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Published: August 7th 2011
On Friday at the office Jorge and I finished all of the plans and gathered all of the supplies for the work team that is coming this week. We piled up all of our tools and stopped off at the market and double-checked the first aid kit. We are all ready to rock and roll. On Sunday Jorge and I will take the 4 to 5 hour bus ride into Guatemala City to meet the group at the airport.
So on Saturday I decided to take some time getting to know Coban a little better. Let me preface this by saying that this is the week of La Feria in Coban something equivalent to that of the PNW Fair in Lynden. The town has really been a buzz all week because of this with fireworks, traditional dances in the parque central, lots of people, and even a day of rest on Thursday to prepare for the full festivities this weekend.
I have always found that the best way to discover things in a city is to simply leave the hostel and start walking taking turns here and there depending on what moves you. When you are seeking excitement and
lots of good people watching the main streets are always good. If you need a break from the hustle and bustle take a quick turn up the side street and into a more neighborhood feel. Then after walking until your just about lost you get to turn around and find your way back. This has been a very successful method for me in the past and always seems to lead you somewhere unexpected.
Quick anecdotal evidence in support of this theory: I was in downtown Seattle recently and needed to waste a few hours so I decided to employ this trusty technique down at the pike place market. For while I have lived in Seattle for the past five years and been to the market several times even since I was young I still get the sense that there is always more to the market than meets the eye. And low and behold after a turn here and a stair case there just a few steps off of the main market I discovered the Gum Wall. Now maybe I am just behind the times because all of the tourists seemed to know right where to look for it and
were snapping as many photos as possible of their new addition to the wall. I feel like I have never even heard of this wall but alas there is always something new to find.
This Saturday though once I left my hostel it didn’t take long before I found something that I didn’t expect. As I started to walk down the main street towards the parque central I couldn’t help but notice that there seemed to even more people on the street than normal. But it wasn’t just that there were more people, none of the people seem to be going anywhere, they were all just waiting. It only took me about one block and a few carts selling the same blow up toys, Mardi gras beads, and crazy sunglasses, for me to realize that we were waiting for a parade.
Even more people crowed along the edges of the streets and the cross streets were blocked by backed up pick-ups whose beds were full of entire families set to watch the festivities. People popped up from every rooftop lining the main calle. Soon it started and horse after horse paraded by. It was a full hour of
horses of all different shapes and sizes along with their riders of all different shapes and sizes. Some as young as two years old riding along on their own horse followed by their grandpa or even great grandpa. Other youngsters rode on small carts pulled by a miniature horse, others rode donkeys. Men riding by at a slow trot with a cold beer in their hand on the sunny, warm day. And if the mere being ridden had a young foal it trotted along behind her, no rope no nothing just trotting down the street after it’s mother. It was a very fun family event that I am very glad that I happened upon it.
I spent the rest of the day wandering. I am starting to learn the layout of the city and recognize streets that I have been before. I visited a lot of tiendas and went through the market keeping in mind the things that I’ll need once I get settled in to my own place. Overall it was a very fun, and with the heat, quite and exhausting day. I do have to apologize as I was standing there on the street without my camera
This is actually the second apartment that I saw right past that leaf. As you can see great views!
I debated on whether or not to go fetch it but decided instead to live in the moment. I am going to make an effort to have it with me more often so that I can capture some of these amazing experiences to share with you. I am very excited to spend this next week with the group from Portland working on a latrine building project in the community of Chitix. That being said I won’t have much, if any, time or access to the internet but I promise to keep all the stories and share them with you in about a weeks time along with some impressive photography😊
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