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Published: September 30th 2017
Beautiful Carpets for Holy Week ...
... made from sawdust dyed a variety of colours, flovers, vegetables, and other items, groups of families and friends begin preparing and designing these elaborate carpets sometimes months in advance of the processions.
Geo: 14.6367, -90.5383
Pollo Campero is everywhere in Guatemala, and is both a cultural quirk and cultural phenomenon of the country, essentially their equivalent of Tim Horton's - but about 1000 times more popular! Though it first started in Guatemala, it has spread throughout Latin America, the US, and even overseas to Asia. Guatemalans who have emigrated are even known to take a few boxes on the plane after having visited their homeland, because they love the stuff so much.
Every location we have come across is always busy, but the lineups in Antigua today were out of hand and poured out into the streets, since it was the start of Guatemala's massive Holy Week celebrations and Antigua was bursting with people. I suppose that is fitting, since Pollo Campero seems to be more a religion than fast food franchise here, and its followers revere it with a cult-like devotion. Though I must admit that the chicken is pretty good, it's definitely overrated, and we just didn't see what the fuss was all about. But don't tell that to any Guatemalan, because that's simply blasphemy!
In no rush to get back to Guatemala City tonight, before leaving we took the opportunity to
... the carpets are not meant to last, as you can see by all that remains after a procession passes over. There are several processions in Antigua during holy week, and before each and every one, new carpets are assembled by the faithful.
enjoy one of the many processions scheduled in Antigua for Holy Week. The processions are interesting, but for the non-devout like us, fifteen or twenty minutes of viewing them was more than enough. Far more enjoyable was the atmosphere in town, absolutely bustling with people from all over Guatemala, and from all over the World - it may have been just a small taste of Holy Week in Guatemala, but it was definitely enjoyable. We didn't really want to leave Antigua today, but returning to Guatemala City was a necessary evil in order to give ourselves plenty of time to catch our flight home tomorrow morning.
Guatemala was a bit of a surprise for us, being surprisingly well-touristed considering its reputation as being an unsafe and crime-riddled travel destination. While there is certainly truth to that belief, for the most part, the sensible tourist can stay far and away from all of that. Guatemala may not be for everyone, but it definitely does reward the adventurous traveler willing to venture here.
Ten days is rarely enough to get a good feel for a country, but was just the right amount for us in Guatemala. Sure, a few extra days would
have been nice to perhaps explore the eco-tourism offerings in Guatemala's mountains, or the Caribbean coast; however, we can't say that we feel as if we missed out on anything, as we were more than satisfied with our time in this neat little country. But having said that, it would be nice to one day return here - if not for the stunning natural beauty or the friendly Guatemalan people, we need to at least return to get our Pollo Campero fix!
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