special to watch the jungle wake up. First we heard the howler monkeys with their loud voices calling to each other and then we heard the first bird calls of the day including the Great Currasow  and Laughing Falcon. Yes, that’s their real names.

Tikal

 We also spent a couple nights near the Caribbean side of Guatemala in Livingston. One of the most memorable meals I had while I was there, was a traditional dish of the Garifuna (descendants of the West Africa people) named Tapado which is a seafood stew made with coconut milk. It has every single imaginable edible sea creature that you can think of plus pieces of banana and yuca. Even though the dish was superb, because of the size, I had a hard time finishing my meal.

Tapado

We visited other wonderful places, looking for birds, but I couldn’t wait to get to Antigua and Chichicastenango because I get to spend time looking at the textiles and the woodwork. Chichicastenago has a wonderful array of masks that I’ve been collecting over the years.

Chichicastenango Masks

Chichicastenango Masks

Is fun to watch the locals shopping or selling their wares.

Women in Chichicastenango

Flower Girl in Chichicastenango

Flower seller

Textiles in Chichicastenango

Textiles in Chichicastenango

The market is just alive and fascinating. There is so much color everywhere you look!Mercado de frutas y verduras

 Mercado de frutas y verdurasYou can practically find anything you need. From hand made cigarettes…

Hand Made Cigarrets

To hand made tortillas.

Women Making Tortillas

I was happy to find a couple stalls at the foot of the church’s steps, selling spindles!

Spindles

Of course I bought 15!

Another place that we visited on this trip, is the area around Lago Atitlan. San Juan La Laguna is a town located near the lake. In this town there are a few co-ops where they do demonstrations on natural dyes.

Cotton yarn dyed with natural dyes

Hand Spun Cotton Yarn

This woman here is showing how she spins the cotton.

Woman Spinning Cotton

She also showed us how she prepares her dyes. Here she is grinding Achiote (Anato seeds) that yields a nice orange color.

Woman grinding Achiote

I hope to be able to go back to Guatemala soon. There are still so many places that I would like to visit!

Swing

Patricia

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A “small” facelift.

You are right. This is the new face of my blog. If you are thinking that you went somewhere else, nope, stay here, this is BeesyBee Fiber’s Blog. I wanted to have a much cleaner look, but the earlier version of this theme didn’t allow me to do much tweaking. Well, maybe it did, but when it comes to HTML or CSS I’m totally an illiterate person. I will continue to play and change things around. So next time I post something I might have a different look again. Or not. We’ll see.

It has been a while since I posted anything. I’ve been busy dyeing, felting, not much knitting, and traveling. I went to Yucatan to visit my folks for Christmas. It was a great trip. I went to places that I always wanted to visit. One of my highlights was the Calakmul ruins. For some reason, it always seemed inaccessible for me. In part because is pretty far from where we usually go. The biosphere borders with the Guatemalan Maya Biosfere Reserve where Tikal is located. It was interesting to drive across the country through the back roads and small villages, although a lot of the land is farmed with corn crops. I’m suspecting that big corporations are involved with this. It was disappointing to see that much of the jungle has been cut and for sure logged in order to plant vast amounts of corn fields. It was very sad to witness so much destruction of the habitat.

But the ruins itself are stunning and magnificent. The site has several big structures, I wanted to climb all of them, but there is one that was the tallest of all, so I decided to save all my energy for that one. Once on top I could see the vast jungle and happy to say that I didn’t see one telephone pole or any construction that interfered with my view.

Here are some pictures of my wanders in the Yucatan peninsula:

Calakmul

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I had to take a picture of this kid that was so happy when he reached the tallest section of the pyramid. He was as much trilled as I was to be on top of the building and see the enormity of the green land.

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The beautiful City of Campeche. The style is colonial with a nice caribbean flavor.

The City of Campeche

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We also visited the Labna ruins wich are located near my hometown.

Labna

Kaba

We found this iguana in Kaba ruins wich are near Uxmal.

Iguana

Flamingos in Celestun.

Flamingos in Celestun

This is an old church in the town of Cacao.

Church

Some old haciendas are remodeled and converted into high end restaurants and hotels. We had a delicious lunch here and I had to take pictures of the place.

Hacienda

Hacienda

My beloved city of Merida. I lived here several years while I went to college. I always miss this place and I was very happy to spend some time here.

Merida

You see people like this all around Mexico.

Hat seller

They were so happy to pose for me!

Clowns

Just looking at these pictures again makes me feel a little homesick. There is so much to explore in Yucatan. I know I sound like a comercial for turism, but is the truth. See you soon,

Patricia

Fall is here…

And the rainy season is just starting. It is time to start thinking about what to plant for the year to come. A couple of years ago, while visiting Guatemala, I noticed that the weavers use a plant to dye cotton called Pericon (Tagetes lucida) that yields a yellow color.  I was able to find the seeds at Seed Savers Exchange. I learned that here,  in the US, the herb is called Sweet Mace, Mexican Tarragon or Texas Tarragon. After doing some research online I found out that it is a medicinal plant too, great for treating stomach aches. The funny thing is that my interest in knowing more about this plant started actually with my need to mitigate a stomach ache I had a couple of weeks ago.  I recalled getting a tea blend (for digestion) from a Tz’utujil women’s cooperative in San Juan La Laguna, located near the Lake Atitlan. I want to mention that this town was one of the cleanest places I’ve seen in Guatemala.

And so, I decided to give the tea a try, with happy results. Fortunately, the tea came with a label with all the ingredients written on it. Peppermint, Sweet Mace, Lemon Verbena and Lemon Grass. I will be able to recreate my own blend from now on, (because it tastes yummy too) since the ingredients are easily accessible. And as soon as I get the plants going, I’ll use it for dyeing wool too.

And talking about plants, earlier this year I planted some indigo, but they did very poorly. I’m guessing that the reason was the lack of warm weather in my area. I have decided to let them seed this year and see what happens next year. I’m enjoying watching the finches eat the seeds, and hoping that they will leave some for my next crop. I can’t wait to start experimenting with my indigo plants. I didn’t suspect that it was going to take a couple of years to do it.

Meanwhile, I’ve been busy spinning, and washing my fleeces that I got at the Dixon Wool Fair a month ago. I got two beautiful Romney fleeces from Wyammy Ranch located near Occidental. I also got an alpaca fleece from Valhalla Farms that I can’t wait to wash.

 

I think I will have plenty to do this winter;  fiber-wise. And now, some pictures of my latest handspun:

This batt is very special, because I got it from Lorah, that visited during the Fiber Fest at Windrush Farm. It was very generous of her to give me a couple of them. It was very pleasant to spin it. I wish I had better pictures of the batt, because it has gorgeous gold sparkles. I enjoyed talking to her about Peru, and the wonderful weaving and spinning tradition that this country has. She is one of the lucky people who has gone to the Gathering of Weavers organized by Nilda Callanaupa Alvarez, author of Weaving in the Peruvian Highlands.

 

I also ha a lot of fun spinning this hand pulled roving…

And for some reason, it reminds me of a bird’s nest…

And today’s project…

Super Yummy Soft Merino that I dyed in blues and pinks… And now, back to my spinning wheel…