Theme Day: Who’s watching the car watchers

Watching the cars

Many of the streets of La Antigua Guatemala are owned now by people who ask and demand to take care of your vehicle while parked. They ask in return for a small tip. So far so good. If you tell them you don’t need to have your car looked after, some of them will scratch it or somehow damage it. Sometimes they demand a high fee for having your automobile parked on their street. Some people say these people actually work in tandem with the thieves as look-overs; I can not say that is true, but I can not deny it either. This is one thing that really annoys me about La Antigua Guatemala. The streets are public and we pay taxes to have them clean and available for walking, driving or for parking.

52 Daily Photo sites are participating in the February 1st theme: “What really annoys me about my city”, please use the links to below to visit them.

Due to time zone differences and other factors, the theme photo may not be displayed until later if you are viewing early in the day.

1 (Porto (Portugal) ) 2 (Stayton, OR (USA) ) 3 (Albuquerque, NM (USA) ) 4 (Tenerife (Spain) ) 5 (Greenville, SC (USA) ) 6 (Dubai (U.A.E.) ) 7 (Evry (France) ) -8 (Jakarta (Indonesia) ) –9 (London (UK) ) 10 (Sequim, WA (USA) ) 11 (Buenos Aires, (Argentina) ) 12 (Seattle, WA (USA) ) 13 (Minneapolis, MN (USA) ) 14 (Stavanger (Norway) ) 15 (Joplin , MO (USA) ) 16 (Nelson, New Zealand ) 17 (Milano, Italy ) 18 (Singapore (KeropokMan) ) 19 (La Antigua Guatemala (Guatemala) ) 20 (Nottingham UK ) -21 (Singapore by Zannnie (Singapore) ) -22 (Budapest (Hungary) ) –23 (Not Strictly Seattle, ) 24 (Bandung (Indonesia) ) 25 (Vantaa (Finland) ) 26 (Hyde (UK) ) 27 (Madrid by Dsole (Spain) ) 28 (Oulu (Finland) ) 29 (Saarbr?cken (Germany) ) 30 (St. Paul [Carol] ) 31 (Sydney (Australia) ) 32 (Tokyo (Japan) ) 33 (Kyoto (Japan) ) 34 (Trujillo (Peru) ) 35 (Shanghai (China) ) 36 (Rotterdam (NL) ) 37 (Chicago, IL (USA) ) 38 (Nice, (France) ) 39 (Naples, Florida (USA) ) 40 (Hong Kong ) 41 (Santa Clara, CA (USA) ) 42 (Quito, Ecuador (South America) ) 43 (Cottage Grove, MN (USA) ) 44 (Paris, (France) ) 45 (Manila (Philippines) ) 46 (Brussels (Belgium) ) 47 (Auckland (New Zealand) ) 48 (Newcastle upon Tyne(England) ) 49 (Houston, TX (USA) ) 50 (Sydney by Nathalie (Australia) ) 51 (Mumbai (India) ) 52 (Anderson, SC (USA))

© 2007 – 2017, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • Ham

    Great shot – I hope you used a long lens!!!

  • Not a pleasant feeling when you are made to pay for what should be free. Feels close to a Mafia situation where you have to pay to be ‘protected’!

  • Thank you to the car watchers at the hospital in Santa Cruz, I lost my Pentax camera a few years ago, even after paying for their Mafia protection, so I would definitely say that your suspicions are true Rudy.

  • I experienced this when I was in Colombia. I didn’t have a car, so I never noticed “the watchers” until I rode with a friend. We parked and she calmly handed coins out the window to the man hovering by her door. He had a rag to wipe her windshield. When we returned an hour or two later, he was still there, telling us how he took care of her car. (For two women alone, it was unsettling to say the least.)

    I’m sorry you have to deal with that — hope your car stays safe. On the bright side…maybe it gives you a place to use your coins. 🙂

    (I have to mention, as Rudy is no doubt more aware than me, that desperate situations cause this to occur — doesn’t make it any easier though for folks to manage life on a daily basis.)

  • Wow! Not only is your choice for Theme Day annoying, it’s downright illegal! This activity certainly wouldn’t last long in Minneapolis-the police would put a stop to it. Any chance this problem will be resolved in your city?

  • sounds like forced extortion. sigh…

  • Ah, that’s terrible! Didn’t they chase you after taking their pic? just kidding 🙂 Hope your government can do something about it.

  • Sounds like quite a racket, forced valet or some such.

  • ben

    This is not good at all! I hope you are safe after this post.
    Well, thank you for sharing this story,

  • Kim

    You are a brave man. . .hope they didn’t notice you (or your car!). It’s an old, old game and sad to see it played out so commonly in your city. The folks who do it must know there is little chance of law enforcement making trouble for them. Keep safe.

  • I actually took this photo a few weeks ago and I did not use long lens since I was pretty much next to them. To be fair, the people here and most of them pretty much just make their living watching your car and doing car-washing on the street. Most of them are not criminals or anything like that. However, at other times I have been asked a set fee to watch the car, kind like a parking lot fee, except that is on the public streets.

    I use today’s photo, mostly, to show my disgust with the fees and charges that you’re made to pay for something that should be free or that you already paid through your taxes. BTW, “Boleto de Ornato” is the name of the tax that is paid in Guatemala for keeping the cities clean and beautiful. If you don’t pay it, you are not allow to do anything legal/government procedures, like pay your registration fees for your vehicle or request a new passport, et-cetera. Sometimes I wonder where the money collected through the Boleto de Ornato goes.

  • Oh that happens here too in some districts… we call them “gorrillas”

  • Sally

    Poor societies see people invent all sorts of schemes to survive. In my country it would be seen as a “standover tactic” and be illegal – but then where do you draw the line with those annoying bloody “widscreen wipers” who try to extort money by “washign” your windscreen when stopped at traffic lights – we have plenty of them!

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  • It sounds a little scary to me! But I guess most are just trying to take care of their families!

  • Oya

    Same thing here in Istanbul. Some of them even claim that you have to pay a parking fee. If you not, you are in trouble. And in some places, even if you pay, you might and up with a flat tire and some time later, a young person shows up and offeres you some help.Not to mention that you have to pay him…again, again and again…

  • really a very beautiful photograph

  • Meg

    These guys sound a bit nasty, Rudy.

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