Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter

It's Easter Sunday today and we have no chocolate! So far Helen hasn't fallen apart but that's probably coz I took her mind off it by taking her shopping at what is probably Guatemala's biggest market! Maybe she hasn't yet realised it's 'Chocolate Sunday'???

So, the market; huge! It's a twice weekly affair in the middle of Chichicastenanga, (shortened by the locals to 'Chichi' which also happens to be slang for boobs - makes asking directions kinda awkward!) which sprawls out from the main square in every direction and is impossibly easy to get lost in. You could walk round in circles for hours not knowing whether you'd 'been to this stall before'; as much as anything coz most of the stalls sell the same things and most of the sellers wear the same traditional costume!

We did the obligatory bartering and came away with a two person hammock for the bargain price of loads less than first quoted. Both parties seemed happy with the deal although I reckon the seller's smile would have been far smugger if he'd known that we now had to carry this colossus another 2,000 odd miles back to Baja on an already overloaded bike!

On the way to Chichi, (no sniggering at the back!) we had to pass through a small village called Solola which was celebrating Easter to the full; they spend the days before dying mounds of sawdust all different colours, then on Sunday morning the whole village turns out to line the streets with miles of the most elaborate of carpet - all made from dyed sawdust and flowers! From a distance you'd have no idea that it wasn't real carpet; and then once all the hard work has been done, they walk all over it and ruin it all! It's basically a huge Easter procession where who knows how many people carry who knows how many 'float' type plinths adorned with flowers, with life size statues of religious figures aboard. The pace is funeral durge slow, (I guess to put off ruining all the hard work) and starts and finishes at the church. Hours later when we passed through on our way back there was almost no evidence of the incredible artwork that had previously brightened up the village beyond belief; not even an excuse to get drunk! Same again next year?

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