Reu & Coatepeque


The road from Guate down towards Reu is a fairly attractive one. The smog clears, the road descends down hill, and the environment turns tropical with lush vegetation, palm trees and a increase in temperature. The land flattens out as we head to the coast, zooming past chicken buses in a cousin's car. No more endless turns like on the road, between Xela and Guate but a road where it's possible to seat in comfortable and gaze out of the window as the girlfriend's family argue about the normal topics of conversation: family, religion and money.

After a stop to drink Coconut juice at the roadside we eventually reach Reu - a place I have visited twice before. It's night-time, but that type of humid heat is present, as always. The outskirts of Reu has palm trees on either side of the road with the driveways to mansions inbetween them. The population of Reu seem to have a bit more cash than other towns and it generally has a bit of a small town feel with vegetation popping out of every garden and along every street. I like the town, Maggie doesn't. I've spent around a week there in total and while Maggie lived there for about 8 years during her teens, so maybe she is a better one to judge. Security seems a bit down on Guate, without barb wire lining the high gates of every house and building. In the town every other vehicle is a moped, tuk-tuk or bike with local buses not necessary.
The central plaza has high palm trees and a attractive all-white church (photos to follow). There are virtually no indigenous people here, and with the heat, a more relaxed dress sense applies with short-shorts and vested tops. There are no obvious sites, but I like the feel to the place although the heat can be a bit much at times.

Coatepeque is north-west of Reu, heading towards the Mexican border. Here both sets of the other-half's grandparents live. Both have stunningly beautiful gardens with flowers of all colours growing wildly and unkept. The houses are wooden and traditional but comfortable. Almost to the positive stereotype of a tropical country. Lots of narrow tracks weave there way through lush vegetation and a varied quality of houses. One area, Colomba, is actually a village in it's own right while the other set of grandparents live in a suburb which is virtually it's own village and was also Maggie's home for her first 8 or 9 years. Maggie's home area as changed a lot in the last fifteen years and to her it's no longer the childhood paridise she remembers looked back through youthful eyes. I still thing it's a pretty interesting place and there is some more family there as well. I uncle of hers hires out a couple of horrid rooms beneath his part of the house. We stopped by his place for a bit. Obviously fairly religiously minded with every sentence giving thanks to God (for anything good) and requesting help from him/it (for any problems).
I generally have noticed here that the word of God tends to be used a lot to tell other people how to live there lives, particularly when it benefits the person speaking, but rarely seems to be used for people to vigoursly question how they live their life (thinking outside of the box - one of the better business jargon terms).

The town centre is fairly ugly with large advertising signs plastered everywhere spoiling any pleasant feel to a town virtually untouched by tourists. A brief stop in Xela to visit more family and for our driver to sort out some business followed before we hint the windy roads back to Guatemala completing the circle.


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