Trip Start Mar 11, 2011
217Trip End Ongoing
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For a change, we could all get some sleep. All that is, except for Manuela who sat upfront with the driver before lunch. Juan gave clear instructions: The co-driver must stay awake! Well-rested and well-fed after lunch, Dee swapped seats with Manuela. This was to be a mutually beneficial exchange - Manuela could nap and Dee could practise Spanish with Juan.
Immediately after the formalities of introductions, Juan launched straight into: "Eres casada?" (Are you married?)
For the rest of the journey the conversation was somewhat strained, partially due to my lack of Spanish but largely due to this first impression and my resulting lack of motivation. But at least I could get some pics along the way! Juan kept himself amused with constant phone calls to his women and hooting at every female-looking person along the way.
Men in Latin America are reputed to display an above-average machismo, at least that's according to the Hollywood stereotype. According to Wikipedia (if you disagree, you edit it later ;) machismo is: "a word of Spanish and Portuguese origin that describes prominently exhibited or excessive masculinity. As an attitude, machismo ranges from a personal sense of virility to a more extreme male chauvinism."
In my experience in Guatemala they have mostly been shy and respectful
It's going to be an interesting case study to observe the differences in machismo throughout the Latin American countries. Everyone's experiences are different and so will be their consequent perceptions. It's rather amusing to say the least. There is an associated theory that I'm curious about: Latino men over-emphasise the masculinity they display to hide their tendency to be emotional. We've all heard of the passionate Latinos. Or is that yet another Hollywood stereotype? Watch this space!
BTW We loved Isla de Flores! It's a cool, laidback, small town across a bridge with lots of textile shops, good food and home to many upper income Guatemalans. A tell-tale sign is the shopping mall that sells big screen TVs and name-branded clothing
The Gringo Path is clear and well-defined in Guatemala. That might explain why we were pleasantly reunited with four fellow travellers from various towns gone by, most notably Adi and Daniel from Israel! Apparently this happens a lot in Central America because it's a narrow strip running north to south, and it's hard to get off the beaten track without your own transport. An option only for the hardcore! i.e. not us!