contains mild peril

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Chichicastenago Market

Ok, I'm in Chichi (which is how all the gringos call it - and given the slightly tongue-twisting name you can see why.)
Its market day and this is a major market town - major for gringo tourists like me but also for locals who come from miles around to buy their own stuff.
The place is hectic and cramped. None of my photos will capture this so I stop trying. Its kinda fantastic even though i normally hate markets. Luckily I've bumped into 2 girls who I went up the volcano with and we mooch around. Its good bing with them as they're in buying mode and otherwise this could get tedious. [weeks later I wish I'd bought loads of stuff here but it was my 3rd day of the trip and i didn't want to load myself down].

There are loads of stalls that you'd expect - selling material, trinkets, masks, basketry for the gringos and just about everything you can imagine for the locals from plastic bowls to poultry.

However, I do see one guy here selling stuff that really foxes me. He's sitting on his haunches, dirty dusty clothes, with a small set of scales in front of him and some small stones/ rocks. As I watch a Mayan woman will come up to him, they'll say something and he'll measure out 4 or 5 of these small rocks and put them in a small bag for her. She'll give him a coupla Quetzales (ie they don't cost too much) and she'll be on her way. He'll wait for a few minutes and another Mayan woman will come along and the same thing'll be repeated.

This guy is doing quite well selling rocks. They look like chalk, but roughly cut and dirty.

This guy is selling rocks!!

There are loads of similar rocks all over the fucking place but this guy is doing a pretty good line in selling them!! Half the fucking country is made of limestone and he's selling the fucking stuff!!

As you can imagine, this made me think over the next few days..... what the hell are they using small chalk-like rocks for?




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