Getting to know Guatemala
It's been a few days now, since we've arrived in Guatemala, and I'm starting to get a better understanding of this place. The city at first glance appears improbably unorganized. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the layout of anything, save the nicer neighborhoods.
I have learned that ever since the last big earthquake they had here, in the 70's, people have been moving into the cities. Since the vast majority have very little or no money they find random pieces of land that look like nobody would want, and build little settlements on them. Eventually when enough people have populated an area the city will build roads and plumbing to them. The result is that the city is now surrounded by tiny houses built all over steep mountain sides, next to cliffs, and on top of narrow ridges.
It is strange to see the mix of culture in this place. It's not uncommon to see shacks made of corrugated metal sheeting where people live without running water less than a block from a McDonald's or Pizza Hut. In the more developed areas, ads and billboards are everywhere, much more so than in the US. I suspect there are few regulations limiting the placement of them, so they end up all over the place.
Not speaking Spanish is definitely frustrating. I remember a tiny bit from high school and I've been trying to pick things up here and there but it's not like I can have a conversation with anyone. After 2 months in Spanish speaking countries, it will be very exciting to travel someplace that speaks English. For now, I will just have to learn as much as I can.