After three and a half months of traveling through Central America I’ve seen and experienced a lot. I’ve immersed myself in different foods, cultures, and langauge. I’ve seen the similarities between countries and the extreme differences. I’ve found that there are a lot of quirky things that go on in Central America that would never fly at home in U.S. These small little things are what makes Central America such a unique and wonderful place. Here are the things that I’ve experienced that I feel would never happen in the U.S and maybe even other parts of the world.
Panama, Nicaragua, and Guatemala
The chicken bus experience. At home the purpose of our buses are to take you from one place to the other. They are orderly, never too full, and down right boring. In Central America the goal of the buses are also to get you from one place to the next but with a full belly, a dance in your step, and a happy heart. Taking the buses have been one of my most favorite experiences with a varity of cheap food being sold on board, along with many other things, upbeat spanish tunes, and super friendly passengers this is something you would never find in the U.S. Along with the chaos is the fact that the bus is packed like a can of sardines. We Americans like our space, get in our bubble and we immediately get uncomfortable. There is no bubble in Central America. You will see a bus and it will be jam packed with people, it may seem full but it’s not. If there is a tiny sliver of air than a person can totally fit there. At home there is no way in hell they are packing the bus beyond the restricted capacity, or letting people sell random food, or blasting music, or having fun.
It’s insane how many people and things they manage to fit onto a motorcycle. Families of four, three adults, the driver and then his passenger who holding huge logs and very rarely wearing helmets. Some people do while others not at all and some just hold their helmet.
Multiple times we have been riding a bus so packed that there are three people to a seat and people will still squeeze over to offer as much room a they can for you to sit. Which is usually only one butt cheek but it is so kind. They make themselves uncomfortable just to offer a little bit of comfort. I’ve sat with one butt cheek, on arm rests and even in people’s laps! They don’t even hesitate, just smile and shove over or smile and pat their lap and tell me to sit. This would never, ever, ever happen at home!! Let a stranger sit on your lap for a four hour bus ride? No way!!
Seriously, there is no such thing a stranger danger. One time Eli and I were riding the bus and we met this family who we chatted with along the way. When we got off on our stop the little girl slipped her hand in mine and they walked us home. Another time my mom was swimming in the ocean in San Juan del Sur and playing with these two little kids. I walked over to see what was up and the little girl, who was five and her little brother three, explained that her mom was doing massages on the beach and told them to go swim and have the tourists watch them. After some time playing in the waves they moved over to hang out with a couple close by. Kids will run up and talk to you, start playing, and laughing with their parents no where in sight. Could you imagine at home people being like “Okay, honey those people look nice go play with them while I go shopping and I’ll see you later”? No, because that would NEVER happen.
When we were in Guatemala we went on a cave tour (more on that in another post) and at the very beginning our faces were adorned with fresh guano, bat poop. That is definitely not up to the health code. I can still hear my mom wailing about how unsanitary that is, which is true.. But when in Central America right?
What are some interesting things you’ve discovered while traveling that would never fly at home?
Eli and I have been traveling real quickly and so I’ve fallen behind on keeping up with our adventures. Stay tuned because they will be coming! Eventually..
Thanks for stopping by!