Saturday, February 19, 2011

February 19, 2011

Tom again.  A couple of days ago I went on a little trip while Jeanne was working at Colegio Boston.  There's a little town just outside Antigua called Jocotenango.  They have some museums I wanted to see, so I hailed a tuk-tuk (small, three-wheeled motorcycle taxi with enclosed passenger seat in back) and took off.  About 15 minutes later I was in the center of the little suburb, not knowing where the museums could be found.  Luckily, I happened to see a rather large road sign just off the plaza central that said, "MUSEOS" and had an arrow pointing down a side street.  After about a half-mile walk, there it was - a cluster of three museums located down another dirt road, past some futbol fields and an arena clearly designed for horse jumping.  There was a Q50 entrance fee, which I gladly paid (about 8 Quetzales to a dollar).  It was grand!  First was a coffee museum (the whole place is located on and connected to a coffee plantation (Finca Azotea) and is called Centro Cultural La Azotea).  It had a number of explanatory stations showing how coffee is grown and explaining various factors that make for the best coffee (like planting beneath trees for protection from both frost and direct sunlight).  Also, processing techniques, equipment, etc. are explained, complete with a tour through the processing areas.  The drying patios are right there, and you can walk around them.  See below:

This guy is raking the beans to turn them over - more even sun drying results.  The roasting area is there too, so you get the great aroma.

The next museum in the cluster is the Mayan music museum.  Lots of marimbas, flutes, string instruments, percussion things I'd never seen, etc.  Also some recordings of both ancient and modern Mayan music.  On Tuesdays they have live performances - think I'll go.

The third museum is "Mayatenango" - I surmise that "tenango" is a suffix meaning "place of."  Lots of places (towns, etc.) in Guatemala end in "tenango."  The museum has outdoor reproductions of Mayan houses, gardens, dress, tools, etc., from low-, middle, and high-altitude areas.  Fascinating.  All in all, well worth the visit. 

I ended my adventure by walking back to Jocotenango (joco is a type of wood artisans work with there) and getting on a bus back to Antigua's "el centro" (cost Q2, or about 25 cents). The buses all go to a large bus terminal area just behind the Mercado Municipal, where just about anything can be found for sale.

All for now, kids.  Catch up with you later.  Meanwhile, keep having fun.

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