Friday, August 31, 2007

How To Survive A Guatemalan Bus Station

Well I am not going to explain Germans or pineapple pie in this entry. I am back in Xela (freezing my butt off). It's amazing that you can go from hot beaches to cold mountains in just a couple of hundred kilometers. I leave to climb the highest point in Central America tomorrow (Volcan Tajumulco at 4220 meters it is just a little shorter than Mt. Rainier). I am not expecting good weather, so the weekend might not be much fun, but I really want to climb this peak and am glad that I passed on El Salvador.

What I really wanted to do with this post was describe how I have been survivng some of the crazier bus stations in Guatemala. This way if anyone is planning on coming here in the near future they will have a survival manuel.

1. Arm yourself to the teeth! Shotguns and machetes are readily available, and I recommend one of each. Also slightly more difficult to find (as in it will take you ten minutes) are 9mm handguns, these are also recommended, but remember that a 9mm does not have a lot of knock down power and some of these women selling bread have been known to take several rounds before going down.

2. Make an example out of someone as soon as you get to the station. This will establish your dominance and after this you should be able to walk around freely. The first couple of times I tried this technique I picked the biggest, toughest looking bastard I could find and made sure plenty of people were watching. Usually using the butt of your shotgun and coldcocking him will bring even the toughest man to his knees. This technique was somewhat effective, but the women with bread and fruit did not seem deterred. I quickly realized that if you target the oldest lady you can see, and drop her with a swift elbow to the stomach everyone will back off. Here is why. If you are willing to hit a helpless old lady selling fruit, they figure there is no telling what you are capable of. You will find that everyone becomes much less obsessed with slamming you around and shoving fruit in your face.

3. Remember to smile and thank everyone for their help!

OK I was killing sometime, and just having fun. I do not endorse violence of any kind, and certainly do not support targeting old women selling fruit. However, if anyone would like a shotgun or machete, they are seriously everywhere! I am going to count the number I run across on any given day and will report back. My estimate is that I see at least 20 shotguns a day.

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