Monday, November 02, 2009


Robert aka GEM (Gringo en México) appears to have run out of Mexican locations to which he can take his peculiar brand of geniality, and so has passed down the isthmus and into Central America for his latest series. Last night he was here in La Antigua Guatemala, providing viewers with a slightly unrepresentative tour.

Up early to visit the parque central, he was soon enough declaiming his mantra — "tengo hambre" — and so set off to the Santo Domingo for desayuno.

The chef in that fine establishment might have made more of an effort with the typical breakfast that Robert was duly served up; not even the cameraman seemed especially interested in this bodoquito of frijoles, accompanied by two slices of plantain and a couple of fried eggs, with a tea-spoon of chirmol tipped over them. Attention quickly switched to the bowl of chiltepe sauce. "Peeka!"

He'd have been better off going to the 'Panzón Verde' for an albeit less typical — but very nicely turned out — plate of Eggs Benedict. (Pictured below.)

But afterwards Robert still repeated "comi rico" whilst rubbing his panza. Thus fuelled up, he next visited the Colonial and Vigua museums within the ruins of the friary, along the way flirting with Olga and Xiomara — the two indíenas stationed strategically on a pathway near the pool, beside substantial piles of huipiles and other piezas típicas.

"Te vemos en la tele siempre Robert,"
they told him.

Lorenzo Gottscha of Valhalla was his host for a tour of the various contraptions they've knocked up there for husking and sorting their harvest of macadamia nuts. Robert seemed pleased to have found a fellow speaker of colourful gringo Spanish, but Lorenzo clearly didn't want to address him directly at all during his visit, speaking instead at the invisible producer somewhere behind camera. (The crew's PNC escort was caught giggling in the background.)

GEM's appetite was then better served (he'd already eaten pancakes at Valhalla) at the Posada Don Rodrigo where he tucked into a set of well presented typical Guatemalan dishes, such as Caldo de Gallina, Pepián and Pollo con Crema y Loroco...though after the caldo he didn't exactly throw himself at the rest of the meal with his accustomed gusto. We've all been there...

Someone really ought to have told Robert that it's not the done thing here to say "óoorale!" every time a new dish is brought to your table.

No presidential-style gira of Antigua would be complete without a trip to Jades SA, where Robert got some quite shocking responses to his signature "cuantow cooesta aystee?

Next week, he will be heading off to Pana.

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