Most Colorful Native Market in Central America

Trip Start Nov 16, 2009
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Trip End Apr 16, 2010


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Flag of Guatemala  , Western Highlands,
Thursday, December 31, 2009

Our next stop "Chichicastenango" or as the locals call it "Chi-Chi" which is home to what is surely one of the most colorful native markets in Central America.  Market days are Sundays and Thursdays, people from the surrounding region come into town, but also vendors from all over Guatemala attend. Each one hawking his or her products in a riotous madhouse of color, dialects, costumes, smoke, and smells and wall-to-wall people and animals (chickens, ducks, sheep, pigs, etc).
 
Vendors begin setting up portable booths in the main plaza and adjacent streets of "Chi-Chi" the night before and set-up continues in the early daylight hours. Although it is not immediately obvious to the tourist newcomer, the market is highly organized, with vendors of specific goods occupying traditional sites in the market area. The video at the left hand side of this entry shows flower vendors on the steps of the church. The fruit and vegetable sellers have their traditional area, as do the sellers of pottery, wooden boxes, condiments and medicinal plants, candles, pom and copal (traditional incense), cal (lime for preparing tortillas) and grindstones, pigs and chickens, machetes and other tools, etc. 
 
In 1969, the Chi-Chi market was largely contained within the central plaza, and the foreigner might wander about seeing only a handful of other tourists. But Chi-Chi has been "discovered" and great numbers of tourists now visit, leading to expansion of the market into all the side streets for a block or so from the plaza. This has caused an increase in prices for the items for sale and something the sellers just wait until you either purchase it or walkaway.
 
Some indigenous people do not mind being photographed, especially from a distance. But others do not wish to be photographed (this happen to me more than once). I was still able to get some good pictures of the action of the day!

NOTE: IN ORDER TO VIEW THE VIDEOS YOU MUST CLICK DIRECTLY ON THE CLIP, THEN THE ARROW WITHIN THE CLIP ITS SELF.


 
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