Take a Chicken to Work Day

Take your pick of chickens for sale

There are some things I can honestly say I never thought I would see. A show and tell of chickens, turkeys, and pigs would be near the top of that list, but I saw that exact thing this morning. Let me explain what took place.

Earlier today I was walking through the market of Chichicastenango, Guatemala which is the largest market in all of Guatemala and depending upon the day might be the largest in all of Central America. The entire town turns into an enormous marketplace each Thursday and Sunday. Literally anything you could need is available in this market. Every street is packed full of people attempting to sell their goods, and others bartering to get the lowest price. Most of the goods for sale are typical items like fruit, bread, and crafts, but not everything I found in the market was expected.

As I turned down one of the non-tourist aisles, I saw a woman holding a chicken. This in and of itself is not unusual for the markets in Guatemala, but as I continued to walk further down that particular aisle, I saw literally hundreds of women holding chickens and/or turkeys. Each one attempted to tell me in Spanish why their chicken was the best and why I should buy from them. For the fun of it, I bartered with a few of the women just so I would know what the going price is for live chickens in case I need one in the future. If you are taking notes, it is $4.

In addition to the chickens that were being held by the women, each had a basket full of more chicken at their feet. I am pretty sure that the chickens already knew their fate, because they were all extremely quiet. Ironically, the next aisle over was food vendors; most of them serving fried chicken.

A few minutes later as I was attempting to find my way out of this confusing maze of vendors and animals, I noticed a man walking a few pigs on leashes down a side path. I had to do a double take to make sure what I thought I saw was a reality. Never in my life have I seen multiple pigs on a leash. This must be typical in the market because everyone else around me simply kept on going about their business.

After these two instances, my focus shifted from spotting a bargain among the thousands of merchants to taking in the setting around me of this unique place. However, if you are wary of crowds, this may not be the spot for you. In my best guess, there were over 20,000 people packed into narrow paths and side streets crisscrossing the town. Without a doubt, it is an atmosphere like none other.

You will not have a problem finding animals to go for a walk, carry around town, or serve as supper to your family if you are in Chichicastenango, Guatemala. If you need live animals at a great price, I have found your spot.

Bryan Clifton

Oklahoma City, OK