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October 17, 2011

Guatemala Impression - 危地马拉印像

We traveled from Antigua, Lake Atitlan, Chichicastenango, Xela, Coban, Flores, Tikal, Rio Dulce, and Livingston for 14 days in Guatemala last year, because the airline ticket was on sale. We did not even have more than 10 words in Spanish, and you can imagine it was not an easy trip especially during the low season.

Guatemala really is a beautiful country! Unfortunately, what we saw was how hard the people have been working since they were still very young. Making a living is very tough for most families. Everywhere we went, the local kids surrounded me and called me "China, China,..." in Spanish! I wish I was able to understand a little bit more about what they tried to say. They were so friendly to me, and very deeply touched my heart...Like most of Chinese, I am not afraid eating and trying all kinds of food. Because we faced a lot of stresses with language barrier, all the bus connections, which were never on schedule and our traveler's checks did not work or were limited to how many we could cash in a day. We had to be so cautious all the time, plus a lot of people had guns, etc... Finally, we had to find the local tour company to help rearrange everything after a very tough week. But we still had to deal everything on our own because of low season traveling... All together, I lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks. (Now, I wish I were still in Guatemala, so I don't have to exercise every day to keep fit:-D!) But it has become my most favorite and memorable travel experience! And I start to realize what a lucky life I have had here now!

I was always afraid of colors in painting. But all the places and the culture, especially the people really inspired me during this trip.

Guatemalan usually dress up traditionally for an event. Lots of families could have more than 10 children. Some villagers still believe that taking their photos are bad luck and can steal their soul. Of course for me taking pictures of people is the most important part of my cultural experience, so I can remember and study the feelings and expressions from the different people.

Most of them would turn their heads away when photographed. This young lady (right) was so curious about me as I focused on her, while she was playing with her ring unconsciously. Her traditional clothes were made from a piece of beautiful hand woven textile with many kids both boys and girls embroidered on.
I imagined that she might be newlywed - just pregnant. I painted her after returned home. And also, I created this series to express my incredible travel experience. The 5th image on this page I created by using my left hand.

(Please click the image to enlarge)

These are the different types of head dress I have learned:
Tcoyales (a thin long strand of wool braided within the hair)
Payas (ceremonial, special occassions)
Velos (veils)
Panuelos (like what they have on the painting, everyday wear)
t'upuy (like tcoyales, but different dialect)
But generally, Guatemalan people are known as Chapines - Chapin - for male / Chapina for female.

(Please click the image to enlarge)

(Please click the image to enlarge)

Please view my online galleries at:  http://xueling-zou.artistwebsites.com/galleries.html


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