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Honduras: Belén Gualcho

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Belén Gualcho | Honduras | Americas

[Visited: January 2005]

Ever since I read about the Sunday market of Belen Gualcho, I wanted to visit it and see it for myself. A small village in the higher mountains of Honduras, in a region littered with small and smaller settlements, must turn into something special on market day. So I took a bus from Santa Rosa de Copán scheduled to leave at 10.30 but actually leaving closer to 12, which took a long while especially after leaving Corquín. It was overloaded, as buses should be, and seemed to work at its maximum to get us, the luggage, live animals, and the bus itself over the mountain roads.

Picture of Belén Gualcho (Honduras): Belén Gualcho: late afternoon light on its church

Once in Belén Gualcho, I walked around the village streets formed by enormous stones and pieces of rock, strewn over the earth in completely random order, clearly not intended for cars or bicycles. Belén Gualcho has an attractive colonial church, for a change not on the central park, but higher above the village centre. There is no other way, the town is too hilly to accomodate both cathedral and park at the same spot. Climbing a little above the church gave me a great view over the the valley, the mountains, the village and the church itself. The sun set early behind the mountains, and as always in Honduras, I slept very early. Of course the market starts very early as well. At 4, I was awakened by the sounds of merchants waking up, and getting themselves and their goods ready for sale. I went a little later, and the small square, so quiet and empty the day before, had turned into a busy place, people haggling, gesturing, talking, laughing, weighing, paying, putting goods into their bags, shouting to try draw people's attention to the wares for sale.

Picture of Belén Gualcho (Honduras): Belén Gualcho: getting ready for shopping

And every day goods were for sale, fruits and vegetables, clothes and underwear, hats and shoes, plastic and earthware... And it was all loaded on pick up cars, on horses, on people's backs, and, after a while, the first expeditions left the square, in whatever way, on the long way back home. I left for a walk, and when I came back after an hour, the entire square was almost empty. Instead, there was rubbish everywhere, leftovers, squashed fruit on the street, empty plastic bottles, the whole atmosphere was gone, the square had once again become what it was yesterday, a small, quiet, empty square. It looked sadder now, under a grey sky, a drizzle, and the rubbish all over it.

Picture of Belén Gualcho (Honduras): Belén Gualcho: rainbow over the town
Picture of Belén Gualcho (Honduras): Belén Gualcho: children at the market
Picture of Belén Gualcho (Honduras): Belén Gualcho: carrot seller waiting for customers
Picture of Belén Gualcho (Honduras): Belén Gualcho: visitors to the market
Picture of Belén Gualcho (Honduras): Belén Gualcho: old woman weighing vegetables
Picture of Belén Gualcho (Honduras): Belén Gualcho: buses waiting to take people home from the market
Picture of Belén Gualcho (Honduras): Belén Gualcho: getting into a pickup to go home
Picture of Belén Gualcho (Honduras): Belén Gualcho: market under a tree of the square
Picture of Belén Gualcho (Honduras): Belén Gualcho: two girls walking under an umbrella

Around the World in 80 Clicks

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