We arrived at San Juan Chamula and spent an hour in the town. There is a really bizarre church there that was built to be Catholic but is now far from it. The place was filled with smoke and the floor was covered in pine needles. There were little groups of Maya people kneeling in front of rows of candles and chanting loudly in front of statues of saints. They offer bottles of soda (supposed to chase away evil spirits) and we even saw one guy sacrificing a chicken. It was really, really strange. The ride back to San Cristobal was nice. Our guide took us on a trail through a wooded area and we passed some Maya boys herding their sheep. The horses were actually pretty responsive except towards the end. They seemed to get crabby and tired and Michelle’s would kick every time she tried to get it to go faster. So after that great adventure, we were very sore, our butts especially. The saddles were wooden with a thin piece of leather "padding" so we took a pretty good beating. The experience was well worth the pain though!
The next stop was over the border into
We did have some wickedly good hot chocolate in Quetzaltenango. A place called Café Luna serves chocolate, melted in milk and topped with whipped cream and cinnamon. Michelle also got her first taste of pupusas, a Salvadorian food that Matthew had on his mission and loved. They are little corn pancakes with cheese, meat or beans inside and topped with some pickled cabbage and hot sauce—pretty good!
Our biggest adventure in Quetzaltenango was trying to leave. The morning we made our attempt we got on a bus around and made it about 10km out of town when everyone had to turn around and return because a teacher's strike had blocked the road using people and concrete barricades. It was lucky that we made it back into town because the return road was blocked after we passed through so had it taken longer we would have been stuck in the middle somewhere! Anyway, we got back to the bus terminal and another bus said that they were going another way so we jumped on that bus but the other way they were going to go was blocked too so we had to get off of that bus after it had driven for about 20 mins and take a taxi back to our hotel. It was a pretty wild experience! The chicken buses here go about 90 mph whenever they can and they pass on the highway (or streets through town) very precariously. For some reason they seem to always pick the blind corners to attempt passing. This is all with the baggage guys climbing in and out of the buses while we are going down the road!
Once we left Quetzaltenango we went to Panajachel on
On our way from