Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Some interesting things so far…

1. Globalization is much more intense than I anticipated. Today I saw a Pizza Hut, IHOP, Dukin Donuts, McDonald’s (duh), KFC, Wendy’s, and Quizno’s. And that was before we went to the rich people mall.

2. There’s a lot of pine trees. Not exactly what I was expecting from the rainforest.
I realized that most people from the U.S. have very little knowledge of Central America. (I may be known for making some snarky comments about many people not knowing the place exists.) I also knew the extent of the violence of the Guatemalan Civil War was hidden from the world and many still have no idea. I didn’t, however, know that even many Guatemalans don’t know; repression in the country was, and to some extent, still is, that extensive.

3. REALLY GOOD FOOD! And definitely a satisfactory amount of wonderful coffee.

4. I'm spending 8 hours hiking a volcano on Saturday!!

5. Guatemala was on its way to democracy and stability when the CIA overthrew the government in 1954. Their reason? The government tried to redistribute land back to the indigenous people and some of this land was owned by the US based United Fruit Company. So, they cried “communism!” and ousted the regime. 36 years of civil war ensued from this.

6. “Scorched Earth Policy” –the Guatemalan military’s strategy (trained by the best- the U.S.) to get rid of resistance. They burned every living thing in indigenous villages. Appallingly, they apparently took quite literally Eisenhower’s advice that it was easier to kill the guerilla in its mother’s womb than in the mountains. 200,000 people were believed to be killed during this time, and 45,000 Guatemalans are still unaccounted for.

7. Guatemala has no government sponsored mental health services, and therefore Guatemalans have very little, if any, access to help they need to try and recover from the trauma encountered during the war.

8. For anyone who has wondered why developing nations can’t seem to shake corruption and pull out some solid democracy, take this analogy of how the “system” works, and how our natural reaction is to fight violence with an even stronger punch. Bin Laden orchestrated 9/11, so ‘we’ invaded the entire country of Afghanistan. Where did Bin Laden learn his game? Yeah, the CIA.

9. I AM GOING TO BE DOWN HERE DURING BABY SEA TURTLE HATCHING SEASON. Hopefully I'll be able to cross a third thing off my bucket list this semester! ( thing 1: visit the rainforest; thing 2: become fluent in spanish.) 

10. I talked to quite a few people in Spanish today and understood almost all of what I heard. HOORAY!!!! Maybe there is indeed hope for my conversational skills!

Sorry if you thought you would be reading a happy-go-lucky account of a rainforest adventure, but I’ve also included some pictures so I don’t scare away readers for good. 

Los flores en el hotel en la Ciudad de Guatemala,

Broken glass on the roof to ward off intruders.

View from the top of the guesthouse in Guatemala City. Volcanoes everywhere!!!!

Downtown Guatemala City

Cathedral in Guatemala City

View from the market in Antigua.

Hotel Roof in Antigua

Our hotel!

A convent on the hill.


  1. This is so fantastic. Thank you for posting an honest first impression. US foreign policy sucks though, wow.
    I'm so excited for you :)

  2. Jen! It's so nice to be able to keep up with you! I am so proud of you and your conversational skills. ;)