A Vacation Goes South

I knew we were in trouble as soon as our minivan crested the hill at 8 a.m., about 30 miles south of Guatemala’s border with Mexico. A band of heavily armed men suddenly erupted from the jungle, taking positions in the center of the road. Cloth bags with eye holes masked their faces.

The cowled gunmen surrounded us, screaming orders in a local dialect, their weapons trained through the van’s windows at our heads. In response, the driver turned up a narrow dirt path into the dense jungle.

From the Summer 2012 North South issue of California.

Sino the Times

Has the Ugly American been supplanted by his Chinese counterpart?  In the upcoming issue, California looks at the growing resentment in the developing world over Chinese business ventures abroad.

It wasn’t so long ago that Chinese engineers and economists were welcomed with enthusiasm by struggling Asian, African and South American nations. The Chinese were seen as both technically proficient and simpatico. They didn’t have to tote the baggage of – well, Americans, who were often viewed as overweening, grasping and arrogant.

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