Guatemala Homemade Incense

Guatemala Homemade Incense
Guatemala Culture

I came upon an older woman in the Market the other day, she did not fit it, she looked ancient, like I was somehow looking at Guatemala 50 years ago. I saw her face, eyes, clothing and my instincts took over and I needed to identify the dissonance in my mind, why did I feel different when I looked at her.

Panajachel, Lago Atitlan, Guatemala
Saturday, January 3, 2009
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The way she was sitting on the ground was different.

The scarf on her head was different.

She was dark skinned; she does not avoid the sun, as do many of the modern Mayan or Mestizo people of modern Guatemala.

She was selling a product I have never encountered in the market, it was Tuesday, market day in Solola, this market has almost nothing to go with Gringos.

Look are her eyes, she is weighing the incense.

The women did not speak Spanish, however was extremely smart, with sign language she indicates her product was used in for praying. I ante up five quetzals for what I remember as one have pound of this homemade incense.

Her eyes are taking into consideration, yes the weight is correct, is this just, is the weighing process ok.

She offers it up for my inspection with full respect of me, no mockery, no Gringo look, complete respect. I stopped to take a few photos of here while she was looking me in the eye. I feel sure she knows I am purchasing the incense in exchange for the photos. She is ok with this, she helps to make my photos good, she gets an assist and continues with the business of the day.

This is the homemade incense; it has small pieces of branch or word inside this concoction. There was also a red colored type of incense to choose from, it was very difficult to learn about this item. When I returned to the Hotel I asked the owner what it was, he said,
“Yo no se.”

I do not know.

I did this a blind test; I had already asked a man who as working in the sales space next to the woman what it was. He wrote this word down, “estoraca.” I ask about the red material and he wrote “arbol,” I know this word is Tree.

Specific use of words is not common in the majority of cultures on the planet, I must push for clarification, there is continually minimizing information, to go into detail is not common.

I do am not able to find the word “estoraca,” however it may also be spelled “estoracy.” This spelling is not Spanish, so hard to believe that is the correct spelling.

I have great joy in meeting and getting to know older people in other countries, the respect given by older people greases the wheels of understanding when one attempts to truly understand another culture and not just photograph it.

Guatemala Culture
This page cost 5 Quetzals to make.

Guatemala Homemade Incense


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READER sent information:

ESTORAQUE - POUND - It comes in the form of rock pebbles. This incense is very powerful for purification, prosperity and peace. Many spiritual workers use it for protection against evil entities while performing rituals

Estoraque- LIBRA - Viene en forma de peque?os pedruscos que se queman. Este incienso es muy poderoso para la purificacion, prosperidad y paz. Muchos trabajadores espirituales lo usan para protegerse de entidades malignas mientras hacen rituales.

I wish you would have gotten a picture of this woman laughing. She strikes me as the type that would have a very expressive laugh and smile. My old Polish grandmother was like that. Most of the time she looked stern and serious, but get her laughing, and you wanted to laugh with her no matter what.

Bob L

Bob, I had two tourist friends with me and they truly had no clue why I even stopped. One great reason to travel alone...

This site refers to 'arbol de estoraque' as a type of plant used in production of one type of incense (if i am reading it correct).

Your blog is getting a lot better, Andy. Keep up the good work. Please remember to be respectful of tourists and readers as well as old people.

There is a preponderance of bloggers who try to tell readers what they want to hear.

"Andy The HOBO" is now "Andy The Handout"

What's with the donation link from Paypal ?

What is up with the Donation link?

I am testing, I am not the only blogger on the planet, I try to study these ways to make money to help other travelers. I am good at this, if I can learn more ways for them, then I more people can travel.

There are many reasons to collect donations. Many people want me to get rid of the ads all together, I truly know that everyone wants everything for nothing.

I am thinking about writing a book on how to write a travel blog and earn money.

I was sad to read to today one of the better travel blogs makes almost nothing.

I do feel it is my job to study, I was testing to see if that Donation button would work. Plus giving real time information on that is tied to real cost.

Hi Mr Andy,
Im responding somewhat to you and Mr Bob.
If I might suggest something. Read some Mark Twain to zap your upbringing roots.
Clearly Older ladies cant stand without discombort. Ladies the world over hate bad manners...
If I might suggest...
You need to squat more. Take your eyeballs to meet theirs.
Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer make more than a passing mention of how to treat older ladies.
Shame on you farmboy for forgetting


Hello, the lesson in how to treat older women would be great. Maybe I can find a PDF book and read it. I believe that all people need treated with manners, I even have a page on this. Manners

Important info missing:Did u burn the incense? how did it smell?
And yes get to eye level with people sitting on the ground. Your experience will change

I find it fascinating discovering the different types of incense the world over. The photo you've taken is very interesting as it portrays elements of local traditions along with great colour and focval points.

Did she agree to the picture before or after you agreed to buy something :)

I never ask for permission to take photos, I will stop if they get angry. I first purchased the item and then took the photo.

If you ask you will do two things, first is ruin the culture photo and second is they wil object because you make it a big deal or ask for money. I do not pay for photos often, sometimes, but normally to beggers.

They make that with donkey poo. Not sure it is good to handle. The Arabs make theirs will camel dung. Probable why you don't see it in this form in the states. Wash your hands.

I've never seen any incense made with camel dug. I Have no idea about the donkey dung or were that would be from. But as for the Arabs and dung I would I very much doubt the use of feces for such a product. Would you burn feces at your church or place of worship? I wouldn’t and I lived in a few “Arab” countries totaling over 10 years. Such a product would be looked down upon by any of the villages I lived. If you know of one were animal waste is used in such a manner I would like to know its name.

Oh also this is a very good blog, keep on with it. Its nice to read about fellow travelers

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