About five years ago I was in Huehuetenango, Guatemala having crossed the border from Méjico and rattled into town on a chicken bus. It was getting late so I stayed in a sketchy little hotel near the bus station, probably cost around 40 queztales or five bucks American.
Huehue is a kind of bustling town although hardly on the tourist trail. I heard of a Mayan site outside town so I decided to prolong my stay by a day to check it out. It’s about 4 kilometres out of town, close enough to hotfoot it so I did, starting in the centre of town and following the signs.
On the fringes of town I came across this guy. Doesn’t look Guatemalan, does he? He’s not. Can’t remember his name but his country, yes. South Africa – Joburg, Cape Town, Durban or Pretoria I couldn’t now say but he told me he had been in town for quite a few years and cheap cocaine wasn’t the least of his motivations for being there.
Eventually I came across some local folk.
Nice people. They told me I was on the right track.
Nice scenery too, bucolic.
After an hour maybe, I made it.
Perhaps not as impressive as Chichén Itzá, Tikal, Copán or Palenque but I enjoyed checking it out.
Wikipedia says occupation of the site dates to the early classic period (AD 250-600). It was the capital of the Post Classic Mam kingdom and conquered by the K’iche’ Kingdom of Q’umarkaj as you no doubt read about in middle school history class.
Close up of some stone work.
I met some future doctors at the top of one of the pyramids.
And then spent some time imagining I was Kayb’il Balam (the last Mam leader, in power at the time of the Spanish conquest.)
Later, I flagged down a chicken bus for the trip back to town.