Guatemala: the highlands

On the road yet again. We’re in the highlands, the north. As we climb higher, the trees begin to look like home. Everything else is different, but the rolling hills, the mountains, and the pine trees echo home. There is not ten feet of straight road. The car wash signs on the side of the road are inexplicable in English. I see Mayan women in traditional dress walking with young children. There is graffiti on the cliff sides, worn away, but still present. We pass old school buses traveling up the mountains and they pass us back traveling down.

There is almost no piece of land that is not in use. Even the steep slopes are marked by the lines where corn and other foods meet. Groups of bikers brave the long climb punctuated at either end by cars or motorcycles for protection. From here the cities look like toy villages, the kind I used to play with as a child. Still there are signs and billboards that break my enchantment, gas prices and tire repairs, fast food and pain relievers, mattresses and resorts, reminds of everything human everything broken and beautiful, pass us by on the road to the border.

-Olivia Dalke