There used to be one high-end hotel in Panajachel.  The building now houses a photo museum, a non-profit radio station, and offices of other non-profits.  It is called Casa Kaqchikel.  A Swiss man named Robert restored the building from ruins and created the museum and is devoted to collecting thousands of historic photos of this area. He travels the world buying collections of photos of Guatemala from the estates of their deceased owners.  He worked for a Canadian financial company, which laid him off and gave him a buy-out.  Instead of hoarding his buy-out to support him in his old age,  he has been spending it creating this museum in Panajachel.  To me, that’s a pretty interesting example of a way to deal with the problem of resources for your old age, or rather in this case, ignoring that in order to pursue a more interesting project.

The other night I was talking with a couple of young Israeli tourists who consider themselves liberal, and they said the Israeli economy is good and Israel is in good shape.  It is harder to remember that the west bank is being cut up into isolated apartheid cantons, and East Jerusalem is being geographically isolated from the rest, and the West Bank Palestinians have been successfully pacified by force so they aren’t doing terrorist attacks anymore.  So now the Israelis don’t have to think about them. The woman said she would never vote for Netanyahu but he’s done some good things for Israel, and she mentioned some internal things that I wouldn’t argue are good internal policies, but it ignores that Israel is now a permanently apartheid state with no possibility anymore for a meaningful “peace process.”   So I didn’t bring that up because I didn’t want to get in an argument with them.

I was very happy with the performance at the Clover Restaurant (my second gig in San Pedro).  My techniques seem to be working beyond my expectations.  I strolled and did not use the sound system.  I succeeded in playing quietly and mindfully, without pushing the music on people, and they seemed to take the opportunity to notice that maybe the music was interesting.  The Power of Quiet lives!

I would add that I’ve been doing some pretty serious woodshedding, without which I would not have seen that result.  Being more or less alone with an accordion in a remote foreign country has been helpful in that regard.

I may have mentioned that a Guatemalan guy named Cush and I are planning to play for a reading of a book,  newly published by his friend.  It will be a duo of marimba and accordion.  I’m quite excited about this.  I have been teaching Cush “Bay Mir Bistu Sheyn,” which may have been heard in Guatemala before, but maybe not on marimba and accordion. I think it will be a memorable performance for me.

For many years in Central America there have been internet stores in every little town. Now the restaurants and hotels have wi-fi, so that I have not set foot in an internet store yet on this trip.

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