Well, IÂ´ve got the next three days planned out: fifteen or so hours of Spanish language class, a textiles tour with Carlos Molina, who runs some kind of Mayan weaversÂ´project in a nearby city; a visit to the San Francisco El Alto market, which is one of the two biggest in Guatemala, and a couple of days staying with a Mayan family in between all that. That should be plenty to keep me busy through Saturday. After that, I think IÂ´ll probably pass up through Todos Santos in the northern highlands, through Coban (which is famous for its coffee), and up to the Belize border. My various leads have mostly petered out, so itÂ´s pretty clear IÂ´m not going to get my conversation with a Mayan weaver–which is a pity, but oh well. Outside of that and CarlosÂ´s textiles tour, thereÂ´s really not much else to keep me in Guatemala, and itÂ´s pretty rough traveling, so I think IÂ´m going to cross into Belize and spend a week or two there instead.
Belize doesnÂ´t have a weaving tradition, but they do have fantastic ecotourism, and the biggest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, i.e. spectacular diving. It also has a much larger number of English speakers, which should make for easier traveling. I donÂ´t think IÂ´ll lose much by bailing on Guatemala–IÂ´m not going to be able to get out to the Maya (beyond the homestay that is) and I already have a nice collection of Guatemalan textiles, and will get more at FridayÂ´s market. (TheyÂ´re not especially cheap–between $50 and $75 per handwoven skirt–but considering that each is 8 meters of handwoven cloth, thatÂ´s a very good price.)
TomorrowÂ´s going to be a quiet day; IÂ´m taking the first half of the day to relax, plan my onward journey, and take a look at all these weaving books. After that IÂ´ll be in language school until around 7pm. Thursday, on the other hand, should be a lot more interesting.
I forgot to mention that IÂ´ve been having minor problems with the altitude. Quetzaltenango is at 10,000 feet, and I get altitude sickness starting around 7,000 feet, so I have way less stamina than usual and am crankier, prone to getting out of breath, headaches, etc. It should pass in another day or so (I hope!).