Monday, 21 December 2015

Boats, buses, bikes, beers and bangers

It was a choppy old ride across the lake, an exhilarating start to a Sunday.

We picked up the bikes from the guest house where we'd left them. The guy had a van, we had a big hill to climb. Sod it, a fiver each would make that 17km a bit easier!

By the time we got to the top at the main highway the weather had gone from 20 degree sunshine to 10 degree drizzle.

We shivered as we set off on what would be a mostly downhill ride of just 18km. The wind whipped up and the rain blew sideways. This certainly wasn't what the doctor ordered...luckily it only lasted long enough to show us how bad it could we descended through twisting pine forest and jungle it warmed up a bit. Down, down, down. Now that only meant one thing.
The climb was only a few km but bloody steep in parts. A bit of pushing, lots of standing up and cranking as hard as you could in our lowest gear (26F & 34R).

Finally at the top we are some rank chicken in a roadside cafe complete with a 'loo with a view' 
and began another less steep rise down into the mountain town of Chichicastenango (love that name!)
We were here to experience the huge market and also their main festival of the year. We checked into our less than fancy but a bit pricey digs and went out for a wander. The cold drizzle & rain came back and to be honest we had to try hard to stay enthusiastic.
The crazy market and sights kept us chipper though (just).

Have xylophone, will travel! Love the way they just soldier on either the help of plastic sacks. (Sorry, can't get videos to embed so you'll have to cut n paste the links).

The hot water in the hotel is solar powered so did nothing to warm our bones. Here is kate just out of the shower and Mel waiting for us, ready to go out for dinner.

We stopped off in a little local bar- you can tell the bars as they have dirty sheets hanging, half covering the open doorways. Once inside it felt a little intimidating at first but once a few local lads stole themselves away from the soft porn videos playing in the corner to say "ola" we began to relax. 1 beer was enough though...

The morning brought some welcome sunshine. Time to get into the festivities. How can I describe it? One word, mental.
Crazy processions of masked characters, huge multi coloured 'punka walla chairs' but with coffins or statues inside them.

 Ear bleeding music, crowds, crush and bedlam. That is until they need to clear the church steps. How do they do this? With fireworks of course! Huge grenade style ones launched in a heavy metal pipe followed by strings of bangers lobbed around and of course blokes launching rockets (lit from his fag) from his bare hands. The air, constantly full of gun powder smoke and falling paper debris (some still smouldering). Full on!!

We've come back to the hotel for a bit of a rest. The action will definitely still be there in a few hours but hopefully not into the night.....
Oh anyone fancy a 120y estate or need your tuk tuk fixing, then this is the place...


  1. That's quite a funky tune :)
    Great insight mate. Keep the blog rolling, I'm loving it

  2. Oh my Gid, all of that in one day! Your brains must have been working overtime trying to process it all when you went to bed.

    Love the xylophone players, but those other guys are nuts!

    Kate, think I would have forgone the shower if it was that cold; you're a braver woman than me!

  3. See from FB that Mel is suffering today (yesterday?). Is that the result of the dodgy chicken lunch? Get well soon!

    1. She had a sausage, we had the chook...

  4. PS Realised I'd missed lots of your posts - had only seen the one's you'd linked on FB. Keepingup now

  5. Forgotten what country you are in..will have to look back.Get better everyone.