Oh man… another adventure today. First, the taxi driver I hired didn’t know where the Museo Popol Vuh was, even after asking another taxi driver where it was. I had a bad feeling about this. I also discovered that the taxis in Guatemala City aren’t metered. If I was smart I would have negotiated a fare and made sure he knew where he was going before stepping into the cab. If I was even smarter I would have hired one of the pimped out rice-boy taxis I saw. So this loser takes me to the Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología (MUNAE) instead, another museo I wanted to go to but not the one I asked for. Instead of letting him take me to Museo Popol Vuh, I have him let me off here. Probably a good idea. I did end up at Museo Popol Vuh later, with a more reliable taxi driver. The MUNAE is a state-run museo while the Museo Popol Vuh is on a university campus and privately-run. I found the MUNAE to be more interesting. It’s certainly bigger, with a good sized collection of stelae from various Mayan sites like Dos Pilas, Kaminaljuyu, and Uaxactun. The Museo Popol Vuh had a special exhibition on cacao (kakaw) but I found the collection pretty meager. I was fooled by the slickness of the special exhibition website.
After the museos I decided to take the city bus into Zona 1 to the Mercado Central, the Parque Central, and the main cathedral. Not so many tourists in this park of the city, even in the mercado. The buses weren’t that hard to figure out, even after losing my Spanish phrase book. On the way to Zona 1 I passed by the US embassy, yet another US embassy set up like a fortress.
I managed to leave Zona 1 during rush hour, which meant I would ride a jam packed bus back to the hotel. The bus was so jam packed I was one of three guys hanging onto the rear door for a good portion of the ride. There’s nothing like traveling like a local.