May 25, 2013

I turned off my U. S. cell phone at 8:58 A. M.  for the next month, departed from New York, and am now in Panajachel.  Juliet’s graduation was a major achievement, and I’m so proud of her.  I visited with two cousins, a step-nephew, and my brother Bill, all of which, besides Juliet graduating, made this visit to New York important.  But I do hate Manhattan.  Manhattan is a place for the very rich to live, and a giant theme park for tourists.  More on this topic later

On the shuttle from Guate to Pana, I had a conversation with an anthropology professor named Lisa, who was headed for the town of San Marcos to do some field work on attitudes toward health and health care.  I commented that San Marcos is the world capital of New Age healing arts and yoga, far from any kind of authentic indigenous environment.  She said that’s the point.  There is no such thing as an “authentic” culture.  She did field work in a remote village in Madagascar for 18 months, and she’s had enough of that.  Everything is affected by everything else, and everything is always changing.  She’s interested in the anthropology of a new age healing and yoga theme park in the midst of what used to be an indigenous culture.  San Marcos is definitely the place for that.

I find myself happy to be back in Guatemala.  For one thing, it is such a relief after New York.  It feels like I’m back home.  I don’t know yet what the reaction has been to the reversal of the conviction of Rios-Montt, and whether there are or will be violent demonstrations.

Later on I will rant and rave on the evil of Manhattan, how it relates to the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, and the related issue that technology is the opposite of a panacea.  Right now I’m going to walk around a little in Panajachel and go to sleep soon.