Friday, December 26, 2008

Jungle all the way

This Christmas Eve midnight went off with a bit less of a bang than on previous years; possibly a consequence of the gathering economic crisis.

We caught a taxi home some time after 2am - not Fernando, the trusted late night taxista habitually used by V's niece Clara Lucia, because he had only recently been blown away by two male passengers he'd run to Santa María de Jesús. A midday killing, we were informed by our own driver, who told us he had been a fairly close friend of his unfortunate colleague.

He also reported that he'd just given a ride to a pair of distraught late middle-aged tourists who'd been attacked some time after midnight in the Tanque de la Union. They had had passports and valuables taken from them and the woman's ear-lobes had been torn when her gold earrings were removed the quick way.

It seems that the mayor's plan to protect visitors with strategically-placed cameras has yet to demonstrate results - and why should it? Back in the UK we have more CCTV cameras than any other nation on earth, but they appear to do hardly anything at all for our crime rate.

Antigua needs all the tourists it can get right now - even dumb ones like these - so the negative word-of-mouth generated by such brutish incidents is unlikely to be helpful.

Yesterday V's brother informed us that nine of Antigua's Spanish schools and seven of its restaurants have already folded, including in the latter category the Cafe Panchoy and La Cocina de Lola. (Neither will be sorely missed. One can hope that Sangre will soon be bleeding out too...)

Before disappearing for the holiday season Don R treated us to one more grizzly local rumour - that of the resident pyscho in the ruins of San Jerónimo who occasionally pops out in order to slice people's throats from ear to ear. I've found no independent, corroborated account of this killing spree in the local media. (Don R suspects a police cover-up!)

Meanwhile, a little earlier on Christmas Eve, four men died in a shoot-out in the seafood area of Guatemala City's rather aptly named 'Terminal' market. The total number of violent deaths over the Christmas period (24th-25th) is running at around 30 so far, including 6 women.

8 bodies showing signs of torture were discovered just over the border in Guadalupe Victoria, Chiapas on Christmas Eve....those narcos up to no good again.

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