Haze shrouded the landscape as the Norwegian Gem slowly sailed into the shallow port of Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala, this Central American country’s largest ocean port. Guatemala was the first country to produce chocolate, is the jade capital of the world, and the origin of the Mayan culture. There are many volcanoes in Guatemala, and were visible from the shoreline as we sailed into harbor.
The smell of burning garbage slowly encapsulated the ship, common to all the third world countries In which I’ve been. The pier at which the ship docked was in an industrial port with no evidence of shops, stores, gardens, etc., only shipping related industry. We were bussed to a gated area just outside the port’s boundaries filled with shops selling hand-weaved goods, chocolate, and jade. I looked hard for birds and butterflies, but was rewarded only with a few lizards! Kay shopped, but only bought a handmade water bottle holder.
NOTE: We did not book any excursions in Guatemala because of safety and security concerns, especially for Americans. The more we travel abroad, the smaller the world becomes, a “global view” comes into focus, and the significance of other countries, particularly industrialized nations, comes into play compared to the relevance of the US related to world matters.