I once had a woman rest a basket of tortillas on my head whilst watching a man in a pinstripe suit grate a carrot. With the acrid smell of ready-to-fail break pads in the air and this smash hit playing (loudly) on the tricked out sound system, I briefly considered the direction my life was heading, and then I thought ‘fuck it’ why not just write about it.
I was on a bus. Not any type of bus. A chicken bus.
Flying along the Pan American highway to a city called Quetzaltenango in the Western Highlands of Guatemala, the thought occurred to me that this particular form of public transportation might make for a good window through which to look at all aspects of Guatemalan society, culture and history. After all, where else would I find a city spiv pitching the latest in carrot grating technology to a busload of machete wielding farmers, indigenous Mayan women and myself, among others, with a basket of tortillas on my head.
At the time of writing, I have been in Central America for near on three months and haven’t written a word of what I’ve seen, heard or done. Throughout the duration of this particular bus journey, I figured that a lot of what I had experienced in Guatemala could, in a similar but smaller way, be experienced on a chicken bus ride.
Therefore, using the famous chicken bus as a starting point, (can I call it an allegory? or is that something else) I plan on looking and writing about all things Guatemala, be it the beautiful volcanic landscape, colonial towns, a national obsession with subpar football, its relationship with the USA, religion, globalization, music, Mayan culture, mining, the civil war, crime, alcoholism, the occult, colonialism, that one guy who was wearing a Monty Python ´I fart in your general direction´ t-shirt and a pink snapback that said ´SWAG´, and…well, you get the point, anything really.
Before we start I must warn you, I am by no means an authority on any of these subjects, let alone an authority on anything at all. But I have a Claro internet modem and a computer and keyboard, and that alone is enough to feed a mass of badly researched and even worsely written misinformation to further clog up the internet with yet another hastily thought through blog.
So strap in…no…wait. There aren’t any seatbelts on chicken buses. Never mind, I´ll explain as we go along.
Hold on tight and enjoy the ride.
Of course I can’t guarantee you will…because this is a chicken bus ride (read: this is my first attempt at writing a blog, and rarely do I come up with interesting and useful insights or especially funny anecdotes)