Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Morning in Guatemala City

It's always hard to find a cheap & safe hotel in the rain - it was pretty torrential yesterday as we pulled into town. Adding to the confusion, our psychological conditioning was not really up to par. We heard frightening and disorienting noises, which turned out to be airliners flying low overhead. I think yesterday was the first time in 20 days we've suffered such an assault on the senses. One gets re-acquainted with it quickly, but it's a shocker the first few times.

Then there's the functioning in a low-oxygen high-carbon-monoxide atmosphere - which amounts mostly to learning to extract the meager oxygen that survives in the eddies of incomplete combustion from the billowing black clouds of diesel exhaust that make up much of the atmosphere up to about 20 feet off the ground.

Still we forged on, double-parking in congested downtown streets and sprinting around the block whenever we spied a hotel - zone 9 was really grimy and many people had not heard much about the internet - much less so in a hotel - I think the very question seemed disorienting to the concierges, like the first time an american hears someone who looks chinese speaking English with a British accent - it just didn't quite fit.

So we made it all the way to the center of town, zone 1, where the real urbis lay. Beautiful, hardened, socialist community relations with capitalist economics, and a watering hole with tall dark swinging wooden doors inside a mall that only sold jewelry - a bastion of downtown unchanged since the 1930's, where the bourgeois working class came to make up for tolerating subservience all day - complete with pictures of naked women fighting bulls.

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