Today has been such an amazing first day in Guatemala! Our guide, Rudy, was waiting for us at the airport gate with a huge sign that said <¡BIENVENIDOS!>. Then he took us to our bus and we went immediately on our way. The ride to the village where we are staying in is 12 hours long so we stopped for lunch in the town of Santo Tomás de Chichicastenango. (However, I noticed that most people there just called it Chichi.) Luckily, having arrived on a Sunday, we were able to also see one of the most amazing markets in the world! It was like nothing I have ever seen before. They had just about anything you can think of: candles, fruits, vegetables, animals, clothing, food, antiques, just everything! Back at home we are so used to seeing the meat section behind glass and wrapped up in plastic. Well, here they have chickens and pigs just walking around for people to buy! The antiques were also really neat. My dad collects old coins and there were a few people selling old Spanish colonial coins. They weren’t too expensive, so I bought a few for him.
By the time my group and I made it through the market, we were starving and were ready to eat. We weren’t really interested in a tourist-type restaurant, so when we stumbled on row of comedores we decided to stop at one of the ones with the biggest line. If the locals were waiting, then it must be good! Our guide, Rudy, explained to us that these places are usually run by one family where usually only the women work. They prepare fresh meals prepared with ingredients from the market here at Chichi. We were all so excited! When it was finally my turn to order, I was about to ask for a menu but realized that these places only serve one dish daily. It reminded me of being at home for dinner! They were making a very simple meal of pork, rice, beans, and tortillas. Rudy told us that this is the most common and traditional meal of the indigenous people here in Guatemala. If this were a typical meal for me at home, I would be happy! Well, after we ate it was time to get back on the bus for many more hours of driving through the mountains before arriving to the village. We won’t be there until midnight and I can’t wait to see it!