I came to Guatemala City for the weekend on my way to Honduras. I heard there wasn’t much to do or see, and that it is very dangerous. It’s all relative, I suppose, but I had a good time here.
And how could I not have a good time? Look at the first cafe I found here! Cafe Leon. Leon is my favorite city in Mexico. And the three pictures seen at the entrance are Gandhi, a hero, Nelson Mandela, a hero, and John Lennon, singer of my favorite song Imagine.
Mercado Sur Dos is the central market for food, household goods, and there is a sizable clothes market as well. Below are a few pictures.
Interestingly, you can find raw loofa here. I heard it is a byproduct of a vegetable that is grown here, but I’m not sure. And as I’ve mentioned before, I love street food and for breakfast I had a cup of fruit and some freshly grilled tamales.
6th Avenue is a pedestrian street that links Plaza Municipal/Mercado Sur Dos with Central Park. It’s a great walk and there are many interesting things to see along the way. There are a lot of churches, museums, and stores worth checking out. Unfortunately, due to the omnipresent security problem, you’ll find security guards at most stores holding pistols or gigantic guns.
In Guatemala there are many “Ropa Americana” (American Clothes) stores. They are donated from the US and it offers Guatemalans the opportunity to buy clothes at a reduced price.
The store I went to was pretty big. I think it’s a chain here. It’s called Megapaca. I browsed through some clothes and all were in like-new condition. No rips or fading. Shirts were around $1-$2 and jeans $4-$6.
I’m a huge fan of sustainability, so on the whole this is great to see. But I wish it were cost competitive for Guatemalans to produce their own clothes. That is, obviously, far more sustainable in the long run.
As in Xela and Antigua, Central Park in Guatemala City is the main square. The National Palace, cathedral, and national library are all located here. Families come to walk and enjoy the street performances, street food, and ambiance. It is like a mini-Zocalo (Mexico City), but Zocalo didn’t have street performers or street food.
You can find the normal street food in Central Park, but there are also Granizadas stands. They make a Guatemalan version of a snow cone. But there are tons of syrups and toppings available. So give one a try when you are here.
In Mexico City I missed my chance to try a torta of cow tongue. So when I was presented with the opportunity to have a cow tongue taco, I jumped at the chance.
While she was cooking my taco, I went to the bathroom to wash my hands. When I came back she asked if I wanted to see the tongue. I said sure, thinking it would be the pieces of meat being cooked. No. It was a full tongue as you can see below.
Not daunted by this semi-disgusting visual, I ate the taco without any timidity. And to be honest, I haven’t liked the meat here in Guatemala in general. This was the most tender meat I have had so far in Guatemala, and I liked it.
When I was a little kid I was extremely picky about what I ate. I am still picky in the sense that I do my best to eat healthy. But I’ve changed my attitude and I am open to trying anything I encounter on the road. I look forward to challenging myself to try other strange-for-me dishes going forward.