Hotel Dai Nonni
Met owner of Hotel Dai Nonni. Very nice. Very nice hotel if a bit overpriced, but was worth it for a quiet, nice room with HOT showers, and lunch packed for us for our early morning the next day.
TicaBus from San Salvador to Guatemala City – first impressions of Guatemala City – big, sprawling, more modern, at least in appearance, than any other city we’ve been in, in central America, except Panama City.
Taxi driver (even though we had pre-arranged that it would cost only $5 for both of us from TicaBus to the hotel), tried (after we were in the taxi with him) to get us to travel with him or his connections to other tourist destinations in Guatemala.
Then he tried to get us to change hotels, telling us we were in a bad, ugly neighborhood. When we said no, he literally stopped all conversation with us.
He then struggled to find our hotel (even though he had said he knew where it was). He stopped and asked for directions twice.
He got us to the hotel, and made up something about having to charge us $15. We refused. I conveyed that he had said $5… he insisted on $15 (we had been in the taxi less than 15 minutes (with two stops).
After we refused, he backed off to $10, saying something else about meaning $5 per person, which was just a lie since he told me at the TicaBus terminal it was $5 ¨para los dos¨.
He had a crucifix and a flag of Guatemala on his windshield. I wish I knew enough Spanish, and had been enough in the moment, to have said (as I handed him $10), ¨You love Guatemala?¨ ¨You love Jesus?¨
To which he would have responded ¨yes¨
And I would have said ¨You are the first Guatemalan I have met. Nice first impression…¨and then I would have quoted the bible verse about ¨Whatever you do unto the least of my brothers, you do also unto me¨
At least that would have had the possibility of having an impact on his future swindling.
Instead, I handed him $10 and got out of the taxi not bothering to close the door.
It was not the most forgiving or Christian response on my part either.
I will learn those phrases in Spanish, even though I may never have to use them. (and I´m not the least of his brothers, but I am a foreigner in a foreign land, and he wanted to take advantage of that situation to extract the maximum value he could.)
The thing is that if he had quoted me $15 at the bus station, or only charged $5 we agreed on, I would have used his services again as we have done other places we’ve been. (Boquete being the biggest example of this.)
Instead, I´m writing to warn you about people like this.
In the long run, I still get the value from the experience, through writing about it and posting it online, while he stepped over dollars to pick up pennies – making $5 extra by lying in a transaction, rather than building a relationship based on trust and affordable rates, that could have lasted way beyond the $5 he made.
Other experiences – laying low, walking to independence plaza, eating at ¨Friends¨sports bar a Hollywood themed restaurant.