Guatemala, Travels
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Guatemala IIII – Chichicastenango

One day I take a shuttle and go to Chichicastenango, an indigenous town high up on a mountain. The famous Thursday and Sunday markets here are reputed to be one of the largest in Central America.

It turned out that the shuttle didn’t come to San Marcos, so first I go in a shared tuc tuc to nearby San Pablo La Laguna and there we meet up with the shuttle from San Pedro. We arrive in Chichicastenango, some thee hours drive from San Marcos, via some scary hairpin bends with much tooting of the horn at each bend. Sometimes along the route, we are overtaken by chicken buses driving at breakneck speed.

Gua_chi_flowers_webWith packed market stalls and people milling about it’s a veritable feast for the eyes and all of the senses.

Gua_chi_1_webGua_chi_7_webGua_chi_mask_webThere are stalls selling wooden carvings, textiles, pottery, spices, flowers and food to mention a few.

Gua_chi_2_webA religious procession passes by.

Gua_chi_6_webGua_textielsGua_chi_4_webGua_chi_8_webI just love the colours and the patterns here! It’s a total colour explosion.

Gua_chi_5_webThe 400 year old church of Santo Tomás. Each of the 18 steps that lead up to the church represent the months in a Mayan calendar year.

After a satisfying shopping spree it’s time to board the shuttle for the three hour ride back. This time I’m way too tired after a day of haggling prices and fending of unwanted offers to worry about the hairpin bends on the way down…But it has been fun.

Gua_SM_night_webNight in San Marcos. San Petro is on the opposite side. Apart from the stars in the sky the only other visible sights are the lights from the villages around the lake. And the only sounds I hear are the night sounds from the forest around me, and a drumming session down in the village. I’m sitting on the porch outside the kitchen having just finished my dinner. Time to lock up and take the flash light and walk back to my little house.

I don’t venture out at nights as I don’t particularly fancy walking alone on the dirt road and going up and down those steep stairs in the pitch black night. But it’s ok. Living here has been like a social detox. A pairing down life to the bare essentials. A simple life. Perhaps even an endurance test? All in all it’s been a great experience staying here, but also a challenge I didn’t expect, and I’m proud of myself that I actually bit the bullet and stayed put for the whole duration.

The amazing home I stayed in here and the story behind it is going to be featured in my forthcoming book about unique homes around the world.

Copyright and photo: Anita Martinez Beijer

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