What to expect when you touch down in a Central American country? A whole lot of greenery. Rickshaws & Tuk Tuk. Beauitful scenes from 360 degrees around. Kids running the streets with the freedom to make mistakes that they can learn from. And most importantly, an extreme abundance of love and respect as human beings.
This being my first trip, I had no idea what to expect. Prior to me planning my journey, I had heard rumblings of how dangerous Guatemala is for tourists and though, I try my hardest to separate myself from that perception, I guess I still fall under that description from a local's viewpoint. What I ended up experiencing was far far from that. What I did see, was far beyond what I could have ever expected. What I did see, was Guatemala, in it's most pure form, experiencing the country as a fly on the wall. Though Guatemala city appears to be a normal capital city, like any other, it does have it's differences; differences that aren't all that unique but coming from only seeing American cities, you might be surprised.
The guns in the street, for example. To us Americans, seeing the local police & distribution carriers openly carrying shotguns is strange. I mean, why would that level of weaponry be needed in a "safe" city? The answer is obvious as you drive around the city. Just like anywhere else, poor people remain poor. The undervalued citizens of every country have the same right to survival as any of us, the problem lies, when opportunities come few and far in between. One of Guatemala's largest exports are their fruits and vegetables, due to their rich soil and beautiful weather all-year-round. And like many countries, the largest exports tend to have a large street value as well. So companies are left protecting their investments the only way they know how, with guns. Guns often scare off most of the desperate but for the ones that aren't scared, they serve as good enough protection. The key to safety in other countries is understanding that as Americans, we are afforded certain privileges. Moving with that understanding and a respect for our fellow humans, is an amazing start to an enjoyable trip, if nothing else.