Existing Member?

Eternal Spring Stories

The Power of the Mustache

GUATEMALA | Tuesday, 26 May 2015 | Views [286] | Comments [1] | Scholarship Entry

“Move over, señoras y señores! Go on, lady - move to the back please, there’s plenty of space!”

The driver’s assistant is rearranging the passengers on the already packed bus to make room for more. After a few months in Guatemala, this feels like a natural process. I dutifully squeeze between a corpulent lady with 2 kids, a dog and a basket of tortillas and, to the other side, an older Mayan gentleman with a large machete strapped to his side, on a seat that should really only fit two schoolchildren. It’s a tight fit but the ride is not very long. The dry season is in full swing and the air smells of… well, tortillas. I can see volcanoes in the distance as bouncy reggaeton music is playing over the speakers; who could possibly complain?

I’m on my way to visit Maximon, a quirky deity of confusing origins residing in, among other locations, the small temple of a town called San Andrés Itzapa. This laid-back god has a particular taste for tobacco, alcohol and cash. He is known to accept the aforementioned offerings in exchange for his help with a variety of prayers.

“Thank you for my new scooter”, “Thank you for helping my cousin arrive safely in the US” - elaborate plaques cover the walls of the temple. I’m thrilled to see that Maximon’s power must obviously be quite remarkable.

I walk to the altar and find a swanky, mustached, wooden fellow with a lit cigar between his stiff lips. Fiery prayers of his believers are accompanied by the consumption of booze, splashed occasionally at his feet. I nip to the shop next door to purchase a bottle of the popular local spirit, Quezalteca. The shop is full of unidentifiable religious trinkets so I decide to ask Eduardo, the owner, if there’s anything else I should acquire. He produces a tiny bottle of smelly potion and instructs me to buy a bundle of weeds from the elderly woman sitting nearby. He explains that I can use it for cleansing my soul, so that my wishes are granted. The suggestion is far too tempting to pass on.

“I’m here to ask for a husband” - I joke to the floridly-dressed lady - “Do you think Maximon can help me?”
“Oh yes he can child, you just have to believe in his power.”

I pay her for the bundle and, back in the temple, cover it in the magic potion which I then sprinkle all over myself, just as I see the other followers doing. Their smiles affirm that I’ve done the ritual correctly; I finish my prayers and we share a celebratory swig of Quezalteca...

Now to wait for my husband.

Tags: 2015 Writing Scholarship

Comments

1

I hope you find him..... ♥

  thebluegnu Jun 6, 2015 7:54 PM

Add your comments

(If you have a travel question, get your Answers here)

In order to avoid spam on these blogs, please enter the code you see in the image. Comments identified as spam will be deleted.


About anna_zee


Follow Me

Where I've been

My trip journals


See all my tags 


 

 

Travel Answers about Guatemala

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.