In Guatemala theres a special affection for the many effigies of San Simon, who is a saint to the citizenry, if not to the poobahs of established religion. Known in Spanish as San Simon, in Mayan as Ry Laj Man, and to the Ladinos as Maximon, in rural Guatemala, out in the hood, hes the Man, an ecumenical fusion of figures borrowed from several religions, and attractive to a cross section of the people. Scratch a rural Guatemalan Catholic or Protestant, and chances are youll find inside a weave of indigenous faith and institutional beliefs. Weve seen San Simon in various forms and sizes in hotels, homes, vegetable stalls, sailboat marinas, and craft shops. Sometimes he has a permanent address. In other villages he moves from one house to another, once a year, so more families can enjoy his presenceand rake in a little dough by charging a few quetzales for entrance. The more entrepreneurial hosts also hawk candles of all colors, chicken eggs, small bottles of cheap rum, loose cigarettes, and the right to take photos (5 quetzales a flash, thank you very much). Religion, which in Central and South America is probably the single greatest force today for much-needed, radical reforms, has always preserved cozy balances among capitalism, ritual, and faith, and San Simon offers ethereal and practical blessings.