Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day 4 - Market and Village Tour - Antigua, Guatemala

On Friday, we started the day with a walk down to the Post Office and wandered through the local market. Very busy on Friday all over Antigua. We heard later there was a large cruise ship in port - but that doesn't account for the locals out in force. Just Friday busyness I guess.

I still don't understand how they balance these baskets on their heads.

These girls are selling fresh fruit. The red, hairy fruit is called rambutan in Southeast Asia. Don't know what it is called in Guatemala.

Makes for a colorful bathroom! We saw similarly colored pilas or Guatemalan sinks on a truck at a building supply store. Most of the units we will see next week are more generic concrete.

This is a large market in downtown Antigua. All sorts of local handicrafts. I don't think we bought anything here.

These ladies are taking a lunch break. They have been hawking handicrafts on the sidewalk. Apparently this is illegal. They put their wares in their baby carriers whenever a policeman approaches.

In the afternoon we took a tour of several local villages and stopped by several shops producing the local handicrafts. Our first stop was this convent. It is a huge place and was originally the 16th century palace of the first Bishop of Guatemala Fransico Marroquin. It is beautifully restored. We bought some chocolate there. Many of the Bishop's original furnishings are on display.

We asked to go to a jade "factory". Our guide took us down this little street. I was starting to get nervous as we passed the dog going through the garbage in the middle of the street. I skipped a picture of the drunk passed out on the corner. Anyway we knocked on one of the doors and we ended up in a simple shop and sales room.

Very nice people. More reasonable prices than in Antigua. We learned that Guatemalan jade is a different mineral than Chinese jade. Did I mention that in an earlier post?
Jade on Wikipedia

This same village has a community washing center in the town square. The water comes from springs higher up on the volcano. It is reported that a lot of gossip is exchanged here, also. Imagine that.

The village is San Pedro Las Huertas. The washing center is known as Tanque de la UniĆ³n. This is the town church opposite the washing center.

From San Pedro we headed to a macadania nut farm. Interesting operation run by an American and his Guatemalan wife. They are promoting it as a solution to typical slash and burn farming. This is the sorting area.

This is the dehusking machine. Pretty basic - a tire and a re-bar chamber. For more information see:

Our last stop was a Mayan weaving shop. Here are a couple of shots of the ladies working on their weaving. It is called backstrap weaving. The tension is controlled by leaning against the strap.

It is very fine work. All weaving - no embroidery.

Margot purchased a Christmas themed table runner.

Here is Margot dressed up in a Mayan costume.

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