San Francisco El Alto

On Friday during our week in Xela, we took a day trip to San Francisco El Alto, which is famous for its Friday market. See in Google Maps See in Google Earth 14.9453, -91.4428 

The entire town of San Francisco El Alto seems to be taken over by this enormous market, which fills its tiny cobbled streets with a maze of tarp-covered stalls. Like many other markets, this one has a wide collection of fruits, vegetables, housewares, dried nuts, and arts and crafts in abundance.

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But this market is unique in that all kinds of live animals are also for sale: cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, roosters, geese, puppies, and kittens. The animal sale area is at the top of the hill, where you'll find them on leashes, tied to stakes, or put into circular wicker baskets with mesh covering.

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The church in town provided a nice respite from the chaos of the market.

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There were lots of colorful chicken buses to photograph, as people from all over the western highlands came to the market for their weekly groceries.

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Another way to travel was the "microbus". Microbuses go to the smaller towns that aren't served by the chicken buses. A microbus is never really "full" — there's always room for one more person! It was amazing watching people squeeze themselves into this microbus:

San Francisco El Alto - MicrobusSan Francisco El Alto - Microbus

Yes, there's a live sheep and pig tied to the roof of this bus:

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Inside our chicken bus: Winnie-the-Pooh & Jesucristo

San Francisco El Alto - Chicken Bus - Inside - Snacks for SaleTrip back from San Francisco El Alto - Chicken Bus - Inside - Winnie-the-Pooh & Jesucristo

Scenes from the trip home: a decorated truck, polluted river, windy road, and a family waiting at a gas station

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