I stepped off the airplane on August 18th and looked into the heart of Guatemala City. Motorbikes whizzed by everywhere,with no concept of stoplights anywhere. Kichequal women balanced elaborate fruit baskets on their heads all while dressed in varied assortments of vibrant colors. Knife jugglers and flower salesmen graced the streets on every corner. In a word, Guatemala was and is explosive.
I use the word explosive both in a literal and figurative way. Literally explosive because of the constant fireworks and torrid violent past, both in civil wars and fruit wars (think United Fruit Company). Figuratively, though, it’s explosive because of the houses painted in pastels of colors and the men and the people making regular appearances in bright garb. Whether in culture or politics, the Spanish culture is well embodied through the Mayan people here. Especially in Antigua.
People of the Volcano
Antigua is interesting in a lot of respects. Firstly, it might be said, that the volcanoes make it extraordinarily curious. Curious, because it’s a fucking volcano. A hunk of rock that occasionally spouts liquid fire might make one second guess where he built his house. The thought of it, right? Well, the Guatemalans live here, and just fine in fact.
The people are, in a word, friendly.
Drivers are friendly. Need to cross the street? Go ahead. No honking, no yelling. Just cross, dude. Need directions? Use some of that gringo Spanish and people are more than willing to help. Yes, sometimes I get called gringo. I am! Embrace the gringo! I’ll never get those non-gringo prices, though. But hey, cheap is cheap.
I’ll never get those locals prices, forever a gringo. However, it still is Central America and therefore it’s going to be cheaper than the States.
Ehh, guess I can’t complain. You can easily live here for around $12-15 dollars a day. #3rdworldproblemsbrah.
Hamburger & Fries
Renting a room
$160 a month
Homestay w/ 3 meals a day
$360 a month
Tourism So, its touristy. Lots of places are. It’s expected. This is one of the best places to learn Spanish in the world. It makes sense that it has a sort of pull on anyone wanting to learn. Plus, the proximity to nearby sights makes it a prime destination. El Salvador, Honduras, Belize, Mexico. Where ya want to go bro? We got your shuttle. Lake Atilan, Tikal, Panachel. Or maybe you just want to hike a fucking volcano? Well, here ya go.
So come on down. The weather is rainy, the volcanoes are ashy and all the food has beans (frijoles)!
Thomas Foreman is an aspiring writer, photojournalist, and cheap beer taster. After school, he set off on an excursion through Peru, and then later throughout Europe. The travel bug having been securely attached, he now teaches English in the land of the Maya.