How inexpensive food can be Downtown Guatemala City? (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘street’
Located at the intersection of Boulevard Liberación and the 6th Av. Zone 9, (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.
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!
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?
In 1995, The Marimba was declared Guatemala’s National Instrument and Feb 20th its commemorative day.
Here are some photograph of the outdoor concert at Plaza Mayor, Downtown Guatemala City to commemorate Marimba Day.
Want to see how to dance Marimba? Check out this handsome couple:
Ladies, I think those umbrellas are not going to cover much, in fact, I don’t think anything you are wearing is going to cover much.
Edecánes, or Models, are the most common way of promoting a brand or an event here in Guatemala. The more provocative the better.
I got an interesting story about it. Guatemalan Government has an official State Radio station, supposed to promote Culture.
Last year I went to a bicycle event; Vuelta al Mundo Maya, and of course, the chosen way of the State Radio Station to promote “culture” at this event was a tall, blonde female edecán.
Oh, by the way, the word edecán is being misused here in Guatemala, the Castillian definition of the word is not close to the usage given here.
Here are some photographs of the Critical Mass ride, Guatemala.
Critical Mass, Guatemala started 8 years ago, an event to promote the use of bicycles as primary commuting method.
There is still much to do, specially breaking the cultural barriers. Here in Guatemala if you ride a bicycle to work; you are poor. If you do well, you have to drive to work or the corner store 300 feet away.
Streets are not as bad as one might think. As I say, most of the factors that make people prefer motor vehicles instead of bicycles are cultural.
I’m glad there are events like this and loyal followers.
Here is a gallery of a October 20th march, commemorating The revolution of 1944. The revolution of 1944 overthrew and bloody dictator and embarked us on a brief democratic period and deep political reforms, until a CIA backed coup d’état overthrew the elected president of Guatemala, which put in place another dictator. For a brief history, checkout AntiguaDailyPhoto.com and an interesting post on the 1944 revolution.