Yesterday, we got to visit the Chichicastenango Market on the way to Panajachel. It was crazy! First of all, we had to take more chicken buses in order to get there. The first bus was fairly empty but the second one we had to get on was PACKED. I was standing in between some random guy’s legs at one point (talk about awkward).
It was quite the bumpy ride but we finally made it to the market. We ate some lunch before leaving our bags with the tour guide and heading into the great abyss of colored clothing, accessories, purses, and anything else you can think of.
The market was very crowded and people were constantly hassling you in Spanish, trying to get you to buy anything that you so much as looked at while passing their alcove. I was a bit worried about haggling with these sellers, because I’m a bit of a push-over plus, I don’t speak fluent Spanish. Before we had even arrived at the market I had fully convinced Laura (the Scot) to help me haggle since she kept talking about how much she loved it. Well, once we set off on our shopping adventure, she helped me out at first but since I surprisingly knew more Spanish than her I was able to haggle a lot easier than I thought! Score for cheap products! After walking around for miles and getting lost a few times, we finally made it back to the restaurant where our tour guide was waiting. I’d say I was a pretty successful haggler since I got a small leather backpack, a scarf, a hand-sewn sunglasses holder (croakies as some call them), clay wind chimes for my mom, and a secret santa gift all for under $40!
We then set off on another bus to our hotel in Panajachel. That ride wasn’t very long, so not too tiring. Later that night, we ordered pizza (I guess the U.S. aren’t the only people that like their pizza hand-delivered) and made clues for our secret santa game. We had to write down three clues that led our secret santa to the present we bought for them. We then had to search for our gift by following the clues we were given. It was so fun and made me feel like a little kid again; everyone else also really enjoyed doing it. Most of the gifts were silly (such as sparkly blouses for a few of the boys) but some were thoughtful, like mine (I got it from the Austrian boy), which was a hand-knit hat with a pretty pink flower sewn on. We then just spent the rest of the night eating and drinking, telling fun stories from all across the globe.
This morning, we all got up super early (I was in the largest (party) room again at this stop) and Nadia (the Australian) and I went over to Alex (the Austrian) and Laura’s (the Scot) bedroom and chatted about life. We then showered and went to a cute little breakfast cafe that Zema (our tour guide) recommended. It was delicious! I got cinnamon tea, a hashbrown patty, an egg and ham omelette with cheese, and bread and butter!
Nadia and I then did some more shopping, and haggling worked here too! I got a wooden pipe for Max that has a really cool design on it. I also got two headbands and a bracelet, which Nadia and I had to haggle with a young boy, about the age of 10, for. It was fairly comical.
Now it’s around 1pm and we are taking an hour boat ride across the huge Lake Atitlan to our Mayan home stay! We will be paired off and stay with a Mayan family for the night. This should be interesting, considering I don’t have proficient conversational skills in Spanish; let’s hope they know a lot of English!