August 2, 2009

Guatemalan Experience: Driving in Guatemala

Everybody has heard, read and live the experience of traveling on a chicken bus. But who has ever tried to drive in Guatemala? Being in Guatemala for almost 3 years, I have finally decided last May to buy a car. Guatemalan will tell you: “be careful, you’re white and you are a girl so people will try to sell it for more expensive”. Well I got lucky, the brother of a friend was selling his Isuzu Trooper. It was perfect, I needed a 4x4 wheel car because what is the use to have a city car in Guatemala?

So here I was, with an old car ready to hit the road!! I saw how Guatemalans were driving but living it on live is something else! I’m still learning…here are some basic rules!

First rule on the road: there are NO rules! Means you can do whatever you want to go faster. Overtaking with no visibility, overtaking on the right, forcing the other car to stop to make your way, and so on… the first time you hesitate to overtake in a curve but you quickly understand that if you don’t do it, it might take you a lonnnggg time to go home. You’re going to feel your adrenalin go high I promise.

Second rule: drive the fastest and craziest you can! Roads in Guatemala are well as you can guess not really well maintained. There are holes in middle, dust. And Guatemala is a country with mountains so roads are sinuous. So you rarely use the 5th gear. And when you do, wouuaa you’re feeling that you’re going fasssttt!!! Com’ on baby you can do it!

Third rule: use your horn as much as you can. First I was too shy to use it but now I understand the reason Guatemalan use it all the time. Get out of my way! Or I’m here so please watch out! Or Fucker! You’re no allowed to overtake me! So people don’t seem to see the other car on the road, so that’s good to let them know that you’re here.

Fourth rule: when there is a block on the road for maintenance work, don’t queue. Do like the chicken buses or other cars, using the other line to get as close as the beginning of the line.

Now you’re ready to enjoy your drive and the unforgettable experience!

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