Our time in Xela was now at an end, and the plans for the remainder of our trip were mostly open ended! Our only concrete plan was to finish up our Guatemala trip with a flight out of Tikal, far to the northeast.

Before starting our long our eastward journey, we decided to first spend some time in nearby highlands. We caught a chicken bus from Xela north to the city of Huehue (short for Huehuetenango), which would be our base station for exploring some small villages. See in Google Maps  See in Google Earth   15.3212, -91.4701 

Some scenes from our bus journey:

Xela (Quetzaltenango) - No Tirar Basura en Esta Area - No Ser Cerdo (Don't throw trash in this area. Don't be a pig!) Bus Trip to Huehue (Huehuetenango) - Comedor Mimi Bus Trip to Huehue (Huehuetenango)

As you've seen our photos of buses driving with sheep and pigs strapped to the roof, you understand that these buses are the way for people to get around with all their stuff. So when you need to purchase a mattress, for example, and take it home with you, it too needs to go up onto the top of the bus! Here, the ayudante has a challenging job, lifting all sorts of objects of different shapes and sizes onto the top of the bus, as well as getting them down and quickly and efficiently as possible — the driver doesn't want to have the bus wait one second longer than it has to! These photos show the shadow of a mattress being unloaded from the roof of our chicken bus:

Bus Trip to Huehue (Huehuetenango) - Chicken Bus - Shadow of Unloading Mattress from Roof Bus Trip to Huehue (Huehuetenango) - Chicken Bus - Shadow of Unloading Mattress from Roof

Huehue has a few interesting points, but certainly isn't a quaint tourist destination like Antigua (or even Xela). It was also the dirtiest and most urban-feeling city we had visited so far.

Huehue (Huehuetenango) Huehue (Huehuetenango) - Church Huehue (Huehuetenango) - Pizza Van Huehue (Huehuetenango) Huehue (Huehuetenango) - Trash Huehue (Huehuetenango) - Police - Armored Truck

We enjoyed a giant relief map they had in the main square of the local mountains and villages.

Huehue (Huehuetenango) - Relief Map Huehue (Huehuetenango) - Relief Map

A breakfast of eggs, beans, and plantains again in a local comedor — yum! The bathroom doors, however, seemed to have been built for a shorter population.

Huehue (Huehuetenango) - Breakfast - Plantains - Eggs - Beans - Cheese Huehue (Huehuetenango) - Short Bathroom Doors - Geoff Huehue (Huehuetenango) - Short Bathroom Doors - Geoff