Guatemala and Belize 14 Jan - 24 Feb 2015 travel blog


Cloth on the hhead

Bat on the back

Not for sale

Black and white tortillas - black or white corn flour (also red)

Poor child with a balloon

Shopping done

Welcome drink

Me (finally) with restaurant owner

Today was a varied day with stops along our route to Nebaj. Firstly we stopped at a waterfall just outside Panajachel (the largest Mayan village on the lakeside) - not exactly Iguassu but quite high and tippling more water into that very full lake I already explained. From the other side of the road we also got another fantastic panorama of the volcanoes and lake.

Our next stop was in Solola - not much to say for it except for it's colourful market. It is like a regional town and is the only one to have paralletl Mayan and ladino governments. We were told that the Mayans meet to carry out their own justice at times which can be lashings, carrying huge weights naked through the town followed by lashings, and burning the persistent criminal alive! We were all quite appalled but the laws here are weak the the Mayans take it into their own hands to reduce crime.

On the brighter side, they mainly wear their colourful traditional dress - women with piles of cloth on their heads, their own unique patterned skirts and blouses and the men in skirts and shirts embroidered on the back with bats - the town's symbol.

We had time to wander through their market which is full of everyday life, not there for tourists, before continuing to Chichicastenango. We only stopped here for lunch and will return on Thursday for their famous market.

Our lunch was preceded by a welcome drink of distilled corn drunk like tequilla with lemon and salt on the back of the hand - a bit sticky! My crepe was not wonderful except for the spinach inside.

We then continued up hill and down dale - some parts really so steep your ears pop - to Nebaj and rather run down little village and famous, unfortunately, for being caught up in the Civil War from early 1980's to 1996 - many villagers here and nearby were massacred by both the army and the guerrillas and , while here, we shall see the two cemeteries; one for the Mayans and one for the guerillas.

It's very cold here and our hotel is cutely simple. The hot shower won't work until after 9pm because we have to wait for the power usage to go down. I am wrting this in bed, refusing dinner tonight and having washed with several kettles of boiling water (and my kettle is very small). I hope that when I get up at 6am the hot water will be available.

Those of us who wish are climbing a very steep mountain tomorrow, over a pass to another village. I have packed many layers, but am wearing some of them in bed. I'll survive!

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