Welcome to Quetzaltenango or Xela

Trip Start Nov 15, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Guatemala  ,
Thursday, December 7, 2006

After a 5 hour bumpy and dusty bus ride around the mountains, we´re in the Guatemalan Highlands in a city of 125,000 people called Quetzaltenango or Xela as the locals call it. It´s a busy, modern city with everything you would ever need and a huge indigenous population which makes things really bright and interesting.

The women wear traditional clothes a lot which are incredibly colourful and skilfully woven skirts, blouses etc. with very feminine shoes even when they´re carring huge baskets of heavy produce on their heads. Every 2nd woman seems to have a baby snuggled onto her back with various blankets and clothes. No such thing as pushchairs here! Mind you, if you saw the pavements here you´d understand why.

People are really friendly and smiley. While we´re by no means the only tourists or gringos in town, a lot of kids and some adults have a good look at us on the street. The braver little kids like to play hide and seek with us on the chicken buses.

The buses are quite funny, they´re huge old school buses which have been retired from USA and brought to Guatemala via Mexico. They´re painted bright colours, have loud music of varying quality and can be pretty crowded with people and sometimes chickens. Seats made for 2 often seat 3, so you can end up getting up close and personal with strangers whether you like it or not.

We´ve enrolled in a random Spanish language school and start Monday. Very exciting, but a bit daunting. Hopefully the preparation we´ve done will help.
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