Chichicastenango, literally the worst name to spell (second only to Worcestor)

So by the end of my first week in Antigua, I thought of myself as familiar with the chicken-bus system. Steps for success: 1) get on the bus, 2) chill, 3) pay the guy when he comes through the aisle, 4) get off the bus when it’s near the place you wanna be.

And then I went to Chichicastenango, which I will refer to as Chichi from now on for the sake of my sanity. Chichi is two chicken-bus rides from Antigua, first to San Lucas (maybe thirty minutes) and then to Chichi (two hours, at best. Three hours, at worst).

Chichi, or one small corner of the biggest Mayan market in the world

The bus that I caught to San Lucas was practically full, so I got to stand for those thirty minutes. We (me and Kamil, the Polish guy who is staying at the hostel and convinced me to go do something fun and touristy instead of watching movies all day) hopped off the bus and waited until one came for Chichi. This one was even more crowded, so we ended up standing again.

Until the bus broke down, and we all hopped off to wait for another bus to drive by. Guess what? Also full: we were standing again.

Thankfully, I did not have to stand for two straight hours. I managed to snag a corner of a seat, and the rest of the drive along those wiggly mountain roads involved a much more intense upper-arm workout than I anticipated.

Would it really be a post on my blog if I didn’t shamelessly steal Google Image photos?

The market itself was massive. It was so unbelievably colorful, and everything from produce to clothing to bags to electronics were being sold. I could have spent a hundred years, and twice as many US dollars, in that market.

We wandered the maze-like market for a few hours. I got gently sunburnt, and had some cool conversations, bought some pretty stuff. And then we headed back home.

This is what chicken buses look like. Like school buses in the US, but with a better color-scheme

Thankfully, for the longer of the two bus rides Kamil and I both managed to get a seat. I was next to a really nice man and his mother, who had a small cardboard box with at least two chickens in it (origin of the name chicken-bus??). He helped me find a better stop to get off of than San Lucas, and did inform me that the chickens were for eating and not for pets, which was a sad moment. I got elbowed in the face three times, but had fun!

All in all, a better use of my day than Saturday, where I slept late, ate breakfast, did a little grocery shopping, and then watched bad movies on Netflix for, like, five straight hours.

If you’re in Guate, Chichi is worth the visit. They’re only open on Thursdays and Sundays, though, so schedule accordingly.

Lots of love,

Jules

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