18 August 2007

I fit in for about a second...

[8-17-07] Daudi- I've never felt more white in my entire life (except for that one time I found myself in a ghetto portion of D.C. covering an Al Sharpton speech, but that's another story for another time) I've been in Guatemala for almost a month now and I've developed a comfortable groove. I get up, I walk around with my tutor, I go to the park, I go to the gym, I have a couple friends to hang out with and stumble home with, but just when I think I'm starting to blend in, something like this happens. I was walking with a group of people and one moment I was a Guatemalan crossing the street and the next second I was a gringa taking pictures.

These women were so visually interesting I couldn't help it, but I almost wished they hadn't turned around. They didn't speak spanish, only a mayan dialect, so i might as well been talking to my toothbrush when I tried to explain I was journalist from the states. they knew the only english words they needed.

"Piso, give us a dollar...an american dollar...GIVE US A DOLLAR!!!!!!!"

In the villages surrounding Guatemala City, the kids and women have been trained to ask for money when a white person wants to take their picture. It's much easier taking photos in Antigua, which has been largely westernized and considers itself "modern" and people understand "soy periodista" and don't try to bribe you everytime you're interested in taking a photograph of them. It kind of threw me to see this sweet looking woman with her baby demand money the second my camera came out. I just walked off as they screamed after me. I felt kind of sick, like yesterday when that guy hissed in my ear (one of those things in Latin America that's actually worse if you know what it means).

I don't really like to look at this picture now.

It's been extremely cool and real crossing the cultural divide, but there's moments I would give anything just to be back in the states kickin' with my friends and not dealing with a place where I don't look or sound like anybody else.Forget telling them you're from "Idaho," they barely know "Florida" and it's a two hour flight from here. I end up having to say "Miami" because it's the only reference point they know.

1 comment:

lackofintellect said...

Keep on doing your best gringa, it's better than I can do!