Harriet needed a break from writing (it is her vacation and all) so you’re all stuck with me for a few entries. I promise to try and reduce the “engineer” flavor of my writing.
In the Highland region of Guatemala, Chichicastenango is a village of 49,000 people at an elevation of 6000 feet … oh wait … this would be excessive engineerese. Okay, try again …
We went to Chichi (as Chichicastenango is refered to by the locals) to see the big market. On Thursdays and Sundays, this small town hosts a gigantic, regional market where vendors from all over the area come to sell their wares. Unfortunately, a lot of the vendors sell souvenirs nowadays, the same items you see all through Guatemala. The prices are pretty good, and there is a lot of bargaining involved which are the ingredients to make Harriet a happy traveler.
We arrived on Saturday for the Sunday market.We had an inexpensive room which was HUGE, and in a lovely setting. It came with a fireplace, and on the second night we had a huge fire (it gets cold in the highlands). And, our first meal in town was one of the best we’ve had in Guatemala. It was mainly grilled meats, but they were delicious. I think we are finding that the simpler the foods, the better we do.
The next day, we had a good breakfast and out we went into the crowds and the stuff. As I mentioned, there are a lot of souvenir sellers nowadays, but there were still a lot of vegetable vendors, and folks selling a variety of dry goods. The crowds are pretty intense, and the vendors are trying to get your attention, but the touting is not as in-your-face as we’ve experienced in Asia.
Harriet bought a few things in bulk and for good prices, but I think, in general, we didn’t enjoy the market as much as we’ve enjoyed other, local markets. It’s big, and there are a lot of things, but so much is aimed at tourists that it loses some of the local flavor we we’re interested in seeing. Still, we were both very glad to get out of Antigua and into the highlands of Guatemala.
This was also the national election day and we accidentally walked into a polling place. It was interesting and we would have stuck around, but we’d been warned that elections can be pretty … unsettled – so we left fairly quickly. We did watch the returns that night on TV during dinner. It was all very peaceful. No problems at all.
Next up: Pana-Vision