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Published: April 1st 2007
So, the last time we left you we were on our way to Guatemala. Well, we made it and spent our first night in Antigua. We lucked out and found a little hotel with brand new mattresses! Wow... what a treat! Then we booked our shuttle with them to go to Chichicastenango (Chichi) the next morning. Chichi is supposed to have one of the biggest markets in Guatemala and we have been waiting to do some shopping. The big market days there are Sunday and Thursday so it is best to go a day early to get a room and avoid abit of the chaos.
So, anyway. We get on our shuttle and head for Chichi. ItÂ´s a beautiful ride through the mountains. Our driver stopped the van at Lake Atitilan so we can all take pictures. ( this spot is beautiful and the lake is where we will be backtracking to after Chichi). So, when we are stopped our driver tells us that we have taken a different route here instead of the highway because there was alot of rain the night before and there were land slides and he couldnÂ´t drive to Chichi and we can probably
get there in the afternoon. So, IÂ´m trying to figure out if he is going to drive us there in a couple of hours or not. Well, he drops us off in Panajachel with everyone else and tells us that we can buy another ticket from someone else if we want to go to Chichi and he leaves. (vehicles were going to Chichi... he was just being lazy and didnÂ´t want to go the long way.) So, when we discovered that a new ticket would be another $20 we decided to try our luck with the glorious Chicken Bussses. 3 Chicken Busses later and we finally made it to Chichi for a grand total of $2.75!!
We spent our first hour there trying to find somewhere cheap to stay and finally settled on $9 a night for both of us. It was worth the hiking! Then off to the markets. It sure was quite a sight to see all of the locals walking in and setting up for the market the next morning. These are amazing people. These tiny little Mayan people carrying huge baskets and bundles on their heads and backs. I was in awe.
Day!! The plan was to wander through the market in the morning, go for lunch, and buy things in the afternoon to get better deals when the tourists on day trip shuttles would be gone. The system worked pretty good except for the couple of things that we bought the night before and almost not getting my hammock chair because we waited too long and they were all packed up already.
The Chichi market was the West Edmonton Mall of markets. HUGE! In the morning the whole town turned into a market. Every little side street. ItÂ´s a good thing we had the whole day. They seemed to have everything there. Well, except for the few specific things that I was looking for. We eventually got pretty good at bartering. IÂ´m sure we still got had pretty good, but we seem to get better deals then many of the other travellers that weÂ´ve talked to. The system seemed to be that when they offer a price you cut it by at least 3/4 and then maybe meet about halfway from the start price. Oh, and donÂ´t buy from the children. They price is always double!! Buggers. TheyÂ´re not so
good at bartering. Tough to crack.
So, back on the Chicken Bus with our now heavier packs and my hammock chair strapped to the side. Yikes! We arrive in Panajachel (on purpose this time) and get taken again on the price of our boat to San Marcos. We had to pay $3.40 instead of $3.00! ItÂ´s the principle when you know that youÂ´re still paying double the local price when you get a deal.
Now our plan is to spend a week at Las Piramides, a yoga and spiritual retreat in San Marcos. Their website gave detailed directions on how to get there which sounded pretty simple and quick. They also said that they donÂ´t take reservations and if you canÂ´t get a room there that should be no problem for the next day. So, we get off the dock (with our new heavy bags) and follow our directions. Walk 30 seconds to the left of the dock and follow the path up for 200m. No problem. That is unless you are dropped off at the wrong dock and end up walking up the steepest hill in the whole world for hours. (Rod says that it was only
20 minutes, but you know how he exagerates.) So, basically we walked up and behind the whole town and took a whole lot of wrong turns. When I finally finished crying and pouting I decided that it was a nice walk and tour of the city.
So, we get to Las Piramides to be told that there is no room for us because we didnÂ´t make a reservation. We explain that their website says that they donÂ´t make reservations and not to e-mail either. They say that they donÂ´t "really" take reservation, more of a list. Oh, well. We ended up finding a decent place to stay that was really close and has a kitchen to use. Definitely a bonus when staying in one place for a few days. http://www.laspiramidesdelka.com/
Well, the whole week was incredible. It was very hard to leave there. I really, really enjoyed the yoga. There were also meditation classes every day, and spiritual classes. The course is based around the phases of the moon and sun, and many people were staying for the whole month lunar course. We were very jealous. We were just grateful to have been able to experience a week of the course. And, well... time to move on.
Here we are now with only 9 days left. We are in a town called Coban. We are going to do a tour tomorrow of some caves and something about limestone bridges, or something like that. Then we are off to the fabulous Mayan site of Tikal. Will let you know all about that soon.
Much love...... Angela and Rod.
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