Sometimes there is no better way to intimately get to know a country than through visiting its market. I have been to some wonderful markets around the world: Chatuchak Market in Bangkok, Ladies Market in Hong Kong, La Bouqueria in Barcelona, souks in Israel, the Grand Bazaar in Egypt, and now the most famous market in Guatemala: Chichicastenango.
|Grand Bazaar in Egypt|
|Chinatown Market, Singapore|
Market days in Chichicastenango are Thursday and Sunday--we timed our trip to visit the market on Sunday--the largest market day.
Markets can often be jarring and Chichicastenango was no exception. As soon as we walked on the streets we were inundated with small children thrusting magnets, pot holders, and handmade stuffed animals in our faces, unrelenting until we agreed to purchase something. (You really can't manage to do this all day or you will end up broke!)
Through the narrow stalls you must weave in and out of throngs of people, clutching to your belongings. You have to be prepared to put your game face on to bargain (I mostly leave this to my husband as he has made quite an art out of the back and forth negotiations). Both challenging, heartbreaking, and eye-opening, a trip to Chichicastenango was a necessary stop on our journey.
|Images via Travelmoon|
If you are wondering what my favorite purchase was from the market: it is a Mayan antiquity of a Sun God that was found nearby washed up along a river. Is it authentic? I'd like to think so!