Friday, 25 September 2009

The King Marcos Cave

El Calvario, Chamelco´s church, one of the first in this part of the world
This really is Middle Earth. I know it is an easy joke, but it is so true.
I have not checked the feet of these people but I am absolutely certain they are hobbits.
Guatemalan's are around 60% indigenous, and I swear they make Kylie look tall.No one here reaches my shoulders and sometimes that is a bit inconvinient.
For example, public toilets are an ordeal. They are so small which makes aiming backwards a real challenge. Also, their minibuses, in which they pack too many people anyway, are a killer on my legs. To make matters worse, I have lost my flip flops but here they don't sell size 44 here.

Today I went up from Coban, where I am staying, to a nice Maya Village called Chamelco and then on to see the San Marcos Cave. Coban has got a strange history. Until WWII this was a heavily German town. The Germans had arrived in the 19th Century founding coffee and spice plantations. That all came to an end when the USA got the Guatemalan Government to deport the Germans for supporting the Nazis.I had never heard about this. There are plenty of postwar Nazi refugee stories in South America but I had not heard about them being kicked out during the war.

Chamelco is a nice town, with a very strange market. I was there first thing in the morning and went back later on.
The women arrive with whatever they have to sell, bringing little stools with them, and they sit in lines all the way down the street. As the morning progresses more women arrive, and more lines are created, leaving only minimal space for customers to walk pass. It is fascinating to watch but it also make you realize just how poor some of the indigenous people are.

Pure Guatemala, the crochet tops and the white cowboy hat
Women come to the market, having travelled a few hours to sell a chicken or two, maybe some corn, or just a few tomatoes.

From Chamelco I went on to Rey Marcos Caves, which were only discovered in 1998.The caves are spectacular and what I liked most is that a river runs through them. At one point you have to wade through the river, which is a nice change from other places I have been that are too health and safety conscious.

One of the main caves, with river running at the bottom of the cave
The road to the caves is infested with pot holes, and being market day the mini buses are full so I had to come back on the top of the bus.

They call this the Twin Towers

Tomorrow I am off to Chichicastenango for the Sunday Market.

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