500,000 bottles of sparkling wine mature in this section of the underground cellars at Cricova Winery just north of Chisinau, Moldova. Photo taken December 3, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Todos Santos and heading home!

Our last post left us at the side of the road waiting for a bus to take us to Todos Santos for the night. Our hiking was finished and we were going to explore the town before heading back to Xela early the following morning.

The town of Todos Santos is "famous" for two reasons. First, it is one of the few Guatemalan towns left where the local Mayan men still wear their traditional clothing in their day to day life. It is common for the Mayan women to wear traditional (and beautiful!) clothing ever day, but rare for the men. In Todos Santos, the men carry on.

Also, there is an annual celebration in Todos Santos where people get drunk and race horses through the town. It's not a pretty sight, and in fact the mayor had banned alcohol in the days leading up to the "celebration" but the spectacle continues, sometimes with bloodshed and stupidity as part of the festival. But that takes place in November, so we missed it!

But we did get to see the town and it's interesting people.

This shop sold the traditional men's clothing. It was sort of pricey, but it may have been geared towards the tourists! We also saw where you could buy the material alone and I expect most locals buy the material and have their clothes made.

Kevin and Gitt (one of our co-hikers) decided to each have a deep fried chicken leg. We have been lacking in real meat and they said it was delicious.

Local men's hats. Maybe I should have tried one on...

The man on the right is wearing the full traditional outfit. Yes, they wear this every day. 

That night, we were staying again in a private home. It almost seems like a hostel, but their are no signs, and no other customers. Somewhere along the way, Quetzaltrekkers organized this stopover and it has stuck and nobody seems to know how or why. It's not a bad spot though, and they made a great chicken and pasta dish for dinner. We said that our dish was like chicken soup without the broth, and Ruth and Stefani's dish (gluten free) was like chicken soup without the noodles!

A highlight (?) of our trip was group leader Ollie's magic tricks with cards. Well, he was a card anyhow, and entertained us for a few minutes or so. Actually, it was quite good! Wish I had video for you all!

Ollie, amazing us all with his card tricks! Can you see the little girl at the top of the stairs? She eventually got enough nerve to come down and join us when the others left.

After dinner, the rest of the group went to a local cantina (bar) to have a few drinks, but Ruth and I stayed behind to have a few games of Yahtzee and then hit the sack. When we were playing, Louisa (the little girl) came down and joined us. We taught her how to play Yahtzee and had quite a few laughs with her. She's a bundle of energy at 9 years old!

Louisa, having fun playing Yahtzee with us!

We had a good night's sleep, but we still had to get up early to catch the bus back to Xela. In fact, we were waiting at the bus stop at 4:57am Sunday morning, and we were back in Xela around 9:45am that day. Some more spectacular scenery on the bus ride home, but unfortunately not near a window seat to take some pictures!

Waiting for the bus at 4:57am!

In hindsight?

It was hard work, but now that we've finished it, we think we would do it again. A spectacular experience that supports a great cause. In fact, we're going to tell you more about the Quetzaltrekker's cause in a later post. We had a great group of fellow hikers and that made the experience all the better. Oh...and if we did it again, we would carry better quality sleeping mats!!!

Okay, so that's the end of our six day excursion into the mountains of western Guatemala. Tomorrow morning, we'll update you on the rest of our activities since then, including our border crossing today from Guatemala back to Mexico!!

16 comments:

  1. You really put a smile on that little girl's face. Happy trails

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  2. Kevin and Ruth, We're in San Cristobal. Where can we meet up today? My email address is: bcarleton@mac.com. We're at Rancho San Nicholas camping just outside town but will be in town most of today. Would LOVE to see you two!! Bonnie and Dave

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    1. We had a great time meeting up with you, hopefully we can do it again in Saskatchewan this summer.

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  3. A wonderful experience for sure. Great interaction with the local people as well.

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  4. I really enjoy seeing the local people and the "around town" scenes. What a great time you two are having.

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  5. I did a geology trip into the Todos Santos area two months ago. The town sits on a scary slip fault.
    I was there on market day, one of the highlighta of this year's trip south.

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    1. We were there for market day as well, unfortuately it was starting to wind down by the time we got into town so we didn't get to see it in it's full glory. Still it was a wonderful experience.

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  6. Loved the Guatemala posts!!! You guys Rock!

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  7. Replies
    1. I meant to mention that. By day three, the muscles were pretty much recovered! Most of the soreness had been as a result of the volcano hike the weekend before we left on the six day hike. At the end of this trip, the muscles were not sore at all. Tired, but not sore.

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  8. How wonderful that there is still a place on Earth that the people wear their traditional clothing and not nikes or Old Navy. I'm an early morning person but a 5am bus might be pushing it too far.
    Although.............it looks like it is dawn and that's when I get up so maybe, in Guatemala............

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    1. Yep, it was pretty neat to see this guys in the traditional clothing.

      Dawn was close and we got to see the sun rise just less than an hour later from the bus as we were coming to the "edge" so it looked beautiful.

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  9. So glad you took us all along for the adventure! Thank you!!

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    1. Happy to have you all along and glad that you enjoyed it.

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