Thursday, August 21, 2008

Chichi and the Chicken Bus Ride from Hell

or the continuing saga of Lisa and Muffy's most excellent adventure.

Chichi, emmm Chichicastenango, is famous for its large Mayan markets held on Thursdays and Sundays. We left Antiqua on Saturday afternoon for the 5 hour trip up into the highlands.

Unfortunately, we had to take two chicken buses to reach Chichi, with an absolutely horrific transfer in the driving rain that left us soaked to the skin. Our first bus was fortunately a cushy ride to break me in gently. The connection found us on a bus with people three deep in each seat and packed like sardines in the aisle. We were the tallest of the sardines...I know...Lisa tall? could that be? Well, Mayans are rather short in stature. So that put my bottom directly in their faces...nice, huh? For three and a half hours, I not only had to hold on for dear life, but concentrate on not farting in any one's face.

The highlight of the chicken bus ride to Chichi happened when rounding a curve way too fast. The lady sitting directly behind me did not just brace herself against my ass, but grabbed a whole hand-full and held on way too long. Muffy and I cracked up, she was mortified.

Once we made it to Chichi we changed into dry clothing and headed out for dinner. Lots of yummy tortillas, chorizo and the best hot chocolate.

We got an early start at the market, kind of walking the perimeter, before diving into the heart of it. The market is not just handmade items for sale to tourists, there is also a lot of commerce going on in raw materials for the crafts, like this yarn stall. Beautiful colors, but it was really crunchy.

Chichi was my first introduction to street/market food with a tamales for breakfast. What I wish is that I had a picture of the hurt expression Muffy adopts when haggling with vendors...the you wound me to my soul by over charging me look...priceless!

Unquestionably, my favorite part of our visit to Chichi was sitting in the Iglesa di Santo Tomas. Listening to the quiet prayers of families, watching the rituals of lighting candles for the dead and leaving offerings of flower petals and liquor. It was so calm and peaceful compared to the pushing and shoving crowds outside in the market.

There are more Chichi pictures here.


Susan said...

What beautiful colors! Sounds amazing....chicken bus and all. lol

Anonymous said...

there's nothing like getting birdcaged by a stranger. and the fact that your "splurge" was only $40....well guess who's jealous? guatemala here i come!

Mariss said...

Even though it's my 3rd time hearing that story, I think it gets funnier each time!!!! I'm glad you and Muffy had such a great time together :) oh, and are home safe and sound!

Robin said...

Gotta love the holding in the farts part! I always wonder about that when I'm crammed in on the bus in the mornings.

Sounds like such a great time!