The safest way to cross the street in Guatemala? Definitely walking next to a car that crosses the intersection in the same direction as you do. Like that you can be certain that all other cars at the crossing will stop for sure. Traffic lights are a rare sight in Guatemala, and if there is one, it is only for cars. Well, actually that is enough. If the cars get green in one direction, this same direction will obviously be safe to pass for pedestrians, too. Guatemala has crosswalks, though. But they are more to decorate the street than anything else. So do not think any car will stop, just because you are waiting at a crosswalk.
However, I have still all my legs and my arms and I am still alive. Said that, there has to be something secure about Guatemalan traffic rules. Maybe we are just over concerned in Europe. Nevertheless, also in Guatemala are some basic traffic rules to follow: The bigger, the more important, which means more rights and priority (car or bus). The smaller, the less important, which means ‚watch out‘ (pedestrian or street dog).
|Xela ‚El Parque‘|
One means of transportation I really like in Guatemala are the public buses. On wet roads they do spin out of control sometimes. And I always knew that windshield wipers are totally superfluous when it rains (I also never use them, as on my car they are broken anyways). Also bus-seats are quite slippery, so it is normal to slide from the right to the left and to the right again. So, the best seats in the two-seater are either at the window or in the middle. On the one hand, you can sit down with your whole ass, on the other hand, you do not slide that much. The worst seat is at the aisle seat. First, you can only sit on one ass cheek and second, you can image what happens when you slide a little bit to the right respectively to the left. Yes, you just fall of the seat.
Basically, going by public bus means a lot of muscle work – in the arms, in the ass and in the legs – in order to stay/sit steady. But sometimes you may be lucky and board a bus with TV. Yes, they do screen movies on chicken buses. Even though it does not make any sense. Nobody can actually see the screen, as the buses are that crowded. So it is more a kind of an audio drama than an actual movie screening.
Said that much, being in a bus in Guatemala feels like being on a roller-coaster. Another Guatemalan specialty I came across at a gas station is this one: They just shake the whole bus in order to distribute the gasoline equally, so that more gasoline fits into the tank. It is a rather strange feeling to get shaken up in a bus, but it is worth remembering when being at a gas station back home.