Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Rudy Girón

The chicken bus barely stopped while crossing over 4a calle oriente; the main artery that becomes the exit to Guatemala City. A traffic cop was there. Furthermore, the bus pilot blasted the horns. Lastly, the bus parked in front of the Cathedral, next to the Main Plaza. Three traffic violations in less than 20 seconds. Before 60 seconds had elapsed three traffic cops were on the scene and a National police woman. Sixty seconds later six traffic cops were there, the chicken bus pilot argued that he was not from here and so he didn’t know he could not blast the horn as he does everywhere else. He claimed the same for entering the main square and not stopping at 4a calle oriente. A little over half dozen passengers came down to argue in favor of the pilot. Of course, the ambulant typical textile vendors got on the act to see if they could sell anything. In less than 3 minutes we had 8 traffic cops, 3 National police officers, a pilot and his helper, almost a dozen passengers, a few ambulant vendors and several passers-by pedestrians and a bicycle rider doing much about nothing; except, of course, for one traffic police agent writing up one traffic violation.

You gotta love Guatemala where much is done about nothing!

Much Ado About Nothing 1 by Rudy Girón Much Ado About Nothing 2 by Rudy Girón

© 2011 – 2013, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • Eric

    I’m kinda relieved that something is done about anything (or nothing, in this case).  Gets a little old living somewhere that police in cars just sit there while pedestrians are getting sideswiped by vehicular traffic.  Still, Rudy, this is a beautiful “Only in Guate” kind of moment.  Great details, and well photographed.
    Are you hanging out at Hector’s restaurante again…?

    • I am actually not hanging out at Hector’s at the moment, but I know I will in July. 😉

  • Stephanie

    Great story! It brought a smile to my face. Usually your photos stand on their own, but this one is definitely enhanced by the story.

    • I am glad you like the narrative, Stephanie. I wanted to make a fast monologue with very short direct sentences to add urgency to the caption, but I don’t think I was able to do it. At least, I was successful bringing forward a smile in your face. 🙂

  • Santiago

    In my opinion, these “chicken bus” drivers are the lowest of the low. They have no concern for the safety of their passengers. They just want to make as many trips from their home base to their final destination as possible…forget safety… forget laws, just make as much money as possible. I have been on chicken buses, several years ago, before I knew better, where the helper actually stole from my bags…where drivers were obviously drunk…made unsafe maneuvers (passing on blind curves). I have been living in Guatemala for over 15 years. I will never, NEVER, take a chicken bus under any circumstances to any destination. I caution visitors to avoid this “economical” means of transportation between villages. Also, my daughter and her female friend were sexually abused on a bus from Antigua to Guate. My maid was abused on the same bus route a couple of days later. Obviously time for “Mano Duro” in this failing country. 

  • NYChapin

    Rudy, I don’t agree with the idea that all the bystanders were doing nothing. At minimum, they were engaging in the national pastime of being ” Shutes” ! ( or concern citizens making sure that the traffic laws were being enforced)
    It seems like it was an honest mistake by the driver and was lucky to receive only one violation. I personally love the shaking of the houses when a Camioneta barrels down a cobblestone street while blowing the horn. Perhaps for some it was a welcome jolt to the sleepy routine of another beautiful day in Antigua.  

    • Of course, it was implied that just about everybody there was a shute since only the pilot and one traffic cop were actually involved in this traffic transaction. Furthermore, like a every good narrator, the photographer was the main shute there since he took a dozen photos about nothing. 😉

  • Betty Anne

    Gotta love it~

    • You know that’s how Guatemala is, right Betty?

  • Anything that slows down and/or quiets a bus publico pilot cannot be all bad.  If it had taken a bit longer, I expect the entire city would have showed up.

    Great photos and a funny story!! Thanks.

    • Yes, I agree with you Terry, a little longer and the other half of town would be there. 😉

    • Yes, I agree with you Terry, a little longer and the other half of town would be there. 😉

  • Erick!

    I enjoyed this story as well and agree with NYChapin, as typical Guatemalans (I throw myself in there), somos bien shutes.  Growing up in  Guate, I saw plenty of heated arguments that took place in the street among individuals that actually had nothing to do with the initial incident, but felt compelled to add their 2 cents.

    • Erick, that’s so funny about the heated arguments between people who were not actually involved in the initial incident. I lough because that’s how it is in Guate. 

  • Cristina

    And what are we all, commenting on this blog, if not a bunch of shutes??? 😉

    • Yes, yes we are indeed Cristina.