Friday, December 10, 2010

Arriving in Guatemala City

Guatemala City was not what I expected. I was struck by how many signs and places I saw advertising brands and restaurants that we see everyday in the US. I was hoping to see more of a blatant cultural difference, but that was not the case. American consumerism has definitely spread its roots throughout the entire world.

This place on the left is Hiper Paiz, the Central American Wal-Mart. Walking in there was no different than walking into Wal-Mart in Manhattan, KS. Many items are different, but everything else, including the prices, are the same. For a country with such incredibly high unemployment rates and poverty levels, I was astonished at the prices. How can the public buy what they need when costs are so high? Unfortunately, I soon found my answer when we witnessed horrifying poverty firsthand: they don't.

McDonald's delivery vehicles. I'm rather surprised this hasn't caught on in the States yet. It's pretty ingenious. I didn't take pictures of all the American restaurants, I was in Guatemala to see a new country, not fast food joints from home! I also did not eat at any American places, if I had a choice. Our first night with our host Tanya, she took us out to eat. The place she chose was what she thought would be the closest to American food, which my roommate and I did NOT want. We quickly told her we were in Guatemala, and we wanted to eat and do as the Guatemalans did. Well, except eating the black beans.

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