Hector has another surprise for us today, a return visit to Sumpango for “dios de los muertos”, the day families gather at the cemetery to honor and pray for loved ones.
Family members, young and old, are busy clearing plots of debris, mounding dirt over the graves, applying a white powder or paint and long pine needles to be topped with flowers and wreaths. It is a very touching to see the love and thought that goes into this ritual.
Kids are playing or helping decorate the graves, they are comfortable here in the cemetery, sitting or standing on graves, flying kites off of the higher tombs. The Mayan belief is that kites represent a link between heaven and earth.
Along the roads leading to the cemetery food vendors were busy preparing scrumptious looking food for the hungry.
This was, by far, Hector’s best surprise but he wasn’t done with us quite yet. From the cemetery we joined the crowd hiking up a very steep hill, not really knowing what to expect.
At the top of the hill we walked onto an enormous open field filled with tall bamboo poles and giant kites some over 10 feet in width and height. The kite frames were made of bamboo and the kites themselves made of tissue paper, designs are colorful, incredibly intricate and often hold a political message.
Sumpango is one of three cities in Guatemala that host a kite festival and I feel so lucky to be for this incredible sight. There is excitement in the air, music, dancing, food and general celebration. The giant kites are raised for all to admire while people fly small colorful kites waiting for dusk when the giants will take to the air. Sadly we won’t be able to stay to see the giant kites fly but I would not have missed seeing this for the world – incredible!
Time to leave and we pass by the long line of food vendors to rejoin our group and my goodness the colorful foods tempt us while the tantalizing aromas fill the air, it all looks so good!
Beautiful foods simply prepared makes me so hungry!
Back in the van we leave Sumpango and re-enter the highway only to be met with a traffic jam that looks like I-5 at rush hour. Traffic is stopped and parked cars line both sides of the road on. People are walking along the edges; did I mention this is the Pan-American Highway? We are forced to go in the opposite direction of where we want to be until Oscar convinces a police officer that we are not going to Sumpango but need to reach Guatemala City for a late afternoon flight. The officer halts traffic allowing Oscar to make a U-turn over the median, can’t see that happening on I-5.
Finally we are headed in the right direction.
We have an uneventful flight to Flores, except for the take off. I am looking out the window at the propeller and as we begin to taxi down the runway I am acutely aware that the propeller on my side is not turning, the propeller on the other side is doing its job, why isn’t mine? Now, I am not a nervous flyer but aren’t they both supposed to be turning? As we turn to take off it is still idle, this can’t be good and I am getting a bit concerned as we pick up speed.
Finally! It kicks in and we are off, feeling somewhat reassured that this is all normal . . . is it?
We arrive in Flores after dark so because of the late hour we head straight to dinner – did I even have lunch today, don’t remember?
The restaurant was busy, on the water with open sides and thatch roof; we entertained ourselves feeding the fish who knew where to come for a handout. Dinner was good and we were actually pretty hungry. By the time we reached the hotel our luggage had been delivered to the room and it wasn’t long before we fell into bed . . . another fantastic day. My dreams were filled with color.