Every time I move to a new place, there are problems that you’d never think would cause you problems. Since moving to Guatemala I’ve had two shocks. The first one was when I had extremely unwelcoming, arrogant and down right rude service from another Expat! I found out about his internet service through a blog that I’ve been reading prior to moving to Guatemala. He was highly recommended and I called him. On the phone he told me he provides the best service in all of Guatemala and that unlike Guatemalans he knows what he’s doing. I paid a bunch of money for this service. I did all my transactions through his technicians. I’ve never met him personally and had no idea of how his organization works, just that my main contact was a kid who installed my internet. I had the service for five days. Out of those five days, three days it didn’t work, and the others were so bad that I was wasting more time waiting for it to come on and resend my emails than actually getting work done. So, the natural thing to do is to call and ask what’s up?
Since the owner was never around, I was contacting the technician. Out of no where the Australian owner called me and first of all balled me out for telling his workers what to do. Next he said that I had to play by his rules, and that internet in Guatemala is horrible. He proceeded to clarify for me, that he doesn’t run his organization as a democracy, but he is king! My theory, he moved his arrogant, jerk ass to this country because the people here are used to being told what to do and don’t stand up for themselves when they are being talked down to.
Also, he told me that he’s heard this Gringo bullshit before and if I don’t like it, I should go back to the States!
Yet he still sent his workers to my house and for the next 1.5 hours I heard his little slave call him a million times saying that he had no idea why there was no service in my house. So with all this ‘I’m the best, my service is the best’ he couldn’t even provide me any service at all. I called him and said that this deal is over.
Not the best way to be welcomed to a new country.
My second odd experience happened at the local market. I’ve been told on numerous occasions that the indigenous of this country don’t like to mix with the non-indigenous and can be extremely discriminant. Since they are the majority of the vendors at the markets, and I know their ongoing struggle with poverty, I thought they would be happy to make some sales. Instead, I’ve had some of the women talk about me and laugh about me amongst each other. Even though it was in their language, it’s not hard to read their body language. Then I’ve actually had one lady, when I asked her for the onions, throw the bag at me in a huffy way like ‘why don’t I get out of here’. Naturally, I was extremely uncomfortable and headed to the few vendors that did put smiles on their faces.
I told this to my husband and his sister, both Guatemalans, about this last episode, and they told me not to take it personally, this is how they are treated as well.
Needless to say, I’ve got a lot to learn and even more to get adjusted to. Costa Ricans are some of the friendliest and most helpful people I’ve ever met and learning to live in a country where this is a bit different will take time.