Guns 'N Guatemala

Trip Start Jan 31, 1996
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Guatemala  ,
Friday, February 14, 2003

It seems that if you have a business in Guatemala with any value to it at all you´ll need people with guns to guard it for you. Banks of course, are businesses that have value. Some banks have as many as five guards. Some guards carry big shotguns. Some guards carry small shotguns. Some guards carry machine guns. The other day it took me over 40 minutes to cash $100.00 worth of traveller´s cheques. I was the only customer in the bank. Just me, ten or so bank officials and a grizzled old guard, with one of the big shotguns. When it came time to actually take delivery of my $100.00 worth of Guatemalan money, the guard gave me a real nasty look.

I held my ground, looked him straight in the eye and said ¨buenas tardes amigo¨.

He smiled and returned the gesture in kind. With my head held high I bravely walked right out of that bank - then rushed home for an urgently needed change of underwear.
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