Little gray boxes on the hillside, Little gray boxes made of ticky-tacky

Little gray boxes under the Volcano

Blame it on Carmen… Yes, it was Carmen who turned me onto this catchy song which is used as the soundtrack intro to Weeds. Then, thanks to Youtube I found a Spanish version of Little Boxes by Victor Jara which goes by the name of Las Casitas del Barrio Alto; boy! what a magnificent version that is.

Anyhow, what’s got Little boxes to do with today’s entry. Well, once you listen to Little boxes or Las Casitas del Barrio Alto, you’d know it is impossible to get them out of your head. In a recent trip to México over the weekend we took the new road Carretera 14 to reach the highway that takes us to Southeast México. Carretera 14 is part of the road which will circumvent La Antigua Guatemala and some of the villages. In other words, Carretera 14 is the backbone for what will be the periférico around La Antigua Guatemala. Carretera 14 is also one the most beautiful stretches of road in Guatemala. From Carretera 14 you also get this outstanding view of the little gray boxes of Ciudad Vieja.

How can 3 kilometers (2 miles) make such a difference between a gorgeously and enchanting city like La Antigua Guatemala, full of color, and the ugly square gray boxes of Ciudad Vieja?

I am sure Malvina Reynolds would have not been inspired to write Little boxes on the hillside, Little boxes made of ticky-tacky, Little boxes, little boxes, Little boxes, all the same. There’s a green one and a pink one And a blue one and a yellow one. And they’re all made out of ticky-tacky… (the whole lyrics).

© 2008 – 2016, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • ohh my God! This is wonderful.

  • Rebecca Blankenbicker

    I remember when this song came out. It was a great commentary on the huge suburban housing developments outside of the major cities. Every house looked exactly the same except for color, reversed floorplans or where windows were placed!! Plus, they were built on small lots making them very, very close to one another—-lined up in a row.

    Many unimaginative builders still do the same thing today in some areas, especially where zoning and town planning is poor or non-existent.

  • The volcano is wonderful ringed by clouds. This is why I visit your site! 🙂

  • I guess it gives a new meaning to “block”…
    Have you mentioned that Ciudad Vieja was the capital of Guatemala before LAG? I guess there is something here to say about the difference between vieja and antigua. I am going to sharpen my vulgar side (reader discretion is advised), but I’ll have to do it in Spanish: No es lo mismo una antigua huella que una vieja pisada So there it goes… the best example I have of the difference between antigua and vieja

  • Javier

    Reminds me of “Casas de Carton”. Great picture, once again…

  • antonio palomo

    its dificult to explain, but for many of the builders of hauses of concrete blocks, it is a matter of pride to make the transition from traditional materials and ways to build, to the solid, expencive and ugly, grey concrete boxes.

  • The song Little Boxes is always relevant. I like the song, I like the show Weeds, and I like how the song can be applied to a lot of places anywhere in the world. I am glad I got the song into your head. 🙂 And, you know, you’re welcome. 😉

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