March 23, 2011

Weekly(ish) Photo Essay: Xela, Guatemala

Barbara and I flew into Guatemala city on Saturday morning, met Lee at the airport, and the three of us immediately boarded a bus for a four hour ride to Quetzaltenango, more commonly known as Xela.

Now these buses are no ordinary coach buses.

These are old refurbished Blue Bird school buses from America that have been repainted and found another life as Guatemalan inter-city buses. Quite the adventure, to say the least.

We arrived in Xela around 5pm and spent the rest of the evening walking around the city, getting settled in, checking into our hotel, and buying tickets for a reggae concert that night, which Lee's friend Rene` was supposedly filming with for his fake production company, so Lee had to wear a staff t-shirt. I wish I had a photo of that.

The concert started off with the musicians dressed in guerrilla gear, but as they started to play and get hot, they peeled off the layers.

The following day we had a delicious traditional Guatemalan breakfast, complete with giant fruit milkshakes

and then we went to the beach (I'll post about that tomorrow).

We came back to Xela on Monday, exhausted after another four hour bus ride.

Tuesday we were supposed to hike up a volcano and spend the night camping at a sacred volcanic lake, but we unfortunately spent the whole day dealing with fraudulent ATM withdrawals that both Barbara and I were victims of (totaling over $1,500).

Luckily our banks reimbursed us the money, but between filing a police report, getting money wired to us (after our cards had been blocked), and calling our banks, we essentially wasted a whole day :(

But as a result we got to walk all around Xela and visit the city on foot.


We ate delicious street food, got some drinks, and wrapped up an otherwise tedious day with a delicious dinner.

The next morning Barbara and I woke up bright and early to go visit the hot springs,

and pass through the exquisite indigenous village of Zunil, with its beautiful traditional clothing and market.

Stay tuned for pictures from the rest of the trip!

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