Thom & Meg´s Honeymoon Adventures travel blog

A Chickenbus named Gonzalez

The Scariest Bathroom EVER (might actually just be someone's house...?)

The marketplace at Chichicastenango, where markets have been held every Thursday and...

Market goods: bulk spices, fish, textiles, used clothes, raw meat, stray dogs...everything...

Child street vendors are common. Edgar, followed us for 10 blocks to...

The view of Lake Atitlan coming into Panajachel

This morning we left Antigua aboard "Gonzales," one of Guatemala's fabled Chickenbuses. To our equal delight and dismay, these are not the junker old American schoolbuses people seem to think they are. No, they are in fact very suped-up old junkers, with a serious semi engine under the hood and all kinds of badass add-ons, grab bars, decalsd and the like. All the different buses have specific names like boats, and are decorated in distinctive colours and patterns. They're known as the 'publico' in Guatemala (public bus) but people call them chicken buses because you get all kinds of cargo on them, and more often then not, you're sitting 9 people between two seats...sometimes those people have chickens with them! This sounds pretty neat, but image you have like 120 people crammed on one these buses, as it roars/careens around corners at like 100 k, in alleyways only 10 feet wide. These bus drivers have mad skills, though by the end of the 3 of these bus rides we had to take to get from Antigua to ChiChi, we hired a taxi van to get us to Panajachel for the night.

We arrived at Chichicastenango ("ChiChi") in the early afternoon, had a quick lunch and took off to explore the market. It was everything you would think a giant city market in the middle of nowhere would be. Vendors come from all the surrounding villages to sell their wares and services, just as they have since the time of the Mayans. ChiChi is the largest marketplace in Guatemala, taking up about 8 blocks by 8 blocks of wall-to-wall street vendors and market stalls. We scored some deals on a few souvenirs (HAGGLE HAGGLE HAGGLE!) but mostly took in the sights, sounds, smells (and feels...?) of Chi Chi.

As previously mentioned, after what felt like a near death experience on the Chickenbus (the locals didn't even batt an eye, so maybe it was just us Gringos) we hired a taxi van to take us to Panajachel on Lake Atitlan, which will be our staging point for our Atitlan visit. We settled into our hotel in Panajachel with our overnight bags (having left our large bags safe in Antigua), had a quick supper and early to bed.

Tomorrow we're off for a boat tour of the local lakeside villages in the morning, then to the village where we'll be meeting our homestay families. So exciting! Lots of love, sorry for the delayed updates - internet access can be somewhat sketchy, as most businesses close at 3 for a siesta, and reopening later seems somewhat abritrary - glad you guys are following our adventures! Also, we are now taking requests for souvenirs, let us know if you want something specific and we'll try our best :)

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