We had found a map that had a route for a free self guided walking tour of Xela. So we set off around 10:30am to see the sights. It started out in the central plaza, and that's only a short walk form the Casa Argentina hostel where we're staying.
The first stop was the Museum of Natural History. It costs 6 quetzales (81 cents) each for the entrance fee. No photography allowed, so you'll just have to visit it yourself one day! Some of the stuff I'm sure has been there for a hundred years without being updated. Very strange place. Most of the rooms were uninteresting, but the "zoological" room was kind of different with lots of specimen jars and stuffed animals that look like the taxidermist was apparently a drinking man! Even a human embryo and a human brain!
The central plaza, taken from the second floor of the museum.
The next stop was the cathedral. You'll notice in the picture above on the right hand side that only the facade of the original cathedral remains. The rest was demolished in the late nineteenth century, but we can't figure out why. The facade dates back to 1532. The newer cathedral sits slightly further back from that and you can't see it in the pic.
Next stop was the municipal government building. Built in the late 1800's, it was severely damaged in the devastating earthquake that hit this region in 1902. Reconstructed, and renovated several times it's still not completely finished!
The municipal building has a beautiful central garden.
Headed over to the market area, we walked by a barbershop. I needed a haircut. Many of you may not know that Ruth and I met when she cut my hair almost 30 years ago and I haven't had anybody else cut my hair since then! So we walked in. Eduardo was reading the paper waiting for his next customer. I knew it would be cheap so I didn't even ask the price.
Can you tell I had my baseball hat on?
That's better! Thanks Eduardo!
It came time to pay, and Eduardo said it was 20 quetzales ($2.70). I gave him 25 quetzales ($3.37). Later on, we saw barbershops advertising haircuts for 15 quetzales ($2.00). And from talking to the people back at the hostel, you can get a haircut for 10 ($1.35) quetzales at some places! I overpaid!
Lots of flowers for sale for Valentines Day.
The municipal theater.
The municipal theater was completed in 1895, and then the earthquake of 1902 made them reconstruct the entire facade. We couldn't get inside yesterday.
Strange to see a firefighters memorial. Interestingly, I don't think we've seen any fire hydrants here!
Then it was off to another market.
The meat section.
We went and sat on a bench beside the park and we bought a bag of cut up pineapple and watermelon for 5 quetzales (67 cents). While we were sitting there, a couple of teenage girls came and sat opposite us. They were cute and giggling and I thought it looked like a nice photo so I asked if I could take their photo!
Paola and Alejandra must have got some flowers from their boyfriends for Valentines Day!
Kevin, with a bag of fruit.
We figured that was enough for yesterday and made our way back to the hostel. It's a little chilly here in the mornings and I wanted to buy a hooded sweatshirt. Looked at one new one, but the guy asked for 190 quetzales ($25) saying he was open to giving me a discount! I probably could have got it for 100 ($13.50), but decided to keep looking. Came across a used clothing store where I found a Nike brand hoody. The pull tag on the zipper was gone, and there was a bit of wear at the end of the sleeves but other than that it was pretty nice and it will keep me warm. Asking price, 10 quetzales ($1.35). I did not bother negotiating her down although I probably could have!
I think we've decided to do a two day trek up a volcano that leaves Saturday morning. It will be good exercise to get us warmed up for our six day hike next week. Here's the description of the two day hike...
http://www.quetzaltrekkers.com/guatesantamaria.html (Click on the tab that says "2-Day trek").