Chicken Cult


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Published: September 30th 2017
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Beautiful Carpets for Holy Week ...Beautiful Carpets for Holy Week ...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
Wrecked ...Wrecked ...Wrecked ...

... 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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Faith and Devotion ...Faith and Devotion ...
Faith and Devotion ...

... walking around Antigua's cobblestone streets for hours carrying these gigantic floats, in 30+ degree heat, and decked out head to toe in costumes, these guys have to be both devoted and faithful to be able to do this. The only thing more impressive than this may have been the women carrying their floats, decked out in black clothing and dress shoes!
Gazpacho Shot ...Gazpacho Shot ...
Gazpacho Shot ...

... though not overly impressed with our sandwiches the other day from Epicure, we did notice that their sit-down restaurant had a beautifully-green courtyard. It was difficult to not be tempted by the location, so it was an easy decision to have lunch here, especially since we were in the area.
Old School Automobile...Old School Automobile...
Old School Automobile...

... just outside of Hostal Las Marias.
Kacao ...Kacao ...
Kacao ...

... we didn't stay here for dinner, only for a quick drink and a snack, but it's a nice open air spot to chill.
Appetite Wrecker ...Appetite Wrecker ...
Appetite Wrecker ...

... our snack of excellent guacamole was much bigger than expected, spoiling our later dinner.
Hacienda Real ...Hacienda Real ...
Hacienda Real ...

... another nice open-air dining spot, our meals were accompanied with three types of hot sauce, a mug of broth, and some great pickled vegetables and hot peppers.
Pollo al Jocon ...Pollo al Jocon ...
Pollo al Jocon ...

... a traditional Guatemalan chicken dish, in a rich sauce made with green tomatoes and cilantro. Hearty and delicious, our only complaint was that it was much too salty.
Ribs a la Tejana ...Ribs a la Tejana ...
Ribs a la Tejana ...

... absolutely amazing, tender and juicy - but unfortunately, we couldn't finish all of our excellent food tonight. Blame it on the earlier guacamole!


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