Chichicastenango, Guatemala- Color run lookin market
December 26, 2014
Traditional Masks for sale
Each Sunday and Thursday there is an explosion of colors, fabrics, textiles, and Mayan women rolling into the small town Chichicastenango tucked in one of the many valleys of Western Guatemala’s highlands. Chichi is dubbed the largest market in both Guatemala and Central America. While we only spent 3 hours at the market one could easily wander around longer through the vibrant atmosphere bargaining with the indigenous women that have made their way into the market carrying products by chicken bus and by foot in the surrounding areas.
A typical tienda, this one selling table runners
Flowers for sale on the church steps
Shopping for Xmas gifts
From our drop-off point we made our way through a cobble-stone street and towards the town’s main church (Iglesia de Santo Tomas). While we’ve already visited many churches Santo Tomas was unique because of the townspeople of Chichi, mashenos, mix Catholicism and their traditional religious beliefs together. On the steps of the church are flower vendors decked out in traditional dress. surrounding them are a mix of tourists and church members swinging a metal incense holder while ashes and smoke cover the surrounding areas with an aroma observed in many Catholic churches. Inside the church are various idols being worshiped and in the middle of the church aisle candles are being lit, a number of worshipers occupy different spaces. These worshipers are on their knees sprinkling water and flower pedals around the candles as they burn and as they chant various prayers. Of course there is no picture, out of respect, picture taking is forbidden.
Parts of the daily ceremony at the church
Once outside of the church we made our way towards the opposite end towards the town’s other main church, Capilla de Calvario. While walking we saw a view of the most colorful cementary we’d ever seen. Naturally our curiosity struck and we went down the hill and into the cementary. We later discovered that colorful cemeteries are quite common in Guatemala and would later visit the cemetery in Xela (were we are currently studying Spanish).
View of the surrounding area
Larger tombs filled with family members
Our housemate motorcycled in from Xela and met us for lunch. Between the churches and along a row of vendors lunch was being served in an outdoor canteen. We each ordered fried chicken with either a mix of rice and salad or french fries. After a payment of 25Q for lunch we continued to move through the market where Camille ended up finding a hupil (or poncho). The start of any negotiation sounds very exorbitant and after starting with a price of 300 or 400Q we walked away trying to get a deal of 100Q. Of course the vendor had stopped negotiating at 200Q and a few minutes later a boy came by saying, “100Q ok,” thus the new addition to Camille’s wardrobe. Shortly after we made our way back to the street with chicken buses passing by. After waiting for 10 minutes we took a bus that dropped us off to one town, to another, and one last town, and of course we had a 2nd transfer finally getting home 2.5 hours later. An early Sunday night arrival, a stop for ice cream at Guatemala’s version of Dairy Queen, Sarita, and a short walk home we had finally finished our weekend. Today was a good day.
A wife and hubby on a 365 travel date honeymoon. Choosing to travel in love and love in travel. Former teacher and interior designer in China. Current backpacking entrepreneurs looking at ways to continue the honeymoon.