Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Chichi or Bust

We finally made it to the infamous market in Chichicastenango on Sunday on our way home to Xela from Pana.  It's everything they say it is....and more.  Our fearless guia (guide) Miguel "El Perro" made sure we saw the 2 other attractions Chichi has to offer before letting us loose in the market.  

There's an expensive hotel ($110 USD) directly across the street from the outskirts of the market. It was nice but, the most interesting part was the man who was playing a marimba made out of gourds in the courtyard.  We stood and watched him for a while among all the other tourists with cameras permanently attached to their eyes.  For a funny photo of all the tourists check out our amigo Mike's Flickr page.

After we had soaked up enough of the music, we headed into the heart of it, first stopping by the main church that the market is centered around.  Another good meeting place for a group of gringos!

We spent an hour of so browsing the mercado, stopping to talk with any of the vendors who weren't shouting out "good price for you!" at us.  A hand sewn Mayan calendar caught my eye and I started in on the bartering game.  You know how they say if you walk away, you'll get the price you want?  Well it's true.  We had this poor lady following us halfway through the market and we continued to play hardball, walking away once again.  After looking all over and not seeing another just like it, I hung my head in shame and went back for more.  In the end we both walked away happy,  me with my calendar and her with Q210.  Maybe I could have gotten a lower price with better Spanish skills, but knowing that it took her 1 month to complete, I didn't really have the heart to go lower!  Actually, speaking with her was probably the best part of the day.

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