Guatemala is so diverse that there is guaranteed to be something for everyone. History buffs can visit the old Mayan cities. People who like city craziness and excitement can visit Guatemala City — Zone 10 is the touristy part. For adventure sports you can go to Lake Atitlan. I could go on and on, but the best thing is that each area is different and uniquely crazy. Traffic is heavy but moving most of the time, but rules of the road regularly get thrown out the window. All kinds of animals wander freely — like turkeys. Turkeys are all over Guatemala, the wild and domesticated kind. I am just starting to get into video, so I have distinct lack of good footage. However, here is a quick look at some of the wonderful craziness of Guatemala:
As we traveled around Guatemala by car, foot or dinghy, we never knew what we would see. We were guaranteed to see something crazy pretty much every day. Dave and I lived in Los Angeles and New York City prior to moving onto the boat, so we know heavy traffic. But heavy traffic is one thing and crazy traffic is another. In Guatemala people drive CRAZY! Renting a car is not for the faint of heart.
I think accidents are more common in the states than Guatemala, but there are so many more cars per capita as well. You still see a good share of accidents and most of them involve big trucks. Quite often there are trenches alongside the road — it does rain a lot here — and trucks wander off into the trench and flip onto their side. This is really scary considering how people ride in or on trucks large and small.
Standing is common and using their bodies to hold in a load is also the norm.
And it is not just grownups. Children ride precariously as well.
But I think this guy takes the cake. Hope that driver doesn’t hit a big pothole too fast!
School bus? Well, school pickup. Actual school buses are repurposed as ‘chicken buses.’ I think they can fit a few more in. What do you think? Crazy, right?
Speaking of chicken buses, here is one now. These retired school buses are rebuilt and pimped out to suit the owner/driver and put into service for long distance travel.
This load is not as crazy as some we have seen — like refrigerators, pigs, chickens, lumber, huge boxes, corrugated tin, families of six, etc. — but it sure does beat carrying it strapped to your head!
Just some horses wandering around and hanging out on the road. You might also see pigs, goats, ponies, donkeys, turkeys, chickens, ducks, and geese.
Roadside stands are everywhere and sell all kinds of things, but they are sorted regionally. This one is unique and looks like a snack and drink stop, but most are mono crop type. If you see one pineapple stand, I guarantee you will see at least ten more within a couple miles. Same with watermelons, grapes, coconuts, oranges, apples, rambutan… one thing you will not see is a combination of these things together.
Just your local bra salesman walking past a flammable truck. Nothing to see here.
Okay, so delivering a load of beer is not so crazy, but walking it through the city on a handcart is. Can you imagine this happening in Baltimore? Queens? Detroit? This dude would be jumped! However, cruisers are very grateful for his service.
BAM is a bank. All those people are in line for that bank. The line goes well down the street. The line may also wind through rows of chairs inside the bank. If you watched the video, you heard me talk about how patient Guatemalans are. Here is proof. Americans would be freaking out and complaining the whole time. Embarrassingly, I include myself in that statement. At least ice cream salesmen or people selling cookies and drinks walk up and down the line to help keep the people happy. They do the same thing in traffic jams, by the way. If there is road construction causing delays, you can count on at least 10 people approaching you car with something to sell. That something might be cold coconut water, electric mosquito rackets, cell phone stands or selfie sticks, soccer balls, homemade coconut bread, cut up fruit, battery operated fans…
Yep, this was in the video, this triple tow. I’ve also seen power boats towing cayucos (dugout canoes), sometimes with people in them and sometimes not. From the river you may see people bungee jumping off the bridge. I’m betting those are crazy tourists, though, not crazy Guatemalans. You might also see a fisherman throw out a piece of cheese on a hook and bring in a small fish. Then he’ll put the fish on the hook and throw it back out. Then he brings in a bigger fish. The fisherman will then cut that fish in two and catch two more fish with the halves. See? Crazy amount of patience in these people.
Personally, I think Guatemalans are just the right amount of crazy.