The other day, Machete Man and I took a day-trip to La Blanca, a Mayan archeological site known for its Mayan “graffiti” – images carved into the stone by the people who lived there.
La Blanca is a couple hours away from where I’m living, and definitely was worth the trip. The site was used by the Mayans about 900 – 600 BC, and archeologists are currently working there. Only two areas have been restored: the temples used to track the movements of the sun and the equinoxes/solstices, and the palace building, which is where the graffiti is.
The graffiti is truly inspirational. At one point, the walls were painted, and I’m certain that the artwork “popped” a lot more than it does today without the paint. Even so, you can clearly see the Mayan gods and scenes of animals and hunters scratched into the stone.
As amazing as the site was, the funniest part of the trip occurred as we were driving there. Most of the streets in the more rural parts of Guatemala do not have street signs, and signage for places of interest can be spotty. Around 10:30 in the morning, we stopped to ask directions from an elderly couple that was standing by the side of the road at an intersection.
They told us to turn onto the other road and that it would take us to La Blanca. They then asked if we would give them a ride to their respective homes, since they were on the way. They had been waiting for the bus, but it wouldn’t arrive until about 4 in the afternoon.
It was a very hot day, and I certainly wasn’t going to leave two elderly people standing on the side of the road. The car was loaded up with camping supplies (we were planning on camping at Yaxha, another Mayan site, that night), but I figured we could squeeze in the two people.
“Of course!” I said.
They stepped forward, and that’s when I noticed that the man had a rope. “Oh!” I said. “You have a pig.” The man nodded. I looked at the pig, thinking. It wasn’t full grown, but it wasn’t a piglet either. It was probably a teenager. If we could move some of the stuff in the back seat to the trunk area of the SUV, it might work.
“OK,” I said. “I think if you both sit in the back seat, with the pig lying across your lap, it will work.”
The man pulled out a huge burlap bag, placed the pig into it, and then got in. The pig laid across their laps and squealed for the entire 15 minutes until we got to his house.
Machete Man and I laughed for the rest of the day about the pig. “Only in Guatemala,” we said.