In an effort to begin the New Year with GK Chesterton’s advice “An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered” I highly enjoyed my two days in luxury hotels in Washington DC. This “inconvenience” of spacious hotel rooms, beds I hope to be able to be able to afford in two or three years, and breakfasts fit for queens occurred because of canceled flights to Logan Airport due to a blizzard on my return trip from Guatemala.
The disparity between Guatemala (occasionally categorized as the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere) and the United States (usually categorized as the least poorest country in the Western Hemisphere) as my departure and arrival destinations seemed even greater because of my “shoestring” hospedaje travel in Guatemala and the providence of a “discounted” hotel opportunity given by United Airlines. This Chesterton attitude, in addition to the juvenile embarrassment most reflective, intelligent, young Americans subject themselves to by standing on their blogboxes and declaiming the problems of the American Society post-eye-opening travel experience, has told me this post should not be about social changes I think Guatemala/ the US could implement.
Instead, let’s talk about food.
This is the most accurate picture of a Guatemalan breakfast I can find.
This is an accurate picture of a Guatemalan dinner.
You will note, that the two of them are extremely similar. I could do a similar picture display for lunch and dinner. Many of the times I ate in Guatemala two of my meals of the day were exactly the same. This held true within the enclaves of a host-family, an eco-resort, and revisiting several comedors.
Another surprise was the convenience of purchasing “streetfood.” Here, I don’t refer to the food stalls surrounding the central parque where men and women cook bistec, tortillas, arroz, longaniza, or other items, but the vendors with their carts arrayed with streamers of bags of chips, pyramids of Fanta, and neat boxes of Chicle gum. Weaving about them are youth hocking lollipops, gold-toothed men selling cashews or peanuts, and huipl-clad women with baskets of fresh cut papaya, pineapple, banana, and melons parceled into plastic bags. As seems customary among the demure Guatemalans, they feel no need to catch your attention with more than a nod and a gesture to their product. There is no sales pitch, merely accommodation to your purchase, “Necesita azucar o miel con las frutas?”
Finally, although it was a surprise to consume such regularity of food each day, there was delight at the variation on each plate. Note that breakfast comes with beans, and eggs, and sauce, and cheese, and plantains, and (I’m sure though un-photographed) corn tortillas. Lunches often contained soup, and rice, and salad, and chicken, and salsa, and tortillas, and a beverage. This modestly-portioned buffet of foods on each plate is going to find it’s way into my own meal presentation in the very near future.