Posted by: ramblinmanjimj | November 7, 2008

Zunil, Guatemala

Some of the fires to remove the “bad things” in your body.

POB…’08/27- (Day 239) At Quetzaltenango. 6 AM temperature was 56 degrees. It’s another coldest morning and sweats. At 10 AM, Bud and I took the Bronco to the Indian village of Zunil, at the bottom of a valley surrounded by very steep-sided mountains. It’s really incredible that they can live and farm on such steep slopes. The village is famous for its well-dressed idol. According to the guidebook, “San Simon (Maximon) is worshipped in the town and is often dressed in different clothes at different times. For example, he might be wearing ski wear: hat, scarf, gloves and sunglasses or a black suit and wide-brimmed hat, complete with cigar. He is moved time to time to different houses. Here, at Zunil, he has firewater poured down his throat causing him to ‘pee’ into a basin below. Inquire locally for present location. A small charge is made for upkeep.” As we asked directions, everyone knew exactly were he was, and we finally found him in a small cement block building on a dirt alley. There he was, sitting in a small, throne-like chair, and dressed in a black suit, looking a little like one of The Blues Brothers! Had he been standing instead of sitting, he would be about five feet tall. I was required to pay a $.60 “entrance fee,” and then I was “allowed” to take two photos at $1.25 apiece! At first I thought this was a “tourist gimmick,” but while I was there I met a gal who was born nearby, and now lives in Los Angeles. She is visiting her family on a one-week vacation. She assured me that this is the “real thing and people come from all over Guatemala, seeking Maximon’s blessings to grant their wishes.” There were about 100 candles burning near his feet, and while I was there a number of Indians came to pray for his favor. I was impressed by how sincere the people were, while praying, either kneeling on a dirt floor or standing alongside him with their arms over his shoulders talking to him like he was real, instead of a dummy dressed in a black suit. Outside of the building, his believers had a number of very smoky fires going, which are supposed to remove all the “bad things” in your body and life. It was a most interesting spectacle to behold!’

All material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2008
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