Stuff: Some of the information you just can’t do without, plus a whole lot of filler

A Word on Safety

Xela is a fun city. It has great places to eat, explore and go out at night. We encourage you to do so, but just like in any other city, please do so with caution. Due to recent events we would like to underscore the importance of being smart when going out at night. Here are some pointers:

If it is dark out, please try to walk in AT LEAST groups of 2, if not more. If this is not an option, there are plenty of reliable taxi drivers in town who will come pick you up. You may have to pay a bit extra by night, but paying a few extra quetzales is well worth your safety.

When walking, take the more well lit roads, or pass through areas where there are more likely to be people around. Walk towards the middle of the road where it would be harder for someone to jump out at you and try not to carry too many valuables.

If you do get robbed, the best thing to do is to try and keep the situation from escalating by handing over your belongings immediately. Remember that you are worth more than your things! If you are interested, pepper spray can be purchased for less than Q100.

Be aware of your surroundings, use the buddy system and enjoy Xela!

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Street Cameras

Possibly in response to everybody’s obsession with street safety (or else because somebody’s cousin had a bunch of cameras they couldn’t offload anywhere else), the Muni has come up with the high-tech, low-workload idea of installing surveillance cameras around Xela’s Zone 1. Naysayers have been pointing out that the 40 cops employed to watch the screens could just as well be patrolling the streets (but hey… this is Xela – it gets chilly at night!) and there is a suspicion that crime will just move off the main avenues and on to the side streets. But regardless, as long as this is part of a long-term strategy and not just an isolated idea, we’re happy that the Muni is doing something in response to growing concerns.

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La Huelga Media Frenzy

Every year around this time you can be fairly sure that the local and national media will get a little obsessed by one thing: the Huelga de Dolores. If you want the two sides to the argument, ask 1) a local businessperson and 2) a San Carlos University student. Or, (as we say) read any newspaper during the next month. We suspect that they don’t even bother rewriting these things any more – they just have the stock articles on file and dutifully wheel them out every year around mid-March.

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