Guatemala smells of old books, musty with a dash of history. It reminds me of India or Israel. The smell relaxes my body, but makes my heart pump.
The Chicken Bus makes its way around large trucks on two lane roads. When it goes up hill it sounds as if we are being tailed by a helicopter. When the gears shift it sounds like bones breaking. The bus only slows down enough for passengers to get on and off. When we do stop vendors make their way through crowded aisles spouting slogan as if they were a tape recorder on repeat. A man gets up, starts reading from the Bible, blesses the bus for safe travels, and begins to take offerings. He’s about my age with a ripped collar, his hands wave from the back to the front of the bus. Music is blasted, the bus is shaking, and people for the most part are quiet. The experience is noisy, rough, and obnoxious. It makes me wonder why I’m smiling the entire trip.