by Emily Ellis
The recent violent tremor that shook Xela’s residents in their beds on July 7th is another sign of what many of us have expected for a while: that the apocalypse is upon us. As everyone who has seen that Brad Pitt movie or read The Walking Dead comics knows, with the apocalypse comes the zombies. But never fear: I’m taking the time to put your minds at ease, and lay out the reasons why Guatemala is the absolute best place to be for the end of the world.
There are multiple reasons why our fair Highlands make the perfect location to weather out the Zombie Apocalypse. For one thing, third-world countries are far better prepared to deal with the living dead. While fancy “developed” countries may boast well-trained armies and advanced technology, not of that will help when modern civilization goes to hell. Crouching in mountain caves, knowledge of medicinal plants, tolerating near starvation, guerrilla warfare – all these skills are necessary for surviving an onslaught of zombies, and given Guatemala’s recent tumultuous history, there are likely to be numerous residents prepared to leap into action should such a disaster occur again.
There is also the matter of the advantageous terrain. Although I wouldn’t want to be in the capital when everyone started to “turn,” the twisty, steep streets of Xela are perfect for evading undead pursuers. While the uneven, cobbled streets have sent plenty of people sprawling on their asses, you can bet that they will slow down the already clumsy, shuffling walking dead, giving you plenty of time to make a run towards the remote, outlying volcanoes.
And then there are the machetes. Speaking as someone who has watched far many too many episodes of The Walking Dead, I have arrived at the conclusion that there is no better tool available for cleaving a living corpse’s skull than a sturdy machete. Fortunately, in most parts of Guatemala it is common to see a well-worn blade hanging from someone’s backpack, or else maybe feel the handle digging into your thigh if you happen to sit next to a farmer on the bus. Pick one up cheap at the market, and after clearing it of zombie brains, you can use it to chop your mangoes or firewood.
Lastly, there are the people themselves. If faced by a horde of ghouls, my own countrymen would likely run shrieking with one eye on their smartphone, but not so with the chapines. A combination of relative physical fitness, general possession of cajones, and the cultural effects of a recent decades-long civil make them the ideal people to be around when a disaster strikes.
I don’t know about you, but when the blood curdling moans of the undead begin to echo off the surrounding mountains, I know exactly where I’ll be: Second floor of the Pasaje Enriquez, bottle of quetzalteca in one hand and unlicensed revolver in the other, ready for the end of the world.