Like most travellers (and most girls) I like a good market.
So I had high hopes for the twice-weekly market held in the Guatemalan highland town of Chichicastenango.
About two hours from Lake Atitlan on a pretty miserable road, 40Q return shuttles run on Thursdays and Sundays from the centre of San Pedro right to the centre of Chichi. You can also take shuttles from Antigua and Xela.
Each Thursday and Sunday, mostly Mayan vendors from around Guatemala set up in the streets and alleyways around Chichi’s main square and the church of Santo Tomas selling textiles, handicrafts, wood carvings, jewellery and pottery.
I’d heard it was colourful, crowded and crazy, that you could barely take two steps without being accosted by peddlers eager to show you their wares. I’d read of people needing to purchase huge bags to take their goodies back home in. I’d read of pickpockets and bag slashers.
So what did I find there?
Well, it was colourful.
But it certainly wasn’t crazy, or crowded. I didn’t have my pockets picked or my bag slashed.
In fact, the sellers and locals seemed pretty bored by it all.
I took a few photographs, wandered past the same stalls several times and dragged out lunch. And it still wasn’t time to go back to San Pedro.
In the end, I went home empty handed and disappointed.
Maybe it’s busier on Sundays. Maybe it’s the off season. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by the hyperbolic markets of India and the atmospheric souqs of the Middle East.
But honestly? I don’t get the attraction.