Guatemala City´s public and private infrastructure completely ignores pedestrians. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘Ciudad de Guatemala’
Walking the streets of Zone 4, Guatemala City, I found this taco stand and I have to admit (more…)
Despite our geographic proximity, Guatemala does not feature many authentic Mexican food restaurants. (more…)
Yesterday was Guatemala’s first Shuco eating contest.
What are shucos? Shucos are a variation of hot dogs; they are much larger and are prepared with different meats and or cold cuts.
Shuco is a Guatemalan slang word for dirty, and there is a story behind the name.
A young female who used to frequent this area of Guatemala City, where shucos are sold in every corner, was once invited to try them “hot dogs” or “panes”, she replied with disgust: I’m not eating that, they are so “shucos” dirty!
Every time she was in the area, the people who sold them shucos asked her if she wanted to try them shucos, and eventually she decided to try them and she loved them! From then on the name Shuco was used to refer to them.
It was a difficult fight! The winner ended up eating ten of these fully loaded shucos. There were 10 people on second places, they managed to eat 9 of them.
How many can you handle?
Oh, by the way, shucos for the contest came fully loaded with steamed cabbage, guacamole, mayonnaise, mustard and the sausages.
Today I went to run some errands and on my way back, staring through the metro’s window at one of the stations I see this big sign saying “Free Entrance”, and of course I had to quickly get out of the metro and check out this numismatic museum.
The museum is a bit small, you can walk the entire expo in less than 15 minutes, perfect for a quick stop. You’ll love that the expositions has the information in Spanish and English as well.
Too bad there were no photographs allowed inside. And no free samples: Damn Bastards! Oh, one of the displays is missing a 50 Quetzals bill, you know you are in Guatemala!
To get to the museum is very easy; its in front of the Banco de Guatemala stop of the metro system.
Oh, something I learnt at the museum; when the country became independent from the Spaniard Crown, we kept the existing governing structure, in fact the same personnel was running the institution. So much about independence….
Cycling is the new trend in Guatemala.
Every week there are about a dozen events for cyclists, from beginners to advance and pros. Some of these events are organized by local municipalities and some others are small private efforts.
Last night there was a fast ride for advance and pro riders, organized by Ciclovida Urbana -a small and independent bicycle store- a good 35ish miles ride going from side to side of Guatemala City.
A lot of the cycling events are design to promote bicycle riding as a safe commuting way, something much needed in this gas-vehicle saturated city of ours.
There are a few infrastructure project for bicycle riders too; bicycle path are popping out in a lot of place, in fact, there is one being built right outside my neighborhood, a good 1.5 miles one.
Yes, it is a step on the right directions to have these bicycle paths, but they are just independent patches of cycling infrastructure. The one outside my neighborhood is about 1.5 miles and it connects nowhere. There are much larger paths recently inaugurated on the affluent areas of Guatemala City with the same mistake; connecting nowhere. A lot of times I see these infrastructure plans as plain aesthetics projects.
One more thing, if you stand on the side of one of these bicycle paths, you’ll rarely see bicycle traffic, except for that sporadic rider.
And: One of the things a lot of these campaigns and events to promote the use of bicycles have failed to address is the Guatemalan middle class logic.
I’ve been to dozens of these events and a lot, and sometimes the majority of riders arrive at the event driving their gas consuming vehicles. Come on! if you drive your car to one of these event you are defying the logic of it!
But the worst thing about it is that most of the people who arrive by car live just a few miles from it. Guatemala City and the suburbs aren’t very large, you can ride from any of the suburbs to Downtown Guatemala City and it won’t take you more than an hour.
A couple of months ago I went to one of these event at night, we finish the ride around 10 pm and I rode my bike back home, a good 10 miles. On my ride back I see about a dozens vehicles pass by me with their bikes on their roof rack or trunks. And that’s the logic of the Guatemalan middle class. I honestly think they go to these events not because they really sympathize with the cause or understand its logic, no, they just want to show off or socialize.
Oh, let’s not forget that a car represent social and economic Status in the mind of a Guatemalan. Bicycles were/are the transport of the poor, the peasants and lower classes, fortunately this perception is changing.
And I would even dare to say that these events have not convince 1% of the participants to leave their car at home and ride to work one single day. I hope I’m wrong!
Teatro Don Juan is conveniently located next to Palacio Nacional on Zone 1 of Guatemala City.
They have featured the comedy El día que Teco Temió for a little while and I always wanted to go see it.
The name of the comedy is a play of words roughly translated as The Day Teco feared, or as The Day Teco Pissed on You.
I have an acquaintance who is an actor who works for a small theater in Zone 1 and he tells me things are not great for them, most of the time there are only a handful of spectators in the audience, but this time, for this comedy the theater had fulled its capacity.
I highly recommend this play, but I must tell you that it will challenge your command of this Castilian language with all its Guatemalan variables.
Most residential complexes here in Guatemala are surrounded by walls, have security gates; in my case, my neighborhood has two gated entrances where you have to surrender your state id or your driver’s licence if you are coming inside.
Security protocols are tough, and in many cases lacking common sense: not allowing someone (a friend of mine) to enter because her driver’s licence had expired, not allowing me to move some appliances without a written consent from the neighbors association, and I love this one: I have no respect for security gates, specially if I’m a resident in the neighborhood; I do a lot of cycling and never stop at the gates, a while ago they attached a tree branch to the end of gate where Eli used to sneaked by.
The inner streets are usually patrolled by private security officers, a lot of times with poor weapons training.
They are bad paid, work 48-72 uninterrupted shifts and completely lack knowledge of laws and regulations. I wouldn’t give a loaded gun to anyone under those circumstances.
Personally I hate gated communities, I find them an architectonic aberration and I tend to agree with what Jared Diamond, Author of the book Collapse, had suggested: Gated communities contribute (and have) to the collapse of civilizations. When the elites (or the middle class) isolates themselves from the rest of the country, the problems and important issues, that’s when a civilization starts to collapse.
Very simple, Guatemala has serious issues with crime, infrastructure, health, etc. When is a problem solved by isolating yourself from it?
One of the things I love about living in an older neighborhood is that there are no building codes, no regulations for businesses and this leads to the neighborhood to have more character and uniqueness. On the opposite site we have newer residential complexes were no business are allowed, and these are reserved for the wealthier families of Guatemala.
Here where I live we have more than twenty five “tiendas”, small informal convenience stores, in fact; most business are not registered and lack proper business permits, but that’s how things work here in Guatemala. We have this many tiendas for a gated community of no more than 600 houses; that’s about one tienda for every 24 or so houses.
One thing I love about living in a neighborhood like this one is that people can still opt for fresher groceries: if you want fresh eggs, you don’t go to your local tienda, you go to “La Huevera”, the woman who sells eggs, they are fresher and sometimes cheaper too. You can get fresh cheese and other dairy products here too.
Same happens when you want fresher fruits or vegetables; you can buy them at your local tienda but if you want fresher you go to a “verdureria”, a place where fruits and vegetables are sold. Here in the hood we also have a business dedicated to selling chicken and only chicken, there is a butcher shop too, you can buy chicken here as well, but for better quality and freshness, you go to your “polleria”, the place dedicated to selling chicken.
One more thing ubiquitous in older neighborhoods in Guatemala are “panaderias”, local bakeries. Guatemalas eat a lot of bread; for breakfast, late lunch or the afternoon coffee break, but Guatemalans got to have the freshest bread. At these panaderias they bake bread twice a day, no Guatemala likes to eat morning bread with their afternoon coffee. It has to be freshly made!
Oh, you can buy bread at your local tienda too, but always fresher at the panaderia.
I spent some time in Guatemala City yesterday and while I was looking for something to eat, I noticed this Garifuna name at a restaurant. Of course, I love Garifuna food. I felt in love with it when I visited the town of Livingston, on Guatemala’s Atlantic Coast. I had looked for Garifuna food here in Guatemala for a while and I was unable to find any: Too bad!
This restaurant came to rescue me! They opened for business only eight months ago. The place is very small, only four tables and a couple of bar stools. They have a decent variety of Garifuna food, to my delight, they had Tortillas de Harina -flour torillas- The name does not imply much, but they are ginormous and usually they come with a healthy spread of mayonnaise, the tortilla is usually topped with your choice of meat, lettuce salad, fried black beans, rices, some chirmol, grilled potatoes, and scallions.
This place had it perfect! and you’ll be shocked! One of these monsters costs: Q20, $2.60 U.S. Dollars.
This is the Tortilla de Harina at: La Buga, a gariguna style restaurant, close Plaza Mayor, Downtown Guatemala.