Friday, February 22, 2008



Did you miss me? We just returned from a trip to Guatemala and did not have time to write while gone. The country is beautiful. It has had a peaceful and stable democracy for the past couple of decades and recently elected a new president. As an American in the political season we sometimes get caught up in our own affairs and do not realize the wealth of other cultures. This is ironic since we are the melting pot of the world.

Habla usted? One reason that we often don’t outward is that we are such a large country. Many of our states are larger than most countries. Another is our wealth. If California were a country, and some believe it should be (just kidding), it would be one of the world’s wealthiest. Another reason is that we can travel coast to coast and border to border for thousands of miles and everybody speaks the same language. In fact, Europeans often tell this joke: “A person who speaks many languages is multi-lingual. A person who speaks three languages is tri-lingual. A person who speaks two languages is bi-lingual, and a person who speaks one language is American.”

Surprises and excitement: I was surprised by the beautiful college campuses in Guatemala. San Carlos University is public and has some 40,000 students and a gaggle of areas of study. Francisco Marroquin University is perhaps the most lavish with stunning architecture in a gorgeous tropical surrounding. The university of the twenty-first century in Guatemala is Galileo University. It is headed by Dr. Eduardo Suger, a brilliant visionary who was a presidential candidate in the recent election. Galileo University is aptly named for the Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer and philosopher who led the scientific revolution in sixteenth century. Today’s students at Galileo emulate their namesake with studies and technology to rival that of any U.S. University.

A religious experience: Guatemala has much to offer and a rich history. Indigenous Mayans performed dentistry and brain surgery in today’s Guatemala when Europeans were fighting with spears. Ruins of the ancient cities are visible in many parts of the country. To get to those places requires a car or bus ride that is guaranteed to bring religion to the hearts of any American who thinks the LA freeways or the I-95 corridor is a traffic experience.

We visited several locations including Chichicastenango, a historic mountain village about three hours from Guatemala City. It is famous for the market that draws many different indigenous Indian groups who sell to locals and tourists. The village is breathtaking as is the trip to get there. Mountains roads, many of which are being improved to four lane highways but are still often under construction, mixed with bus and truck drivers who are out of the best chase scene in any James Bond movie make the trip one that will cause any atheist a reason to find religion.

Back to puns, politics, and satire next week: We will likely need the weekend to recover from our travels but fear not. Our tongue-in-cheek election coverage and Las Vegas updates will return next week. In the meantime we will pause to reflect over the Guatemalan experience where we met some of the most intellectual and hospitable people and saw some of the most beautiful countryside in the world.

A little blogging music maestro… Rick Nelson’s “Travlin’ Man.”

Dr. Forgot.

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