The Tiny Story of Discrimination, Arrogance and Patronizing in La Antigua Guatemala

Just doing my job, you know!

ACT 1:
So there I was, consumed by own thoughts, after having had a few moments at the Benches at the Museo del Libro Antiguo pondering the big tough questions in life, walking back to the office and I glanced over to my right and saw the wonderful light bathing the La Antigua Guatemala Cathedral (oh, life is beautiful and full of these tiny moments, I said to myself). A few more steps and I immediately saw a photo opportunity as there was a Guatemalan military chicken bus parked right in front of the Cathedral. See exhibit 1 below (first photo from the left).

ACT 2:
I look up to the sky to get an indication of the type and quality of the light; then, I turned on the camera and set it accordingly. I approached the military chicken bus and started shooting a few shots near the soldiers until I made them relax and I became invisible. I exchanged a few words with the soldier driver (main photo above) to ease them and continue shooting to get a better and more interesting photo. Then, I heard the indigenous women offering their handicrafts to the tourists that were boarding the Guatemalan military chicken bus. Nothing special so far since as I often hear the ambulant indigenous women offer their wares to the tourists. But then, I heard a high-pitch voice, screaming and yelling at these women to get the out-of-here and to leave them alone. This voice got on my nerves very fast because on the rude tone; I turned to see who was yelling, “que se larguen digo, vayanse, dejar en paz” and I saw a Hispanic woman who managed to speak a few more words in Spanish than her peers. I said nothing and continue photographing the scene around the bus, looking for an stimulating angle. See exhibit 2 below (second photo from the left).

ACT 3:
Next I hear another voice yelling something in broken Spanish, “no fotos, no puede, no fotos bus”. Obviously, this second voice was addressing me, so I came around from where I was and asked why not? Again, the girl’s voice said, “no fotos, no puede, no fotos bus, no puede”. By this moment I was already offended by how these two ladies were treating the indigenous women so I said in my best English possible: Do you mean I can not take photos of a Guatemalan military bus, parked on a public street, in front of the a public park? A Guatemalan military bus which is paid by my taxes and that you are using to tour La Antigua Guatemala? At this moment, the woman slapped the window shot and looked elsewhere. See exhibit 3 below (third photo from the left)

To be fair, I have no idea what were these people doing and why were they driven around in a Guatemalan military bus.

Living in La Antigua Guatemala, I know, you must learn to be very tolerant with tourists, but where do you draw the line and speak up? I wish I knew. 🙁

Military Chicken Bus in Front of Antigua's CathedralI really know who I am!Don't take pictures of the bus!

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