Arriving in Guatemala City Without My Backpack

Broken Bottles for Burglar Protection

Central American Burglar Alarm System

The baggage claim conveyor belt finally stopped, and my backpack was nowhere to be seen. I had just arrived in Guatemala City (aka “Guate”) to start my official year around the world. But now I didn’t have any belongings.

Well, that isn’t entirely true. I did have the clothes on my back, a light jacket, and a daypack with my laptop and camera in it. Talk about traveling light! Initially my plan had been to jump on a shuttle to a small town called San Pedro and start 3 weeks of intensive Spanish classes. But the town was hours away, and I wanted to be near the airport for when my pack finally arrived, 3 or 4 days later.

Old Pickup Truck

Old Beaten-Up Pickup Truck

So I found a guesthouse a short walk away from the airport, and checked in. The broken glass you see in the photo above is cemented into the perimeter walls of the guesthouse. I saw this in Mexico too, it’s a cheap way to protect your property from robbers.

All the homes and business in the area are protected by 10 foot high walls, razor wire, and gates. It looks like a prison complex, but rather than keep people in, it’s meant to keep people out. I had to walk through a military checkpoint to get to the guesthouse as well. Welcome to Guatemala City!

Local Guate Family

Guatemalan Family That I Met On My Walk

The air was colder than I was expecting, around 60 degrees at night. After spending one night in the guesthouse, I walked back to the airport to fill out a new lost baggage claim form, because the one the airline gave me contained wrong information. Along the walk I passed a local family heading to the airport too. I was photographing the neighborhood, and they asked to be in the photo. Looks better with them in it!

Since I was going to be in Guate for a few more days, I decided to leave the expensive guesthouse ($30 a night) and move into a hostel dormitory ($15 a night) in the city center to save money. Now all I have to do is wait. My travel adventures have officially begun!