Guatemala is a truly beautiful country. It’s very green with its grass covered hills and jungles that stretch as far as the eye can see. It’s like a tropical Wales. I can see why so many people visit for a week and stay for a month. Like the ‘yins’ ‘yang’ though, there is a side to Guatemala that isn’t so beautiful.
I had a top and bottom five things I liked and loathed about Mexico ,but as we weren’t exposed to as many different things in Guatemala, due to time spent there, taking a week out to learn Spanish, and generally either being on the road or in the middle of nowhere, I am only doing a top and bottom three. Soz!
So again, in no particular order….
When traveling across Guatemala, one can not help but be in awe of the magical scenery. The hills go on as far as the skies. There are jungles, there are volcanos, there are lakes, there are real life landscape portraits everywhere you look. The place is a photographers wet dream.
The chicken bus
They look amazing and are driven dangerously. They are built for school kids yet overcrowded with adults. The chicken bus is the ultimate mode of transport for thrill seekers, and those with no regards to their personal safety. Watching the conductors go about their business as the buses thunder round hairpin bends is worth risking your life for alone.Learning Spanish
I should write this paragraph in Spanish, but I only took a week long course and so am not at that level just yet. I do however, feel I have learned a fair bit and can definitely understand what people are saying to me much better than when I landed in Central America. With a bit of discipline and practice I’ll soon be able to know what food I am ordering.The bits I didn’t like….
Mexico was poor but Guatemala appears to be a lot worse. Even Coca Cola doesn’t bother manipulating the public with their advertising overkill here. Pepsi and Super-Cola are the main players, and everyone knows you only ever have Pepsi when you’re getting a mixer for your spirits in Wetherspoons. It’s heartbreaking to see the amount of kids who should be in school, but are having to work instead. Some youngsters we saw were carrying heavy loads of firewood, some were helping their mothers sell food, and some, unlike their Nike factory worker counterparts, were shining shoes instead of making them.
Some of the roads are good enough to act as race tracks for the chicken buses, but most are little more than dirt tracks. They are uncomfortable to drive along, and many are so bad, it takes an hour to drive a mile or so. The roads are why we have spent much of Guatemala in transit, ensuring we arrive at our new place just in time for bed. Screw you shit roads.
The Gringo tax
I didn’t like it in Mexico and I still don’t like it. It seems worse here though. I expect it from some people and happily accept it from others, but we have been to a couple of establishments, been told of the price, eaten our food and then the price has increased. Stop telling me that it costs one thing, and then saying you said it cost something different. Who do you think you are? My Government?