Monday, January 13, 2014

Christmas! Brought to you by the biggest beer maker in Guatemala

Guatemalan husky gets a walk on a hot Sunday afternoon in January

Ahhhhhhh Christmas, a time for celebrations, family, love, Jesus, Santa and a time to buy beer, lots and lots of beer.

When we arrived in Guate in September, we began hearing rumors of a giant Christmas tree being erected in the Obelisco Plaza in the center of the city. "It's HUGE!" people told us, "and it's sponsored by Cerveceria Gallo, a huge beer maker in Guate, so it has a huge rooster head on top of it." What? Nothing says Christmas like a big neon rooster. And yet, when the tree did go up in November, it was truly amazing. Apparently Gallo went all out and bought themselves the biggest steel Christmas Tree in the world to dazzle the Guatemaltecos.

They call it "El Arbol Gallo" and here are the stats:
Tree Height: 145’ (12 stories tall)
Base Diameter: 57’
# of Lights: 1.5 Million LEDs

El Arbol Grande has 12 musical numbers that it plays, all synchronized with a light show to rival any parade in Disneyland. Every night we drove by the tree there were people just standing and sitting around the plaza watching the mammoth tree like a movie. Mesmerized.

Not just for the citizens of the capitol, Gallo put up 27 more trees (only 50-footers) in different cities and towns all over the country, we saw a cute one in Flores all lit up and cheerily flashing in the central plaza when we visited the little lake town in December.

How much did Arbol Gallo cost? Who knows, but it makes me want to drink some Gallo. It seems a tad bit wasteful to power up a spectacle like this in a country with soaring malnutrition rates, but I have to say, it was a sight to behold, something beautiful in the middle of a country plagued with horrible violence every minute of every day... and at least it's a private company funding it instead of the government.

The crane just took it down, Navidad in Guatemala is finally over.

Tree lighting ceremony 

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