Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hiatus Over! ...and weird American hugging

I have neglected to blog for far too long. As life has been busy, with lots to blog about, it hasn't made it to the top of my to-do list, until now that is. Not until I awkwardly met some fellow Americans down here in Anitgua, did I feel the need to express myself here on 'It's a Beautiful Life'.

In Guatemala, and most of Latin American I assume, there are some things that are just different... personal space distances, lunch hour, driving norms, etc... The customs of meeting new people and introducing yourself are no exception. It's most common that when you meet someone you kind of half hug/embrace them with a slight cheek kiss or just cheek kiss motion. In Guatemala most times that is accompanied by a quick 'Que Tal?' (what's up), which is not intended really to be answered and signifies that you speak spanish, I've noticed.

I've gotten used to this introduction and don't generally think much of it, until I met the three Americans in the bike shop* the other day. When saying good bye and nice to meet you, I went for my usually half hug, cheek motion bit and each of them was more awkward than the next. The first one gave me a back pat from a distance, the second tried to read my body movement while leaning in and out and the third gave me a full hug around the waist... umm. I almost laughed out loud, but I didn't want to be rude. I'm not sure if I like that general American hand shake or the full latin intro, but each has it's time and place I guess.

In other news, since previous posting... the 'bike shop' DON QUIJOTE CRUISERS is really taking off. Chino and I opened the shop in January and after trial and errors and lots of learning along the way, we are fully open, operating and renting bicycles all over the place. Antigua is a funny place to do business, a very particular little town full of very particular people, brought here for one reason or the next and then stayed. With that mix, there is a lot of international influence, great food and lots of bars. The cruiser bikes fit right into the picture perfect scene and provide an alternative way to spend your sightseeing day in our colonial town.

Until next time... cruise on!