Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Xela

7AM - Xela
Reader Suzanne planted the thought of traveling to Xela in my head. Quetzaltenango is the actual name, but it goes by Xela [pronounced Shay-lah]. There is a teeny thorn in going to Xela. I must return to Guatemala City in about a week in order to catch my airplane flight to Mexico City.

Xela is west of Panajachel where I am right now. Guatemala City is east of Panajachel. I would hate to spend several hours on a micro-bus ride from Xela to Guatemala City. I am soooooo spoiled!

Yesterday evening while enjoying the banana split that I wrote to you about, I noticed a travel agency next to the Sarita Ice Cream store and went in there to get info about traveling to Xela. I can book the Xela bus anytime today in order to make the trip tomorrow morning.

9AM - Gear list
Mike from Ohio asked me in ShoutBox for a "gear list" for my Guatemala trip. It's just clothes and personal stuff. Not really special. But, here it is:
  • BART baseball style cap
  • Small flashlight
  • AA batteries
  • 7-underpants
  • 5-T shirts
  • New Mavicita camera
  • 3-pairs socks
  • 4-short sleeve shirts
  • 1-wool long sleeve shirt
  • 2-long pants
  • 1-short pants
  • 1-pair shoes
  • 1--pair slippers
  • 1-pair rubber sandals for shower
  • 1-flight bag [American Tourister]
  • 1-Belly pack
  • 1-electric razor
  • 1-bag with personal care items
  • Medication
  • 1-Backpack bag
That's about it!

10AM - Lorenzetti Hot Water shower head
I do not have any clue how these Lorenzetti shower heads work. But they do! The Lorenzetti shower head is only about 6" tall. However, it delivers a constant stream of hot water!

This morning I took a 10-minute hot shower. The Lorenzetti never quit. I had hot water for all of the time that I was in the shower. How does it do it?

1PM - Jorge the chicken!
I am pretty sure that I've complained to you about myself before. I'm writing about not being forceful when an occasion calls for being forceful. It happened again today, at lunch.

Do you remember when I ate at D'Noz Restaurante in San Pedro La Laguna? That was the evening when electric power went out over there. The D'Noz shrimp were fantastic! Big, plump and many of them. So remembering D'Noz shrimp, I wanted to eat shrimp again today. I chose an eating place on Calle Santander called, Parillada Santander.

The price of fried shrimp at Parillada Santader is 75 quetzales. The price at D'Noz, 45 quetzales. So I expected my shrimp meal here today to be excellent. Because the price was so much higher. I was wrong!

When the Parillada Santander shrimp were delivered, there were only about 1/3 the amount of shrimp compared to D'Noz. The heads of the Parillada Santander shrimp were not detached, but were breaded and fried along with the body of the shrimp. I guess that this was done in order to make the shrimp look bigger? I do not know.

As soon as I saw how the shrimp were prepared and the quantity of shrimp, I knew that I should have refused the meal. But I did not refuse!

For the life of me I do not understand why I have problems sticking up for myself in cases like this.

Note: Readers Castello, Elizabeth and Paul in FL wrote in ShoutBox that when they do not like food in a restaurant, they simply pay and leave. They never send the food back.


Is that what you do too? 

5PM - Booked to Xela
A micro-bus will come to the entrance of Callejon Santa Elena at 6:45am tomorrow morning to pick me up. My hotel, Posada Don Carlos, is a two minute walk down this callejon [alley].

I don't have a room reservation in Xela. Plan to use a taxi to search for rooms, as I have written to you about before.

Do you want to read about Xela [Shay-lah] to find out about this place? Hmmmm? Click [here].

75°F
Clear sky


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Panajachel vs San Pedro

9AM - Panajachel vs San Pedro #2
It's a tough call comparing Panajachel and San Pedro. I had a pet cat in San Pedro. It seems to me that Panajachel has more things to do. More shops. Yesterday I wanted to buy ear phones for MacBook Computer, and found them quickly in a store on Pana's Santander Street.

San Pedro seems to be a young person's town. Lots of parties. Panajachel is mostly for older folks. There are a lot more people in Panajachel, which means a lot more traffic on the two main streets [Via Principal and Santander]. But I like that! It's exciting seeing all that is going on here in "Pana".

I've got a feeling that when the rainy season begins in a couple of months, the population in San Pedro will dwindle and San Pedro will become very quiet. This may not happen here in Panajachel because a lot of Guatemalans live in Pana all year long.

10AM - Readers like Guatemala
February, 2012 reader visits to our website will go over 100,000. In February, 2011, there were 83,613 visits. We are guessing that Guatemala is a mysterious place in reader's minds and that's why visits grew so much this year. It sure was mysterious for us on the TiogatRV Team!

Maybe readers are attracted to Guatemala because of the low rental costs here? It is pretty easy to find Guatemala hotels for $6US to $10US per nite. However, you will not be able to make advance reservations for rooms in this price range. You must arrive here and then look for a room. Hotels which are easily found on the internet or thru travel agencies, are all comparatively very expensive.

Biking family neighbors
A biking family moved into the Posada Don Carlos in the room next to ours. Reuben and Heidi [Dad and Mom] and their two children, Eden and Harper. They are on a biking journey of many 1000s of kilometers. You may read about this Pedal Powered Family by clicking [here].

This is the 2nd biking family that we have encountered on our travels. You might recall the Tomlinson family whom we met when they stopped in Aticama in January, 2010 [link].
Biking family

Reuben, Heidi, Eden, Harper
Posada Don Carlos - Panachel, Guatemala

4PM - Going for a walk
Whenever we go someplace in Panajachel, we always pass thru the intersection of Via Principal and Santander Street. This intersection is only a few minute's walk from Posada Don Carlos, but far enough away to keep the traffic noise from the hotel.

As you may see in the pic below, Santander Street angles left from Via Principal. Santander contains most of the tourist oriented stores which sell trinkets, clothing, shoes, etc., produced in Guatemala. Much of it by hand.

Santander is closed to traffic right now, so that shoppers may walk along the street. Like a giant mall.
Santander Street angles left

7PM - Atlantis Restaurante
In the Atlantis Restaurante window was advertised gnocchi pasta and it sounded sooooo good  I just had to order it. And, I did. It was pretty good. And there was a TV on showing a soccer game. I like to watch soccer.

For dessert I walked across the street to the Sarita Ice Cream store.....
...... and ordered a banana split.


74°F
Scattered clouds
Windy


Monday, February 27, 2012

Into the black

Out of the blue & into the black!
Last Saturday evening I was in the D'Noz Restaurante eating delicious, plump, fried shrimp. Suddenly the restaurant's lights flickered! Then, all of the lights in the entire Town of San Pedro La Laguna went black! When the lights went black, all of the WiFi internet went black too.

I thought that surely electric power would be restored during the following day. But Sunday ended with San Pedro La Laguna remaining blacked out. Candles were used to keep a little bit of light on stairs. But other than candles, the town was completely black.

I went to sleep around 8pm Sunday nite. There was nothing else to do! When in bed, I turned off my flashlight. The room was pitch black. I could not see anything!

At around 2am Monday morning, I woke up and went up to the hotel's roof. There was no Moon. And since there were also no lights, every star in the nite's sky was visible. I could not identify even one constellation at this latitude. All of the familiar constellations must be far to the north. I thought that I saw a little bit of Orion. But if it was Orion, it soon disappeared.

8AM - Returned to Panajachel
When dawn on Monday came, I decided to return to Posada Don Carlos in Panjachel. Nobody in San Pedro La Laguna knew when electricity would be restored. It could be days? Weeks? Hmmmm?

I am typing this post to you from Room #7 in Posada Don Carlos. So happy to be online again!

2PM - 9th Anniversary forgotten!
In the rush of days brought on by our trip to Guatemala, the 9th anniversary date of February 25th has been forgotten. On that day in 2003, MsTioga and I met for the very first time in the City of Manteca, California.

It has been, and continues to be, a great adventure. Yes! I forgot to commemorate February 25th this year with a post about MsTioga and myself celebrating 9 years together. However, in January of this year, we did take a header pic together on La Playa de Matanchen in Nayarít, Mexico.

And what a marvelous pic it is, don't you agree?
Celebrating nine years together

76°F
Light scattered clouds


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Restaurants

6:30AM - San Pedro's Restaurants
There is no doubt that the main attraction for San Pedro La Laguna's visitors is eating. There are so many interesting restaurants here. And New Mavicita and I have only visited a few of them so far!

Last nite's supper visit to D'Noz has me yearning again for my dessert! I can picture it now in my mind's-eye. A large plate with the yummy brownie, the dollop of chocolate sauce with strawberries, and the two scoops of vanilla ice cream. Apparently D'Noz Chef Dino is responsible for the fantastic Friday food. From now on, I am only eating at D'Noz when Chef Dino is there!

7:30AM - Trip dreams!
A vagabonder such as myself has to be careful about trip dreams. It's sooooo easy to slip out of paradise and find myself on a bus to who-knows-where?

This morning, for no particular reason, I was Google searching for traveling in other Central American countries [link]. Why would I be doing that when right at this moment I am in a Lake Atitlán paradise? Hmmmm?

In the pic below, New Mavicita is looking out of our hotel window this morning.
View from our room's window

9AM - Bank and flowers
Walked up to the ATM at Banrural [local bank] to get some dinero. Banrural is near the big market. When returning, I came upon some flower sellers.

In order to buy flowers, I'd need a flower pot. It just so happened that a little outdoor store across from the flower sellers sold two sizes of flower vases. I bought the smaller flower vase. Then bought a bunch of bright yellow chrysanthemums.
Flowers in their new vase

Mercado street scene
Do you see my mums in the lower right corner?


10AM - Cafe Atitlán
I'm finally getting oriented around San Pedro La Laguna. At first I had to take a tuc-tuc taxi to get around San Pedro. But now I am able to find my way almost anywhere without a tuc-tuc. Besides, I like walking. San Pedro La Laguna is a nice town to walk around. Not too big. Just the right size.

Right now I am at Cafe Atitlán for breakfast. Sitting at my favorite place. The open window looking down at the lake.

12 Noon - The vegetable garden
Remember yesterday I mentioned that MacBook could not "see" an SD card? Well, it turns out that the reason that the SD card is not seen by MacBook is that there are no Windows 7 drivers for SD cards. However, there are Mac OS drivers! So, I uploaded pics using Mac, and then copied the image files to the proper Windows folder.

Anyway, next to the Cafe Atitlán is a very lovely vegetable garden. I am very impressed with there even being a vegetable garden here, because we are at about 2000 meters. Back in California, as I recall, vegetable gardens did not grow at 2000 meters.
Wonderful vegetable garden

5PM - Lovely park
New Mavicita and I went up the hill to the center of San Pedro. Near the mercado, there is a lovely park. We both are very enamored of the shadows near sundown, We decided to take a pano pic of the park.

Just after capturing this pano pic, somebody called my name! "Jorge!", they called out. It was Marta, who works as a cook at "Hummas-Ya", the restaurant in front of our hotel. Marta was in the park with her twin teenage daughters and her son who is about 7 years old.

The girls recently graduated from secondary school and are now working. Pay is very low for young people like these girls. They earn 400 quetzales/month [$52US]. And that's working 12 hours per day, 6 days per week.
Two daughters on left. Marta and friend on right bench


72°F
Partly cloudy


Friday, February 24, 2012

Protecting castle

7AM - Protecting the castle!
Upon awakening and opening our curtains, we saw a beautiful sun-shiny day! So, we opened our door and guess who was there we giving us a morning purr? If you guessed, Pussel E. Cat, you are sooooo smart!

It was now time to read the morning news on MacBook's computer screen. And guess what Pussel did then? Hopped right on to my lap and began gently kneading my leg with his paws. After Pussel got sufficiently warm from sitting on my lap, he went into the doorway to protect the castle.
Pussel protection

8AM - Expanding paradise
I've written to you before about the question of paradise. "How does a person know when they have found paradise?" This is a puzzlement!

Well, we on the TiogaRV Team were thinking about this puzzlement just this morning. [At least the team members here in Guatemala were thinking.] We may now actually have three paradise locations.
  • The Pueblo of Aticama and Playa de Matanchen, Nayarít, Mexico - December to March
  • City of Tequisquiapan, Queretaro, Mexico - April to September
  • Lake Atitlán, Guatemala - Maybe all year long
Of course our paradise universe may still be in the process of expanding! Who can tell when or where a new paradise might spring up? Hmmmmm?

4PM - Selling blankets
Can you imagine selling blankets for a living?

During my walk along the lake this afternoon, three women approached me selling blankets. One of these ladies worked from one spot, her blankets stacked up on the raised sidewalk. She tried to sell to prospects walking passed her along the road. I was standing there watching the boats when this women began to sell to me. She showed me a blanket and offered it for 20Q. When I did not respond, the price came down to 15Q. Then a smaller blanket for 10Q.

The other two women who pitched me were walking along the road. These two carried most of their goods in a bundle balanced on top of their heads. Since I have been in Guatemala, I have seen a ton of women carrying loads on their head like this.

Guatemalan women do not like to have their pics taken. So I dropped behind the woman in the pic below so that she would not see me capturing her image.
Blanket lady

5:30PM - D'Noz for supper
The D'Noz Restaurante posted a menu/ad on the light pole near my hotel. One thing caught my eye. The tuna steak!!. What a wonderful supper for only 45Q [$5.85US]!

The chef at D'Noz is remarkable. Everything to perfection. For desert I ordered a chocolate brownie with almonds inside, a big dollop of chocolate sauce with strawberries, and two scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Wow! Like heaven!! It is now 8:15pm and I just arrived back at Hotel San Antonio. What a good time I had. I knew some of the people eating at D'Noz, so that was a good time talking with them.
Menu advertisement
Click pic to make bigger


72°F
Mostly cloudy


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cost comparison

6AM - Cost information
You may be interested in some cost information for the Town of San Pedro La Laguna.
  • A boat-taxi ride from San Pedro La Laguna to Panajachel takes about a 25 minutes and costs 25Q [$3.25US].
  • A tuk-tuk taxi ride anywhere in San Pedro is 5Q [65 cents US].
  • Rent at the Hotel San Antonio where I am staying now is 60Q/nite [$7.80US].
  • Breakfast at Lole's, 2-pancakes, eggs, ham, fruit bowl is 35Q [$4.55US].
Morning commute
San Pedro to Panajachel boat taxi

7AM - Hanging up clothes
Do your recall how my clothes were hung up while staying at the Don Carlos Hotel in Panajachel? My room at the Don Carlos did not have a clothing rod for hangers. The same thing here at the Hotel San Antonio. No clothing rod!

In the yard next to my room I found a bamboo pole.  That bamboo pole is now a clothing rod.
Jorge's hanging clothes

9AM - Up on the roof
There are three floors at the Hotel San Antonio. I am on the 2nd floor. There is also a roof where tenants may go. There are a couple of water tanks on the roof and a couple of chairs too. Of course the view from up on the roof is fantastic!
Looking toward the Panajachel dock

10:30AM - D'noz Restaurante
The D'Noz is located just above the Panajachel dock, I'm sitting on the outdoor deck and the water of Lake Atitlán is beautiful from here.

A fruit salad has just been delivered to my table. A large plate of banana, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple. A cup of yogurt. A cup of granola. New Mavicita wants to capture a pic of the fruit salad to share with you. However, we do not have the transfer cable that connects to MacBook with us.

Cost of the fruit salad 22Q [$2.86US].

1:30PM - Pussel E. Cat
A little cat lives at the Hotel San Antonio. This little guy spends a considerable portion of its day on the balcony in front of my room. On this, our 3rd day here, the cat decided to make an entrance inside my room.

I was taking a nap on the bed, and he jumped up and made himself comfortable on my lap. After grooming for awhile, he went completely to sleep. I went to sleep too.

We call him, Pussel E. Cat after my son David's cat of the same name.
Pussel E. Cat on my bed

74°F
Mostly cloudy


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lake trips

6AM - Lake trips
Early this morning I'm taking a couple of lake trips in boat-taxis. Fantastic going on Lake Atitlán in the early morning. The water is smooth and the boats move across the lake with no bumping.

There are homes along the shore that are rich, beyond Guatemala. Some with tended green grass. Somebody has brought their version of the USA to this tropical lake. New Mavicita may be able to capture some green grass home pics to share with you this morning!

We are returning to Posada Don Carlos in Panajachel to pack up our stuff and return to San Pedro La Laguna. Two early as possible boat trips while the water is calm and smooth.

1PM - Back in Hotel San Antonio
New Mavicita wanted to take pics of gorgeous homes along the shore of Lake Atitlán. Homes with lovely green lawns for you to see! However, the taxi-boats did not travel close to the lake shore. So, New Mavicita was unable to capture these house views.

On returning from Panajachel to San Pedro La Laguna, we had to spend quite a bit of time using Skype to talk to our bank. It seems that an ATM which did NOT dispense any cash to me, charged my bank account anyway. Weird, but it actually happened! The bank began a claim to straighten out this sad matter.

There is a "lake side walk" near our hotel. New Mavicita and I are now going to stroll together on this walk to see what we may see!

5PM - Walk report
New Mavicita and I walked past Hotel San Antonio's sign and up the dirt path. The path went left and right, left and right. We walked about 15 minutes, and came to where the path was close to Lake Atitlán.
Hotel signs

The path

Dirt path meets Lake Atitlán

Getting really hungry!
By this time I was getting really hungry and needed food. About five minutes later along this tiny path we came upon "Cafe Atitlán. A life saver!! Only the cook and her baby were in the cafe. She gave me a menu and I ordered a bowl of Azteca Soup which came with corn chips and guacamole.
Nice wall sign

Azteca soup

Cafe Azteca - Nice room with nice view
The restaurant is built on the 3rd story of a building and looks down at the lake. This is a very nice room with a wonderful view!

Mysterious and intriguing music wafted about the room. I bet that you would enjoy Cafe Azteca as much as New Mavicita and I enjoyed being there.
Cafe Azteca

View from my cafe table



76°F
Partly cloudy


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Moving San Pedro

1AM - Moving to San Pedro!
I've been vacillating back and forth on making a decision to leave Panajachel and move across Lake Atitlán to San Pedro La Laguna. But then the fates conspired against me when I came across a story about Hotel San Antonio. In fact, I walked right past this hotel yesterday and did not walk in to take a peek. Because it looked much too expensive. However, according to this story, $7US will get you a private room with cable TV and WiFi internet!

I think that tomorrow, Wednesday morning, I'll be heading across the lake again and this time with all of my stuff. But first, I am going back today simply to take a closer look. Might spend a whole day in San Pedro. And for sure try and secure a room at Hotel San Antonio!

Do you see the pic below? I swiped it off of the story that I wrote about above. The pic shows the courtyard of Hotel San Antonio. Looks pretty? Doesn't it?
Hotel San Antonio
San Pedro La Laguna

9AM - Got a room!
My boat-taxi ride across Lake Atitlán was special because this taxi stopped at nearly every dock along the way. All my other taxi trips across the lake were direct. This local taxi traveled close to shore. We passed such gorgeous homes! Just beautiful!

When we arrived at the San Pedro dock, I walked over to the Hotel San Antonio instead of taking a tuk-tuk taxi. The hotel is only about a five minute walk from the dock. And although I was carrying enough stuff to stay here overnite, my backpack was not too heavy.

A young woman sweeping the driveway asked me if I was looking for a room. We both walked toward the office and I asked the clerk if rooms were available. "Yes!", a room on the 2nd floor is available. We both walked up the winding staircase to take a peek.

Everything works. The shower has hot water. The TV has a nice pic. The bed is firm.

Guess how much the rent is? 60 quetzales/nite [$7.80US]. Double wow with sugar on it!.
At the table in front of my room

My room!

4PM - Hummas-Ya
I am sitting in an outdoor restaurant named "Hummas-Ya". This eating place is located in front of my Hotel San Antonio. It is an Israeli style restaurant, serving many items found in the restaurants of Israel. I believe that the owner of Hummas-Ya is Israeli, because her menu is written in Spanish and Hebrew!

I'm here because the restaurant has a covered patio, and while sitting at at table, I am out of the afternoon's Sun. This is a very pleasant place. Very peaceful. Only rarely does a vehicle drive by. Mostly pedestrians.

Below is the menu board for Hummas-Ya.


81°F
Partly cloudy


Monday, February 20, 2012

Panajachel vs San Pedro

7AM - Panajachel vs San Pedro
You may know that I am here in Panajachel and staying in a room at Posada Don Carlos. I learned about Guatemala, Lake Atitlán and Panajachel from Andy Graham, The Hobo Traveler. Reader Susan wrote me about Andy's website. And I liked what Andy wrote, especially about what he wrote about the availability of inexpensive rooms.

I now have adopted my own "Taxi and Seek" method of finding a hotel room. This means that I rarely make a reservation for a hotel. When I arrive in a place, I hire a taxi and ask to be taken to some inexpensive but nice hotels. By doing this, I am able to judge for myself the availability, quality and price comparison of various rooms. When I am at a hotel, I ask the taxi to wait and go inside to see about a room.

The info gained is shared with the taxi driver who then knows better what I am looking for in a room. And, I do not even have to know where these hotels are in advance. Pretty neat, huh?

Andy Graham stayed at Posada Don Pedro in 2010 and remained here for a few weeks. Then Andy moved to San Pedro La Laguna across Lake Atitlán. I also was thinking about moving to San Pedro. But I am changing my mind. I really like that there are all of these restaurants within a short distance of my room here in Panajachel. And the transportation hub of Lake Atitlán is in Panajachel.

Also, it is really easy to make a day-trip to San Pedro La Laguna. I have already visited San Pedro La Laguna once. In fact, I may make another day-trip there this morning by using the nearby little fleet of ferry boats!

4PM - Our San Pedro trip
After breakfast this morning, we caught a taxi down to the Tzanjuyu Embarcadero and caught a taxi-boat from Panajachel to San Pedro La Laguna. A taxi-boat takes about 1/2 hour to make this trip, depending on the wind direction. On arriving we walked around looking to see what could be seen.

The town of San Pedro is built on the side of very steep hills. Below is a pic looking down the steep road toward the San Pedro embarcadero.
Look how steep is the embarcadero road!

Tuk-tuk looks for hotels
We wandered walking thru the streets of San Pedro hoping to stumble on some hotels. This really is not a good way to go hotel searching. So, we caught a tuk-tuk taxi and asked the driver to show us hotels with a nice view that did not charge high rent.

Something went wrong with the understanding of my request. The tuk-tuk taxi driver drove to a very high place with a wonderful view. However, there was no hotel there!

New Mavicita took this opportunity to take a pic
Looking down at San Pedro La Laguna

Hotel Pinocchio
Our taxi driver was now getting the idea that we were looking for a nice inexpensive hotel. "I think that you would like the Hotel Pinocchio", he said. And off we went back down the hill where we stopped along a very tiny road. The driver walked us to Hotel Pinocchio. There were several other hotels in sight. So, we paid his fare, thanked him, and said goodbye.

Hotel Pinocchio had some very acceptable rooms available. We checked the shower, toilet, etc. High speed WiFi is here. The daily rent is 100 quetzales [$13US].

We also checked three other hotels which were OK, but not as good as Hotel Pinocchio.
Hotel Pinocchio

7PM - Eating with the family
Yesterday evening I treated myself out for pizza. I could only eat half the pizza and part of the salad that came with it. Alicia, owner of the hotel where I am staying, invited me to use her kitchen. So, I brought my left over food back with me and stored it in her refrigerator. This evening I asked permission to heat up the pizza and eat my food at their table.

The family does not eat dinner until papa Carlos comes home from work at around 8pm. Carlos manages another hotel in Pana on Via Principal, not too far from home.

When I sat down to eat in the the family living room it was about 7:30pm. Most of the family members were already gathered around the table. Some doing homework. Some just chatting. I thought that it was really neat that the family was not glued to the TV.

I asked one of the daughters if it was rare that hotel clients used their kitchen and dining room. It was rare, she told me. I was soooooo glad to have the opportunity to be with the family on this occasion. They are very warm and caring.

76°F
Partly cloudy


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Chichicastenango

7AM - Chichicastenango!
A couple of days ago I bought a microbus ticket for a round trip to the Town of Chichicastenango. There is a Sunday market there that is supposedly a really neat event to attend [link].

The bus leaves from the office of the travel agency at 8am. I have to get dressed and walk over there before the bus departs. So, I'll tell you all about the trip and Chichicastenango when I get back!

4PM - Returned from Chichi trip
I've just returned from Chichicastenango trip. Takes 1.5 hours for bus to go one way. So, I am a bit tired now. Got to shower then rest a bit before publishing the pics that New Mavicita took into a story. See you soon!

5PM - I am back!
The microbus holds 15 people including the driver. He dropped us off in Chichicastenango at 9:30am, a 1.5 hour ride from Panajachel. Instructions to us tourists are, be back here by 1:45pm. The Hotel Santo Thomas is your landmark, two blocks away.
Hotel Santo Tomás really is not curved like this

The first thing that I wanted to find was food! A few locals directed me toward table service/sit down restaurants. These did not look good to me.

Then I came upon a little outdoor street kitchen that a local family setup outside their home. A local customer was eating a chili relleno lunch. "I will have what he is having!", I declared.
Chili relleno is the brownish item
Also: rice soup, rice and veggies and tortillas

Note about the food pic above: All of this food, including the rice soup and tortillas cost 20 quetzales [$2.60US]. The chili relleno contained a meat and vegetable filling that was sooooo good! The rice soup was great, tasted like chicken soup. The tortillas were hand made!

The chicken sellers
After my lunch, I continued walking thru the very crowded Chichicastenango Sunday market and came upon four women sitting on a raised sidewalk. Three of these women were holding a live chicken for sale in her lap. I asked them how much these birds cost? 200 quetzales was the answer. That's $26US/each!! I think that they were just messing with me.

Do you see the live turkey head poking out from the sack? One woman told me that the turkey would sell for 350 quetzales [$45US]. Wow! Sort of hard to believe!
Four high priced chicken sellers

Faces in the crowd:
On the back of this kids shirt:
I wanted it!
I cried for it!
I threw a fit!

I liked her face

This woman asked for money for her pic.
I gave her 2 quetzals.
She asked for 10!
Everybody around her laughed!

This boy's name is Julian.
He shines shoes.
He donates what he earns to school.
I gave him a donation.

This man sells calcium
to women who use it in tortillas.
What a wonderful face!

74°F
Partly cloudy