Reporting for Dragoman News, Elisabeth Poly
A day long awaited by us all – shopping in the market of Chichicastenango. We took off from Panajachel early in the morning, on a very clear sunny day which gave us a splendid view of the Lake Atitlan and its volcanoes. As the drivers made an impressive job of giving us a smooth ride through very winding roads, we sat quietly planning our purchases and counting out quetzales.
The look on everybody’s faces when driving into Chichicastenango was of excitement with $$$ signs flashing in their eyes. Before rushing out of the truck, a time limit was decided. The girls wanted 5 hours, and the boys only 1. The girls won.
The market was absolutely amazing. We were overwhelmed by all the different colours, the traditional costumes and the various stalls. The only downside for me, being French, was meeting other French tourists for the first time in many weeks.
Every child tries to sell you some Guatemalan Worry Dolls. Traditionally, the doll will help you get rid of your worries, a bit like drinking Ron y Coke.
Bob has now got two official friends – JoJo and myself, whom he bought colourful friendship bracelets for. At lunchtime, while most of us went to rest our feet in cafes/restaurants, Katrine went to join the local people for the All Saints Day celebrations in the cemetary.
On the way back, the truck resembled a mini Chichi market, with everyone comparing their purchases and trying to work out who got the best bargain. The conclusions were: Bob bought the most of any one item. Caroline bought the most items. There was a dead heat between Caroline and Jo for the most money spent.
Jim had an exciting time watching the Mexico vs. United States World Cup qualifier (final score 0-0, U.S. down to ten men, Mexico qualify, U.S. wait).
When we finally got back to Panajachel, we did some more shopping there even though our bargaining skills had vanished. Finally we all met up to watch the sun set, sipping our daily ron y cocas. C’est la vie!