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 every 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!
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!!