Monday, January 25, 2010

Starting the Journey



Before starting a trip, we need to know where we are going, therefore, I will start mentioning some simple facts: Guatemala is located in Central America, bordering to the North and West, Mexico, to the South, the Pacific Ocean, to the South East, El Salvador, and to the North East, Belize and Honduras.

However, what really matters for this purpose, are the complex facts. Is probable that some of you are already thinking that when somebody uses the word complex is due to the lack of knowledge on a particular subject. In this case, I have to excuse myself and explain that using "complex" has a reason, well, several reasons:

Having only 42,042 square miles, Guatemala is slightly smaller than Tennessee, with an approximate population of 13 millions, divided in two main ethnic groups: 50% Mestizo and 40% Amerindians; the rest is a combination of Europeans, Asians, and Continental Americans. Spanish is the official language of the country and it is spoken by 60% of the population; 40% of the population speaks any of the 23 officially recognized Maya languages, including Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi, Mam, Garifuna, and Xinca.

Thus, we could say that our history, our culture, our traditions, as well as our gastronomy have been influenced by at least 24 different ethnic groups. How many places can you mention with such diversity? Not so many I believe.

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