Being a history buff, is, for me one of the things that make our current ‘round-the-world journey as exciting as it is. I get to see exotic locations and people and really feel the history around me. I also get to see how much influence the USA and other first world countries are having on some of these places. This is a preliminary idea, that I’m sure will get fleshed out even further as we travel more and as I study more.
As a way of getting in touch with the histories, (honestly, and fiction stories… but that’s a whole other post I’ll have to write), I look comparatively what I’m seeing and the history I know.
For instance, as we sail around the South Pacific, I’ll be reading more about not only the native people, but the western explorers, too; Drake, Magellan and the likes. I’ll have a chance to see what they saw as the long awaited mountainous island breaks free of the horizon and begins it’s slow accent into the sky as we approach. …You know, just as an example…
While since I’m been here on the Rio Dulce, some of what I’ve learned about the Roman Empire has been coming back to me. Especially information about the expansion of the Empire.
We’ll use McDonald’s as an example. McDonald’s is very much a powerhouse in the corporate world of the United States. It’s MAJORLY international. In most major cities you’ll find one, heck, several usually. However, here in this part of Guatemala, there isn’t one to be seen! Heck, no clue how close the nearest one is!
Here, on the Rio Dulce we find ourselves on the very fringe of the Empire. You can find some US brand foods and such, but that’s mostly at certain stores that cater to the expats. There is also a clear divide in the clothing. Some women I’ve seen are still wearing very clearly Guatemalan clothes, others wearing very American styles of clothes.
That doesn’t mean that the US doesn’t stick their nose into politics! We heard from a machinist and engraver down here that used to engrave guns for people, you know, just pretty, custom decoration for your gun. The US made a law that said to alter guns in any fashion (here in Guatemala), you have to get a special (expensive) permit. I believe there is also a large fee for him to get the license to be able to do it. (He a US citizen, but a Guatemalan legal resident.
So, here we are at the fringe of the Empire. As we are able to go on this trip I’m looking forward to learning more about the Roman Empire and how it grew and fell, and how that relates to what I’m seeing.