Avocados from Parramos Guatemala Are The best

Avocados from Parramos Guatemala near Antigua Guatemala

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Ask anyone in Antigua Guatemala where the best avocados are grown and they will reply with uncharacteristic unanimity:  Parramos Guatemala.  In fact, when Yolkobsens told our Antigueno friends that we had just gotten off the chicken bus from Parramos Guatemala, they asked us with razor point reflex if we had snagged any avocados.

The next question was whether we had purchased any of the black turtle beans, which also come from the volcanic-ash blessed soil near this agricultural pueblo, located just 20 minutes or so, as the chicken bus flies, northwest of Antigua Guatemala.  Answer was:  !Por supuesto! Of course! More about the beans, considered the best in Guatemala by Antiguenos, in another post. We have them soaking as I write.  Now, back to the avocados.

To those who go about life thinking all avocados are the same, you may as well stop reading now.  To those of you who know and love this verdant fruit in all its varieties, the following is a discourse on the Parramos Guatemala avocado, in a compare-and-contrast offering.

First of all, their appearance is very different from the pear-shaped Hass variety well-known to North Americans.  That’s true as well for most of the others found on trees and marketplaces everywhere in Guatemala.  It’s skin is very thick and its shape is quite round and punctuated with an extremely devout stem, almost always still attached.  And, they are sort of ugly, actually. Yes, they’re dark lawn green, but their hide is as bumpy and scarred as a weathered guitar case.

Second, the taste is like no other avocado. Their ripe interior has a slightly creamier appearance than others we’re familiar with.  Now, here’s the trick to preparing and eating them. The darkest meat of the fruit is near the skin and this avocado almost has a watery membrane there.  If you are making guacamole, for example, do not use the watery membrane part.  It dilutes the taste of the rest of the fruit when mashed and mixed. If you don’t believe me, open one up and taste the more yellow fruit nearer the seed.  It has a nutty and earthy flavor somewhat like the Hass type, but with a unique taste of its own.  I was disappointed the first time I used them for guacamole and found the distinct taste didn’t register. Subsequent experiments have been more celebrated.

Normally, I would add a generous splash of lime juice to the mix, but took the advice of many Antiguenos and used the juice from the naranja agria. This is what we would call a Seville Orange. A somewhat bitter orange, it’s the kind used to make marmalades and such.  The juice of the naranja agria mixes with the pulp of the avocado and caresses the ingredients together rather than jolting them with an acidic blast.

And finally, it’s really hard to beat the price.  We’re used to paying more than $2 CDN each for avocados in Toronto supermarkets. We paid 1 quetzal each for these little prizes, about 12 cents.  So for 48 cents, we had enough avocados to make guacamole for a four-person cocktail spree.  That left us with more jingle in the pocket for premium tequila and margarita fixings.  Can’t beat that with a stick!

Clothes Shopping Antigua Guatemala

Clothes Shopping Antigua Guatemala

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For some women, like Mrs. Yolkobsen, shopping is a food group. Take heart, the lusty consumer can pretty well knock herself out here in Antigua Guatemala.  However, once you get over the dazzle of all the traditional weaving, jade jewelry, carvings, baskets, etc. that seem to be on offer at every corner, you might still have some energy and Quetzales left for more conventional clothing purchases.

Though most of the well turned out ladies in Antigua Guatemala do their shopping in nearby Guatemala City, there are still a few good boutiques in town to satisfy the gringa visitor who just didn’t pack the right things, which would be all of us.  Or for the woman who just likes to buy clothes wherever she goes, which would be all of us.

The following is a review of three stores in Antigua Guatemala that offer the intrepid shopaholic a outlet for her personal mania.

Algodones Mays S.A., 3a Calle Oriente, across from the Santo Domingo Hotel

Located just outside the walls of the Santo Domingo Hotel, this store provides a selection of natural cotton items that distinguish themselves from the regular fray in a number of ways.  First, of all, the colors are natural and no dyes interfere with the inherent wheat, barley and tan and chocolate colors found in unadulterated cotton shades. The cut of the clothes seems to favor the larger silhouette, so if you’re used to taking a medium you’ll be delighted that their small size fits great. There are lovely shirts for men as well.  This is a good place to pick up a warm cardigan, matching skirt, scarf or shawl, which you will need during most nights since Antigua Guatemala weather is a balmy 75 F during the day and often dipping down into the low 50′s F once the sun goes down.

Algodones will also fit you out with house wares such as runners, placemats, table clothes etc, all of which have the look of fine linen.  Prices are not reasonable on the Guatemala scale, but anyone coming in from Europe or North America will find the quality versus price a steal.

Adolfo Dominguez Outlet, 3a Calle Oriente #22A

Also located down the street from the Santo Domingo Hotel is small Adolfo Dominguez outlet, with the store mainly given over to the tastes of the under 30 crowd. As many of you will know this is a Madrid-based ready-to-wear world franchise company.  Along with cocktail and prom dresses, there’s a good selection of informal wear that can be worn in the afternoon and then dressed up a bit for dining and partying in the evening. Mrs. Y was tempted by the almost seersucker, sky blue skirts that dominated the left hand racks and called to her during her visit. There’s also a selection of reasonably priced shoes under the same label. Though lovely strappy sandals dominate the selection, I do not recommend them for promenades on the lumpy streets and cobblestone roads in Antigua Guatemala.  Prices here are more than reasonable if you are using an European or North American scale.

N.edition boutique, something 4a Calle Oriente, half a block north of the Parque Central

This is a very small boutique with a slim but good quality selection of free spirited unstructured clothing, almost all of which is made from Italian fabrics that use a blend of cotton and lycra.  Though there are only two racks of clothes, which use a lot of white space between the hangers, there is something here for most women.  For example, there are drapey hip-length light sweaters for the woman who knows how to underplay her deficits and highlight her best features.  As well, there are bolder and slightly translucent numbers for women who buy a lot of shear wear and aren’t afraid to use it.  Prices are very reasonable, again if you are using a North American or European calculator.  Of all the clothing stores, visited by Mrs. Y in Antigua Guatemala, staff here are the most simpatico and helpful.

Mayan End of the World Antigua Guatemala

 

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If you are following all the hype, anthropological facts, or the thoughts of the Maya themselves, then you have tuned into the meaning of the Maya calendar in Antigua Guatemala.  By now you know that some, though not all, say the calendar indicates the end is nigh on December 21, 2012. Some say it’s December 23, but really, the end of the world proposition is no time to be splitting hairs. Will two day’s grace really help you get all of those last minute things done?  Exactly.

Some say all of this is a clumsy gringo misinterpretation, others say it’s the true writing on the wall, or ancient tablet, in this instance. Most Maya elders cite the higher rationality of their ancestors and say its just the end of an, albeit long, calendar cycle, which basically means get a grip in any language.

Yolkobsens plan to be in Antigua Guatemala for the winter solstice 2012 in any case.  We figure the seats will be good if the world ends or, like, doesn’t.

Here are five reasons you should be in Antigua Guatemala for the Maya calendar end of the world on December 21, 2012.

Reason #1 Antigua Guatemala Weather

The Antigua Guatemala weather will be it’s usual reliable 72 to 75 degrees F in December, just before hell freezes over.  So you’ll want to e here to get a good warm-up in advance of the apocalypse.

Reason #2  Antigua Guatemala Food

Guatemalan food is a great way to ease the strain of those pesky end of the world as we know it blues. We plan to gorge ourselves on: Chiles Rellenos, our favorite Guatemalan dish; modestly priced but robust Chilean wines and the perfect alchemy of a margarita that only our local barmen know how to concoct; tortillas, blue and not; roasted plantain; plenty of Guatemalan traditional food guacamole; and cakes and pastries from the many fine pastelerias in this town. No doubt, our bakers will be applying their finest artistry to Antigua Guatemala’s signature Santiago Cake as it, along with us, take the last fiery curtain call.

Reason #3 Antigua Guatemala Fireworks and Firecrackers

People in these parts are very partial to fireworks and set them off on every occasion and with little provocation.  That goes for firecrackers too. Street bombas, which make you jump out of your seat and then adjust your heart back in its chest cavity, are just normal here. The end of the world will have to put up some pretty flamboyant pyrotechnics and noise to compete with the gunpowder R us philosophy that will be in play here that night. In fact, the Horse Men of the Apocalypse and their flesh-eating gargoyle pals might well go unnoticed amid the flaming and clamorous hubbub that is normal in these parts throughout the month of December.

Reason #4  Antigua Guatemala Volcanoes

Volcanoes are a huge feature of interest for tourists coming to Antigua Guatemala. We assume the three bolstering the south and west end of town, Agua, Fuego and Acatenango, will be revived from their ancient defunct or near-kaput state and give us one more big show.  Fuego is the only one that remains benignly active, most days sending puffs of smoke up from its rumbling core.  On that very special night we expect our Vulcan Troika to pitch in and ably assist with the scorched Earth agenda.  And if the world doesn’t go off its rails for eternity, in the morning you can look at the stunning view these three princes of the city continue to provide.

Reason #5 Antigua Guatemala Bars and Restaurants

What a night to be in one or two of the hundreds of bars and restaurants that make Antigua Guatemala such a party town, especially during the Christmas season. Guatemalans know how to party like no others and we will stand shoulder to shoulder with them as we face the end together.  On any given December night, there are festivities, such as the Burning of the Devil, and traditionally religious as well as drunkenly spontaneous processions burning their way through the streets during the darkest time of the year.  Partying until the hour of the wolf is as normal here as getting up and going to work on Monday morning.

And, when the smoke clears and we see that the world continues to wobble on its axis, we’ll be sharing hangover cures the next day as usual.