Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.
I’m back from two weeks in Guatemala. Got to tell you, I’m suffering acutely from culture shock—the very idea of a deadline seems foreign, my fingers have forgotten where the letters are on the keyboard, my thoughts are … undirected. I’m feeling like a stranger in a strange land.
It would be impossible to give any kind of real picture of the country, but I’ll give you a few impressions. If you want a really broad image, think about what you’ve seen on the Discovery channel—Maya ruins, monkeys in the jungle, brightly dressed people in unique clothes, ancient cities, mosquitoes.
Guatemala is an enigma to me. It’s hard to wrap my brain around the utter poverty of the people in comparison to the richness of the environment. Lake Atitlan, for example, has a lot of visual similarities to Lake Tahoe, but the shores are ringed with Indian villages rather than multi-million-dollar mansions. The mansions are there, too, removed by a mile or two of shoreline, and you can see armed guards patrolling the properties. In the United States, we rich people like to put some space between ourselves and poor people. With a huge majority of Guatemala’s people just scraping by, there’s no hiding from the poverty.
I can’t understand how people who live in shacks stay so pleasant. I didn’t see any obvious drug or alcohol problems, although I was told there are a lot of troubles among the natives with alcohol. Even with my poor Spanish skills, the people were a blast—cordial, generally competent, funny. They do work at their own speed, though. One of my favorite traditions is in the restaurants. They don’t bring you the check until you ask for it. Nobody tries to rush you out to refill a table.
Glibly, it’s a third world country with old world charm. Spending time there put some perspective on things here, but being back put some perspective on my time there.
Anyway, it looks to me as though Deidre and team did an outstanding job getting the paper out. Thanks to all.