After a lovely visit with my son in Las Vegas, I thought I would have an uneventful Mexicana flight back to Oaxaca. But of course not. Changed planes in Mexico City and was told to sit at a certain gate. About 10 minutes before boarding time I noticed that “Oaxaca” was not posted on the board. I asked some folks sitting near me if they were going to Oaxaca too. So asked at the desk again. Oh, the gate has been changed, they said! So we all ran. At least I thankfully got the green light in Oaxaca and didn’t have to have all six bags searched. Then heard about the AeroMexico flight that was diverted to Portland because of fog in Seattle…travelers sitting on the plane for four hours at which time the plane flew back to Mexico City and then back to Seattle again. Don’t think I’m taking a Mexican plane again anytime soon.
Barely had a week to unpack when I joined two friends for a trip to Guatemala to visit small Mayan mountain village markets in the north for two weeks. Our base was Quetzaltenango (Xela the locals call it, and the 2nd largest city in Guatemala) and took crowded chicken buses and overflowing “collectivo” vans to outlying villages each day…the longest a 7 hour ride to San Mateo Ixtatlan (at 13,000 feet) where older women still wore the “sunburst” huipil. Half the population of Guatemala is still rural…houses crawling up the mountainsides with no visible roads. Breathlessly snaking along S curves, with only mountain tops and a dozen volcanos poking through the clouds, it felt as if we were looking out the window of a plane. Each village still has it’s own language, dress and culture…the most beautiful was the “red and purple village” where men and women both still wore elaborate hand-woven clothing in the traditonal way signifying whether single, married, status etc.