The Friday Fiesta: From Guatemala to Antarctica, with Museums and Manners, too

bottle with sailing ship insideAs a fiction author I love to weave  unique cultural gems into the plot. Most of the time I draw on my own world travels and experiences living in Mexico and Central America.

In these Friday Fiesta posts I highlight cultural stories worth celebrating. The unique, the odd, the thought-provoking. Enjoy and share to make the world a little smaller today.

Navigating the Ship of State in Guatemala

With an intro that declares “A potential “failed state” is clawing its way back to something like normality,” the online version of The Economist magazine recently took a look at Guatemala. Last week, after being in office for a year, President Otto Pérez Molina pointed to improvements in security, public health and fiscal reform. The murder rate has gone down substantially, more criminals are getting caught and punished—including corrupt police—and “the death rate among those with acute malnutrition has fallen by half.” The president’s job can’t be easy in Guatemala which had a 36-year civil war; half of children under five suffer from malnutrition and drug cartels help keep it on the list of the top 20 most violent places in the world. But even slight progress is better than no progress at all.

#FollowaMuseum

With the teaser “A nation stays alive when its culture stays alive,” the folks behind the culturethemes.blogspot.de blog work to promote museum exhibits and other big cultural events by asking folks to join Twitter hashtag tweet fests related to those events. The next one is 1 February. Tweet a great museum experience, with the museum’s handle, using hashtag #FollowaMuseum. You’ll get a culture fix and great ideas for your next outing.

Antarctica Rescue Goes “Forward”

Hard to imagine for many of us, but it is the Antarctic summer right now. This means nearly 24 hours of light, manageable temperatures, fewer wind and ice storms. Yep, it’s the South Pole tourist season, the height of international travel. But Antarctica and the seas around it are never danger free as the cruise ship Fram recently found out. Incidentally the word “fram” means “forwards” in Norwegian. The cruise liner is the namesake of Roald Amundsen’s much more famous ship Fram, now on display in Oslo in the museum I’ll be tweeting about next week! But I digress. The good news here is that when today’s Fram was caught in pack ice off the coast of Antarctica, ice-breaking vessel HMS Protector, on patrol in the region, was able to “crack through the 13-foot-thick ice that had encircled the cruise liner.” Neither ship was damaged and no one was hurt. Skol!

Mind Your Manners

Simply put, I love this website. Etiquettescholar.com gives you tips for manners everywhere. From table settings, to wine selection to tea etiquette, the website is a fund of information to help you enjoy smooth sailing anywhere (okay, maybe I’m taking the ship theme a bit too far.) Surf around the sight before your next international travel for some great tips.

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