IÂ´m stringing the next few episodes in chronological order, as if IÂ´d written them at the time, rather than all at once. IÂ´ll try to get the dates right.
So: Monday, April 25.
Got up this morning and went down to the Ixchel Museum, which is renowned for its textile displays, in hopes that they could find me a textiles expert to act as guide. DidnÂ´t work; they didnÂ´t have anyone who did this normally and werenÂ´t willing to ask random university students, etc. whether theyÂ´d be interested. The textile displays were nice, including a very nice set of models of backstrap looms being woven, and sections on the significance of various symbols, but on the whole the samples werenÂ´t as good as they were at the Archaelogy and Ethnobotanical Museum. I did, however, buy just about all their books on weaving and textiles, which include detailed explanations of how they weave and a couple of cultural studies on particular towns. I donÂ´t have time to read them now, but theyÂ´ll be cool to have back home.
I am pleased to say that the travelingtigress has collected herself back out of culture-shock “aack!! I need someone to hold my hand the entire time IÂ´m here” and is starting to show some traces of independence. I think IÂ´ll be looking for local guides rather than taking along the same person the entire way. Locals are also likely to know more about the area.
So, IÂ´ve decided to leave for Quetzaltenango, which is the second-biggest city in Guatemala. There IÂ´ll see if I can find a local English-speaking textile-expert guide, and if that doesnÂ´t work, IÂ´ll do a crash course in Spanish and see what I can manage. One thing is obvious to me: the majority of people here donÂ´t speak English, so itÂ´s going to be more of a challenge than I thought. (In Southeast Asia everyone who has anything to do with tourism speaks English.)