The first picture I took of Antigua
We were picked up at the airport by a friendly driver named Jose. There was traffic in Guatemala City so we spent about half an hour in stop & go traffic amidst other cars. The small of gas blanketed the air and the heat seemed to intensify the smell. The crowded streets of GC reminded me a lot of Mexico-the cheesy billboards, brightly colored homes, and loud cars.

Yet the poverty here is so much more apparent than it ever was in Mexico. There it seemed that much of the poverty was rural or at least hidden from the areas that I frequented. Here, there is a great deal of poverty within the cities. So many of the houses were dilapidated and had corrugated roofs and concrete walls. I saw several men with wheelbarrows carrying heavy loads alongside the highway. There were several trucks-turned-buses that carried people in the bed. In one truck, the back was sunken down close to the road from the 15-20 people that were standing in the bed. There definitely seems to be less of a middle class here as well-although there are some houses that look like they belong to the upper-middle or upper class; there was one home that we passed with an armed guard.

Lamarr and I spent some time exploring Antigua after arriving. The city is definitely from the colonial era-the warm pastels and architecture are definitely a welcome change to the modern capital of GC. Sitting in el centro was interesting. There were the typical vendors selling bracelets and offering shoe shines, yet it was a bit more unsettling because many of these vendors were children-as young as five. Five. It is one of those instances that is more than unsettling but that you don't want to think about too much since there isn't anything you can do about it.
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    This blog contains excerpts from my journal that I kept while in Guatemala. It details some of my memorable experiences from the summer and tries to illustrate some of the culture shock that I experienced, along with detailing the Guatemalan culture from an outsider's perspective.


    December 2009
    July 2009
    June 2009


    Culture Shock
    Structural Violence

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