Stuff: Some of the information you just can’t do without, plus a whole lot of filler
…And don’t forget to tip your waitstaff
In a recent Prensa Libre infographic, Guatemala’s demographers showed that the occidente (home to Xela) is the third-poorest region in Guatemala. Country-wide 27% of the country lives on $1 a day or less. That’s less than Q8 the last time that we checked at the bank.
Here, tourism is the second-largest industry (behind remittances). While we’re not naïve enough to think that the world will be saved when one person buys Fair Trade coffee once, it is true that responsible tourism has the potential to raise the living standards for the myriad people involved in the industry.
Your favorite café is supported by dozens of people you may not even know exist: cake makers who sell cakes to restaurants; cleaning people who often pull double duty buying supplies at restaurants; individual sellers who go door-to-door selling the limones for cuba libres and bananas which become banana bread. All this, to say nothing of the fine folks who actually make and serve the food.
Tossing a couple of coins into the tip jar for a drink or a Q5 note for a meal is not going to break the bank for travelers, and the extra Q’s get split among everyone at most establishments. So, for those among us who fancy ourselves “responsible travelers”, please be a sport and remember that tipping is not just a city in China.
The Joy of Brunch
We’ll admit it, it’s a rare day that XelaWho is awake before, say, 10 AM. While many cities elsewhere have brunch down to perfection, it appears to be something of a lost art in Xela.
That said, we strongly endorse the explosion of brunch specials that has overtaken our fair city. Whether it’s a breakfast sandwich plus unlimited coffee at El Infinito (10 AM onward Mon-Fri, Q25); the best pancakes in town at El Cuartito (opens at 7 AM, Q30) or your pick of free enormous breakfast at Black Cat Hostel (free with your stay, served 8-11 AM) we are totally kicking it in brunch heaven.
That One Claro Jingle
Apparently, Carlos Slim (richest man in the world and owner of Claro) and his team of evil scientist/musicians have found the most infectious jingle ever.
Unfortunately, since being driven insane by the “Eso es el ritmo del Plansazo” song we’ve been known to throw ourselves out of microbuses to avoid hearing it one more time. Perpetuating this vicious cycle, we have no choice but to use Claro to call the ambulances.