During an inaugural exploratory visit to Guatemala this month, Ramsey immersed himself fully into the local duck hunting culture thanks to the help of amazingly hospitable hosts he now regards as family. Though considered a world-class bill fishing destination, this small Central American country was full of many interesting  surprises, great food, and blue-winged teal. Today’s conversation with friend Eduardo “Toto” Samayoa is the first of a 3-part Guatemala duck hunting series that proves yet again that birds of a feather flock together, that the world’s a lot smaller–and in some ways a whole lot more similar–than you may otherwise think.

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Guatemala for Duck Hunting??

Ramsey Russell: Welcome back to Duck Season Somewhere from Guatemala! You know, I’ve been doing this a long time, and I just never really saw myself coming to Guatemala to hunt ducks, but here I am. And it started with a phone call and a little bit of follow-up. I had no idea what I was getting into but wanted to come and visit Central America and fell in love with it, kind of like falling in love with family I didn’t know I had. That’s crazy, isn’t it? You’re going to hear some series coming up, some episodes coming up in little three-part series. I’m going to go down here with some guys, and it’s going to blow your mind. It’s our ducks we’re hunting down here. They do have native populations of black-bellied whistling ducks. Ducks called Pato-real, but a lot of blue-wing teal, so we go out mourning dove hunting. We shoot mourning doves. Not some kind of ear dove down in Argentina, but our mourning dove. And what do you hear? Just how close are our doves to eating birds? One of the first guys to hit it off with down here on the team is today’s guest, Eduardo Samoya.

Eduardo Samayoa: Samayoa.

Ramsey Russell: Samayoa. And you know, when you jump into the dark and you shake five different hands, hey, hey. I don’t sell insurance for a living. I can’t hardly hear anybody’s name or remember it. So I always tried, well, it was easy, I said Eduard, and after I started calling him Eddie and slick Eddie and fast Eddie, he’s like what everybody calls me is Toto. So that’s your name. How in the world did you get the name Toto?

Eduardo Samayoa: So I have two older brothers who are much older than me; one is eight years older than me, and my other brother is seven years older than me. And when I was born, my brother was really into soccer, and there was this famous Italian soccer player called Toto Schillaci, which was his nickname. And he was just—he called me Toto. And since I can remember, everybody calls me Toto, even my parents, my grandparents, and friends. Everybody calls me Toto, except when they’re mad at me, when they call me Eduardo. But that was a sign when I was growing up. If I hear Eduardo, I must have done something. So it’s just stuck, and if I could change it legally, I would.

Ramsey Russell: Toto, how did you learn to speak English so well?

Eduardo Samayoa: So there are several good schools in Guatemala.  There are several, and I went to the American school in Guatemala from a young age. Well, my father went to prep school and university in the U.S. And growing up, you know, TV and kindergarten, everything in this school that I went to was in English except obviously Spanish, like PE classes and some social studies, but everything was in English. I could safely say that my English is better, my writing in English is better, and if I could write an essay or something in English, it would be better than my Spanish. And I just grew up learning English, which I did all the way up to my freshman year in high school here in Guatemala. And then I went to a military boarding school in Indiana called Culvert Academies. So I finished high school there, and then I ended up going to college in North Carolina. And I lived in the U.S. I lived in North Carolina and in California. And I moved back, I want to say, in 2016, so I left when I was 15 officially to the US by myself. My boarding school, college, and everything, and I moved back when I was 25, so long ways. And so English has always been part of my family; my brothers and sisters all live in the US except me, my mom, and my dad, so we speak a lot of English.

Ramsey Russell: Man. Look, we’ve been sitting in a duck blind for five years; it’s only been five days, but y’all have run me through the wringer. I have seen more of Guatemala in five days than I thought you could see in five years, and I’ve enjoyed every single second of it. That’s what blows my mind. And I’ve heard a lot of stories, but just right here before the podcast started. You were telling me one of your grandparents was from England.

Eduardo Samayoa: So my dad’s father passed away; I think my dad told me once that he was 13 and my dad’s 67, so he was pretty young, and my grandmother remarried this great British guy, Jon Gordon Smith, a very traditional name; it’s funny. But yeah, so he was British, he was a pilot, got shut down, landed in a camp, but there’s a lot of Great War stories that, as I told you, I want you to meet my dad; he has a lot of knowledge from back in the day, Guatemala knowledge. But yeah, most of my family speaks really well English. We’re really blessed for that, and so yeah, it’s been quite a story.


Growing up in Both Worlds

But yeah, I love adapting and can safely say that I can relate to both cultures.


Ramsey Russell: You grew up in Guatemala, you learned English, you spent a lot of formative years in the United States, in high school and college, and you described it the other day as growing up in both worlds. What was that like?

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah, I mean, I have always loved meeting people. So I know the Guatemalan culture and the American culture, and it’s just great to be able to, like, if you say a question to me, I can think in English right away, and I know the culture like you, and I saw my music like you, and I was surprised that I listened to old blues. I like soul and I like American rock.

Ramsey Russell: Running 70 mph down Guatemala Road between banana plantations, listening to Freddie King, I just never saw that coming.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yes. I like both cultures, and it’s amazing how you can blend in and adapt food-wise and even how you treat people. Every time we have a guest over, I can relate to them and show them another side of Guatemala, like through American eyes. Through an American’s eyes, they will see this country, and all because most of my friends are still here in Guatemala. We always stay in touch thanks to social media and other things. And then I have my high school friends from high school. At the boarding school, where we’re still like best friends, we talk every day, and then I have my college friends from basically all over the world.

Ramsey Russell: You went to college in North Carolina?

Eduardo Samayoa: North Carolina State I started an agricultural business, and I loved it. So I grew up in North Carolina, which is a very, I want to say, conservative state. So I know which side of the country the conservatives dislike in California.  And then I moved to California, which was a completely different experience. But yeah, I love adapting and can safely say that I can relate to both cultures.

Ramsey Russell: Well, speaking of American politics, you told me the other day that Guatemalans love Donald Trump.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah, I mean, most people in Guatemala don’t understand politics or how the system works, and I personally know how the system works in the U.S. because I lived there. I mean, I pay taxes. I have Social Security because I worked there. But yeah, we agree. I understand Donald Trump’s side. Most people don’t like the stuff that comes out of his mouth.

Ramsey Russell: Most people love him, but go ahead.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah, I mean, I like the guy, and everybody I try to talk to is open-minded. I mean, you can say you love Joe Biden; I wouldn’t judge you, but I understand when somebody says you want to put Americans first. Yeah, it’s your country. Why would you benefit other people instead of yourself? And I have a lot of friends from Venezuela and other countries, so you don’t have to like the guy to agree with his politics. That guy can say really random stuff that he does all the time, but hey, if he’s right, he’s right, and I always try to keep an open mind. I don’t judge anybody by their beliefs or anything else. But yeah, Guatemalans, Donald Trump did a hell of a job for this country. And I mean, if it works, it works. Like I said, you don’t necessarily need to like the guy or how he talks about people or stuff. But if he’s doing a good job, he’s doing a good job.

Ramsey Russell: There are so many; of course, there are so many differences between Guatemala and America, and Guatemala and Mississippi, but I’ve just been blown away at how many similarities there are. Guatemalans have got to be one of the hardest-working forms of humanity I’ve ever come across. And so that the fact that they, and there’s no, we’re talking about this the other day, there’s no social welfare here, there’s no safety net. You either work or you don’t, and if you don’t, God help you. And it just kind of speaks to me that people like that loved a Republican, conservative Donald Trump-type American figure.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: That’s what I told you.

Eduardo Samayoa: The way I see it, like I told you, growing up with both cultures, like I understand people here sometimes, if you grew up in the middle of the mountains, you don’t have a chance unless you work on your farm, like the chances of you succeeding in becoming wealthy individuals. It’s a hard life. So that’s why when I see some of these people in the U.S. just not working or just living off welfare or stuff like that, it is very hard to see because in the U.S. you can go to high school for free. You can go to community colleges, which are great. I’ll tell another story after, but if you’d like to make it in the U.S., it’s very doable. If you work hard, that’s why they call it the American dream. So when I see all these people not working in the U.S. and complaining, it’s like I kind of want to bring him here and see what it’s really like to live in poverty.

Ramsey Russell: You brought that up, and I want to talk about this right now, but like today, we go duck hunting. We’ll get to that. And we were off in those areas duck hunting; we’re not in Guatemala City; we’re not in a metropolitan area; we’re not in the middle class or upper middle class; and we’re in poverty like I’ve never seen, like I’m not used to seeing in America, short of somebody living under an overpass. But I mean, like today, we stopped, and in the dark, when we stopped and picked up the boys, I couldn’t see their house or their yard. I just saw a man in a bright yellow shirt jump in the back of the truck, like where the cab is.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: We went back and we had those ducks picked. We sat around and drank Coca-Cola and beers, and all those children came out of these little houses with no doors, thin roofs, thin walls, chickens in the yard, and dirt floors. And they smiled, and they plucked the ducks, and they were paid, and they were happy. But as I watched them, they smiled. They freaking smiled.


Why I Love Duck Hunting


Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah, people are happy. That’s why I love duck hunting. Like we took you to the other day, I usually hunt ducks, and the people in that little town love me. First of all, we give them a lot of ducks to eat.

Ramsey Russell: And they like ducks.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah, I mean, the people here will eat anything, but when you give them ducks, they’re actually pretty good. And we pay them well, like what we pay them for one duck hunt is usually what they were making for maybe 2 weeks or something. They made that back in the day, and we pay them really fairly because we want to keep people happy. But yeah, poverty here is very different than in the U.S. Imagine if you’re homeless in some states; they’ll give you food stamps. I mean, there are food banks. Here in Guatemala, there’s nothing like that. I mean, people help. There’s a lot of charitable work. They do a great job, but it’s a different world.

Ramsey Russell: We’re talking about eating anything. Today we’re out there duck hunting on that marsh. And were leaving, and like the lake, Martin had dried up real much. Me and you both got to our knees before we realized we needed to get back in the grass to get out there. And if we were leaving, I noticed a lot of people, a lot of local villagers, come from somewhere, and we’re walking up and digging around or doing something, and I was so tired carrying all that stuff getting out of there that I didn’t care to walk away over there and see what they were doing. I just assumed they were cutting vegetation or digging up turtles. They were hunting turtles, and I don’t mean big alligator-snapping turtles for turtle soup; they were just turtles, green, red-ear slider-type turtles, and they ate them. They eat everything down here, don’t they?

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah, man.

Ramsey Russell: They will. I mean, somebody told me on the podcast recently that a rich man has many worries. A poor man has one.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah, very true.

Ramsey Russell: And I mean, when you’re out there digging up turtles, you ain’t got 1 care; that’s your next meal. Yeah.

Eduardo Samayoa: If it feeds you and you don’t even need the taste, if it feeds you and keeps you alive, the people eat it. We saw the example that the local villagers asked us to hunt the type of duck; the people I’ve seen eating alligators did not eat that duck.

Ramsey Russell: That’s not a duck.

Eduardo Samayoa: What’s it called?

Ramsey Russell: We were duck hunting yesterday, and it was a very poor village, and the ducks were high and wary. We’re doing it, and it wasn’t a planned duck hunt; it was just kind of improvised and just to go out there and see that area. But it was a really cool experience, like being on the page of national geography. If we’re sitting out there, these two little boys had come past us when we were putting the boats in, and we caught up with them later. And by little boys, I mean, I’m going to say one of them was six and one of them is ten.

Eduardo Samayoa:  And they had their slingshots.

Ramsey Russell: They had their slingshots. That’s what they’re going to say: every little boy I’ve seen out here had slingshots, and that’s probably the only toy they had. And their job was to go out there and watch those cows. And they heard of those cows out there to get water and graze, and they’d hurt them back at night. And one of them, of course, doesn’t speak Spanish. One of them had asked you to shoot a cormorant, and I was just sitting there away from that corner, and I’m like, hey, you’re like, he asked me, and that little boy rolled up his pants, walked out there, got it, and put it back in the shade, and I’m just like, that’s what he’s going to eat tonight. And I’m not judging these people at all. I’m not judging them. I almost respect them because, like, today as I watched those children, I’m talking five-year-olds, six-year-olds, up to 15-year-olds, plucking ducks, they got to keep some of them and they got paid. You know what dawned on me, Toto? It’s compared to the average American child back home who has no idea where his next meal is coming from, yet from the grocery store or McDonald’s, those kids know exactly where their next meal is coming from. They know everything about the birds and the bees and eating and living, and they’re happy. And I mean, it kind of just speaks to me on some human level. I don’t pity them at all, but it makes me very thankful.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah. You’ve got to be very thankful. And I have a company in the U.S., and I’m a business partner that we used to do one of these books with our friend here in Guatemala, textiles.

Ramsey Russell: Oh yeah.

Eduardo Samayoa: There are a lot of textiles here in Guatemala. They go back hundreds of years. Each village has different colors. And I’ve seen it; I’ve been to the most remote mountains of Guatemala, and you will be surprised at what you can find and how these people live, and you have to be very thankful.

Ramsey Russell: I’ve got a note right here. What did your dad tell you before you went to college?

Eduardo Samayoa: Oh, my dad told me several things: don’t get kicked out of school and don’t get a DUI, yeah.

Ramsey Russell:  That’s kind of a big deal, especially if you’re a foreign national.

Eduardo Samayoa: Very big deal. Back in the day, we didn’t have Uber. So now college kids have it easy because you can split the Uber in all these different ways. We used to go out with my friends, and we had to negotiate with each other who had the $20 bill to pay the taxi back. Yeah, you’re a foreigner in the U.S. if you get a DUI. And I’m glad this happened, you get your visa revoked for, like, 10 years. And I support this; nobody else should in these countries like Guatemala. They’re very lenient with drinking and driving. It’s almost like, “Okay, I’ll have a couple of beers and I can make it home.” Usually you can. But in the U.S., you hear all these cases, and I had a friend who crashed and passed away. And yeah, my dad told me that, and I followed the rule even to this day. Now with Uber, like we keep joking with my friends in college, imagine we had Uber back in the day. I remember North Carolina, the first taxi company that you can actually pay with a credit card, the cab; it was just a totally new experience. They had the little thing to put your card in, and you swiped it, and it was good, but yeah, good old college days.


Barbecue Favorites & More


Ramsey Russell: I think this is where you and I hit it off: when I learned within five minutes of meeting you that you owned and operated the most famous Texas barbecue restaurant in Guatemala. And I’m like, what? And first off, what’s the name of this barbecue?

Eduardo Samayoa: It’s called Holy Smoke.

Ramsey Russell: Holy Smoke.

Eduardo Samayoa: The funny story with the name is that there’s Holy Smoke as well, and I think it’s like the Netherlands or something, and they just sell pot. And there’s another Holy Smoke in Guatemala, just completely; it’s a boutique, and they sell pot as well.

Ramsey Russell: Are you kidding?

Eduardo Samayoa: Pot is illegal here. But I don’t know; we always find it; it’s a good joke.

Ramsey Russell: Heck, it was a heck a great name for a barbecue. 

Eduardo Samayoa: We had this gigantic platter that we used to, and we still do it. It’s called the Santa Familial, the holy family. And that thing has like £2 worth of pulled pork and like a rack of ribs. It’s just a gigantic plate, and people still ordered it by themselves. I have no idea how they eat it.

Ramsey Russell: How did you get into barbecue?

Eduardo Samayoa: So when I was still in high school, I applied to different colleges, and I ended up at the place that I actually wanted to go. I was just a crazy college kid. It was just a party school. And my brother was getting a PhD at NC State, and he was like, “Why don’t you try and see the state?” but it didn’t apply in the state. So I actually went to the community college in North Carolina. And then I transferred to NC State. And one of them, my brother, was my roommate for three years, and he took me to this place. I never tried like I tried ribs, of course everybody’s tried ribs or wings. And my brother took me to this place, which was called Q-Shack. And he was like, “You’ve got to try this thing called brisket.” I was like, “Okay, let’s do it.”   I ordered. I was like, ” my God.” After two weeks, the staff of the restaurant were my friends. And I ended up loving barbecue, like loving and loving it. So one day I was here in Guatemala, and there’s another good restaurant here. It’s called Pappy’s Barbecue. He was the first one. He is a Texas guy from Austin who married a Guatemalan girl, and he opened the first barbecue pit in Guatemala. When I heard that I was here for the summer, I went like every day to that place to eat. And it was in Antigua; I’ll take you there next time.

Ramsey Russell: We know there will be a next time.

Eduardo Samayoa: And we were at a wedding, and with one of my good friends after the wedding the next day, we were like, “Let’s go eat some barbecue.” So I went to the barbecue spot, and it smells like a little bit of smoke, like a barbecue joint. You can smell the pits cooking, and you can smell it in the restaurant. But this place doesn’t smell like barbecue. The barbecue was really good. So I told the guy, “Where are you guys smoking the barbecue?” He was like, “Oh, it’s the house next door.” So I got up, walked through the house, and entered the house by myself. I let myself in, and there were all these different pits, and there was this little pit, and I was like, I’ll buy it from you. He was like, “Let me call the owner.” The owner called me back; he said, I built that one, and it’s not really good, but I’ll build you one, and I was like, Okay, build me one. Two weeks later, I have this old water heater converted into a barbecue and smoker at my house. And I started, I smoked my first, I don’t know what it was, I think it was a pulled pork or something, and I started getting better at YouTube learning, trying, and I became really good at it, like I nailed the brisket, which is hard to do.

Ramsey Russell: Where did you get stuff?

Eduardo Samayoa: You could do pulled pork, but once you nail a good brisket, you’ve got it. So I became really good at it. I cooked for all my friends and my father’s friends as a hobby. And then my best friend finally convinced me, along with his sister, who’s still my business partner, to go ahead and open up a restaurant. And we did it and are still there. Then COVID hit. I mean, we’re still working on it, but it’s a nice little hobby. And I still do some catering. I do some recipes, but I’m still a barbecue fan. My brother lives in Austin, and every time I go visit him, it’s like the only thing I eat is barbecue.

Ramsey Russell: Do you like barbecue because you’re a barbecue enthusiast? And when you go to Texas, do you kick around and try new barbecue ideas?

Eduardo Samayoa: Oh yeah.

Ramsey Russell: He takes notes and stuff like that.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yes. So they say it’s the best barbecue in Austin, which is probably true. Everybody says the best barbecue There’s this guy, the famous barbecue pit Franklin, and you have to get there, like, at 4:00. There’s a line at 4:00, and he’s sold out by 11. There are a couple different restaurants in Austin, but there’s this one called Valentino’s, which is a Tex-Mex barbecue. And it has the Mexican barbecue style and the traditional barbecue, and it started—I met the guy—as a food truck, and now it’s like a food truck or  restaurant, but it’s unbelievable. And there are so many places outside of Texas with little holes in the walls that there’s been a Netflix episode. And I still need to try more. But yeah, I always like to try. There’s this one in Texas and Austin called Leroy and Lewis that they do like a beat barbecue with like beef cheeks and stuff. It’s really interesting stuff. So every time I go, I just try to find a niche.

Ramsey Russell: You cook a lot of beef at your place. What is most popular with Guatemalans? You’re beef or pork?

Eduardo Samayoa: It depends; mostly pork because it’s cheaper. Brisket here is expensive. A good barbecue restaurant in the U.S. is expensive. Like you’ll run a tab really easily. So people here usually try pork. But the funny thing is, being Guatemalan, I put barbecue tacos on the menu. So we used to do a brisket taco. We used to pull the ribs, pull ribs, and pull pork. And we used to put it on flour tortillas, and then we used to put tacos like the one you had hunting with us, the pork cracklings, on top. So people love that. And so the barbecue flavor, like the crackling of the pork, was a big hit. So the restaurant people love tacos.

Ramsey Russell: We got pork skins back home. We don’t have that.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah, so I’ll send you how to do it. So what you do is you grab the pork belly, and instead of just getting the skin, so the pork crackers are just skin, you grab the skin and a little bit of the meat and leave them together, so the skin and fat. So that’s why you have the crackling and the soft part on the bottom.

Ramsey Russell: That is the baking part.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah. So, you grab the pork belly and just cube it up instead of doing what’s called burnt ends or something. Just try it completely.

Ramsey Russell: Oh my god, it’s so good.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah, it’s really good.

Ramsey Russell: I could eat my weight in. You cooked one night on the grill, and gosh, what? We had steak?

Eduardo Samayoa: So we had a skirt steak. So here in Guatemala, usually, like in America, you cut the cows several times. I would like to explain to Americans that the American cuts are more elegant. You see a nice rib bit as an elegant cut. It’s cut perfectly, whether it’s a skirt steak or a porterhouse. If you see a skirt steak, it’s just like a little flank steak. It’s not elegant. That’s the Argentinean style of cutting the cow. So what you had was a skirt steak. We had some beef ribs, and then we have something here; if you find it in the US, it’s slightly different, which is more like a Brazilian cut. And yeah, we slow-roasted it. It took like an hour and a half, remember?

Ramsey Russell: Well, it was amazing. We had all kinds of good stuff. You cooked some of the blue wings. We shot that. That was really good.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah, the blue wings, we did with some smoked spices. It had garlic and onion powder, more like a barbecue rub. And then we had the garlic butter.

Ramsey Russell: That’s what I was going to ask you. Let’s talk about crème chelette.

Eduardo Samayoa: Oh, Chel Teppe.

Ramsey Russell: Crème Chel Teppe.

Eduardo Samayoa: So, crème chel teppe. It’s fresh cream, which in America is hard to find. I used to remember.

Ramsey Russell: It’s not heavy cream, it’s not whipping cream.

Eduardo Samayoa: It’s right in the middle, like you can put that thing on anything. It’s just great.

Ramsey Russell: I probably have to go to, like, an ethnic store.

Eduardo Samayoa: No, I used to find it in North Carolina. It was at Harris Teeter. But it’s just a little different. It’s called different. I forgot the name of it. But once you find it, you can find it in the U.S. It’s common. It just has a different feel; it’s not marketed well. So chel teppe is this pepper in Guatemala, which is a little tree. And it’s nice because the peppers are coming out in little colors, and the little balls are tiny and like balls.

Ramsey Russell: Wow, they have the same thing in Mexico.

Eduardo Samayoa: You see that tree? It’s a little tree, and it’s very colorful. And there are two ways: you cut onions, and you do it with the water that you had the other day. So it’s like water chili. But with the cream and the chili, you can put that thing out anything. Well, you had it with beef, and you had it with eggs.

Ramsey Russell: I had it today with something else. I had it today with that leftover duck. Because they served these corn tortillas. And that’s something else about Guatemala’s big distinction. Every little community we went through I’m watching the outside roads; we’re driving bumper to bumper traffic in the little communities, and there are all these little open-air shops; there’s no internal air conditioning, and Guatemala is hot. I mean, it’s like May or June in Mississippi, 365 days a year, at least. And so everybody’s outside cooking, everybody’s outside eating, everybody’s outside laying in the hammock to stay cool, and they’re cooking. But everywhere you look, there are ladies cooking corn tortillas. And I was talking to somebody tonight at dinner, and she was saying that a lot of these places around here advertise fresh corn tortillas four times a day, three times a day. If you want flour tortillas, you can get them. But you’ve got to go to the grocery store.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Nobody eats them.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah, tortillas here are a big thing. Everyone eats tortillas. First of all, it’s cheap to be very cheap. Usually, people in the field work five or six in the morning, five or six in lunch, and five or six in dinner.

Ramsey Russell: Just a few taco-sized fresh corn tortillas.

Eduardo Samayoa: They are not made out of corn. They are made out of maize.

Ramsey Russell: Oh, I know what I put in gum, Crema chel teppe. Today was, golly man, at lunch today they brought out some Guatemalan chili rellenos, which are nothing like Mexican chili rellenos. And they’re better. Because I saw that Chel Tappe, I put it on that too.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: It’s good on anything.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: I think it’s good with a straw.

Eduardo Samayoa: It’s amazing, and people like it.

Ramsey Russell: And that’s a real Guatemalan time.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah. Chel Teppe is probably the most common dish here to eat because most people eat it because you have to buy the cream and make it. But most people just chop up onions, cilantro, and water and dilute the chili, just like the other day when we had beef with beef broth.

Ramsey Russell: We’re going to talk about that. But the first night, the condiments were brought out. The other one that hit me was chile carbonero.

Eduardo Samayoa: Oh yeah, that’s very good.

Ramsey Russell: It’s kind of like a chimichurri sauce, but it ain’t.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah. It is very famous here. We’ll get you some before you leave. It’s a lot smokier. It’s very, very smoked.

Ramsey Russell: Multiplied goodness.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah, it’s very smoky. There are many ways to cook it. Actually, I have a belt company that we just launched in the U.S. And my business partner is launching a chile carbonero in the US that he wants to sell. But it’s a really good new trend, and I want to say that you can put the stuff on anything. I personally love it. I put it on almost every meal because it’s not that spicy, but it gives you that smokiness. And there are several ways you can do it with cream, just as people do it with oil. So it’s very popular; there are a lot of different recipes for it.


Delicious Dining: Food in Guatemala Vs. America

 It’s a different world down here. 


Ramsey Russell: We’re coming out of duck hunting. And I was starving. And I know y’all could tell I was quiet. And when I’m quiet, I’m probably hungry. And I said, Hey, let’s stop and get some chicken, and you were like, No, we’re going to get fried chicken. And again here, just imagine this, guys: we’re going down the road, tropical lush banana plantations, coconut plantations, Freddie King, and muddy waters booming, and my host says, No, we’re going to get fried chicken. And I’m like, Well, that’s kind of the Mississippi Delta. But where did we go? And I should have just asked this way: who’s the wealthiest family in Guatemala and why?

Eduardo Samayoa: Well, there are many successful people in Guatemala, but for your competitors, is that where we took you? And it’s amazing, like everybody loves competitors here in Guatemala. It’s the backbone of what’s called fast food, if you want to call it that. It’s great chicken. And they have a lot of different things; like, I told you we bought traditional pieces of chicken; we bought the leg; we bought the wings; but then I gave you the summary and said, “Is this a nugget?” And I was like, “No, it’s not another; it’s just a chunk of real chicken breast,” and it’s really good and everybody loves it, so they’ve grown massively.

Ramsey Russell: There’s no KFC.

Eduardo Samayoa: There’s actually KFC; it started a couple of years ago, but I’ve never tried KFC in my life. I’ve never had a piece of KFC chicken in my life.

Ramsey Russell: I can’t imagine there.

Eduardo Samayoa: Why would I?

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Eduardo Samayoa: I mean, I bet it’s good. Some people say it’s good. Some people in Guatemala base their food choices on price. But it just never crosses my mind, like once you like something, you just stick to it; it’s so good. And I mean, you try to; even though we bought it fresh, we had to drive for an hour. But after an hour, it was delicious.

Ramsey Russell: Fried chicken just gets better.

Eduardo Samayoa: I remember telling you once you got on the plane from Guatemala. You’re flying to Houston, right? I said I would bet you anything that somebody on that plane will have a bag of chicken because they sell it at the airport, and you can take it on the plane and take it through customs in the U.S., and the plane is going to smell like fried chicken.

Ramsey Russell: What were you talking to about why they’re so successful besides making great chicken? Everybody in the country likes it. Like your upper crust will just run down and grab it. We’ll go grab McDonald’s, but a lot of families love it. They might have to save their money for a couple of weeks, but they’re going to take the family out. 

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah. I think of that every time I see it. I mean, the upper class may just order it like you’re ordering McDonald’s, but you will see the person who saved maybe 15 days of their salary to take their family out to dinner there, and it’s just a good product, and it’s great that the sauces are great, which everybody loves in Guatemala.

Ramsey Russell: Having lived in both worlds, so to speak. Speaking of McDonald’s, how does McDonald’s in America compare to McDonald’s in Guatemala?

Eduardo Samayoa: Oh, McDonald’s in Guatemala is a culture. Well, I told you I started working for this footwear company. Now, I’m their business partner. Every time my brother and I were like, “You’ve got to try my mom’s,” and they were like, “No, we’re in Guatemala, man.” Why? I was like,” Just try it once.” And it’s a joke that the burger looks like the one in the commercial. It’s perfect. And it’s because people love working at McDonald’s; you’re such a great company that they-

Ramsey Russell: It’s not a bad job.

Eduardo Samayoa: It’s not a bad job.

Ramsey Russell: People want to work there.

Eduardo Samayoa: People want to work at McDonald’s here. It’s a great company here, with a lot of work for the people.

Ramsey Russell: It looks picture-perfect every time.

Eduardo Samayoa: Do me a favor when you’re traveling tomorrow; there’s a McDonald’s inside the airport. Once you go through immigration and security, there’s one inside; just go take a look at it. Just order something, McMuffin. You’ll see what I’m talking about.

Ramsey Russell: They take pride.

Eduardo Samayoa: They take pride in their work, yeah.

Ramsey Russell: That’s so strange because I think McDonald’s is being thrown together and shoved out the window, mass produced by people that really don’t want to be working.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah. I say that in the U.S., it may be the job that you have to do, but you really hate being there. But here in Guatemala, it’s a great job. People take pride in it. It’s a different world down here. That’s why people love working here. I mean, they treat them right. I mean, it works.

Ramsey Russell: Since I’ve been here, the hospitality has been through the roof.  And when I think of southern hospitality, I think of food. And it’s like everywhere I’ve gone, every day, every meal, you and y’all and everybody I’ve met have wanted to introduce me to the different foods, the native foods, the native cultures, and all this good stuff. And last night we were eating dinner, and I walked, went out to tour the dairy, and we came back in. That’s cool the way that guy had this calf’s name. I couldn’t believe it. 150 calfs just sitting there, whatever they’re doing, and the man opened the gate and said the name, and all those cats just stood there, and coming around the corner sliding round, and third, here comes the calf, whoever that name was, whatever name he called, come stopped, got the leaf put on, and then come running back out to mama to get milk. That was amazing.

Eduardo Samayoa: I was joking with the owners, so I was like, “Not even my dog’s response there to his name is that well, it’s yeah, and it’s amazing.”

Ramsey Russell: I’ve eaten a lot of beef stew in my life. We have come in from the tour, and there’s a big old pot of stew that the staff has cooked. And I’ve eaten a lot of beef stew. I mean a lot of stew. So we’re going to eat beef stew tonight, okay? The way they served that beast to you in a three-course meal was different than any beef you had ever heard. Describe what we ate.

Eduardo Samayoa: So here it is called cassio, and usually there are several days in the week; in my house we do it on Wednesday. A lot of people in Guatemala do it on Monday. So there are some restaurants here in Guatemala that are really fancy, and on Monday, they will have that beef. It’s very traditional here in Guatemala. They put all the vegetables there. They put the bones in. It’s a bone-in beef broth. And you put rice, you put squash, you put carrots, potatoes, and yucca. But it was very delicious, and it fills you up.

Ramsey Russell: But they cook it in one big pot.

Eduardo Samayoa: “One big pot.”

Ramsey Russell: And they took the vegetables out and the meat out, then they brought the broth, which had been cooking the savory stock, to the table, served it with rice and shredded meat, and then you top it with lime or some kind of great sauce they had with it. kind of like a chimichurri with lime, and then they brought the vegetables out. So I had a plate full of vegetables, and then they brought these ribs out. Like a three-course meal and a pot of stew, and it was unbelievable.

Eduardo Samayoa: It was really good. Put you to sleep.

Ramsey Russell: They put me to sleep.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: It put me to sleep.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah, that is very traditional, and they do it either with beef, they do it with pork, or the most traditional is beef and chicken.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, unbelievable.

Eduardo Samayoa: Usually with the chicken, you get the broth if they put a whole chicken leg in it.

Ramsey Russell: Toto, what are your hunting origins? I mean, not many people recreationally hunt in the country of Guatemala.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yes.

Ramsey Russell: What are your origins in hunting?

Eduardo Samayoa: My father always told me stories about how he used to hunt as a kid with his father. They love to hunt the pigeons; they used to duck back in the day; you could have a lot of stuff with deer; everything in Guatemala And my father always told me the story that once he was hunting. I think it was, if everyone’s story is correct, that he was hunting in a canoe, and they gave him the shotgun, and they said, The next thing that comes to shoot, try the shotgun. And that was a double-trigger shotgun, and he pulled both triggers. He ended up in the water. So that’s always been the case, but ever since I was a child, I remember my father giving me a wind rifle, and I’ll get to that story after, and he gave me a harpoon. So I started. Mostly, my basic hunting has always been more harpoon, spear fishing,

Ramsey Russell: Spear fishing

Eduardo Samayoa: Spear fishing I love to spearfish because spearfishing usually happens when we believe it is really close to Guatemala. You hunt for fresh fish and fresh lobster. And it was funny because I was too young to scuba dive. So I used to go snorkeling with my mother, and my mother used to carry the bag of fish and everything I killed. I only kill fish I eat. I never hunted anything I didn’t eat. And in the middle of this coral reef, my mom was carrying all these fish, sharks, and barracudas. She was my partner in crime. And so that’s how I started with everything. So then I moved to the wind rifle. And there was this funny story, so my best friend has been my friend forever. He was my neighbor in Guatemala, and I had my wind rifle, but I didn’t have any sites, and my friend had one of these wind rifles. We were super young, and he had like this gigantic scope on the rifle, and it was this one. Have you seen the wind rifle? The shooter got a 22 millimeter pellet.


Ramsey Russell: Air gun. You called it a wind rifle. It’s an air gun.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah. And it was this little 22-gauge air gun. We used to sit at my house, and my grandmother in my house in Guatemala lives right in front, but we’re just divided by a fence, which is a huge garden. It’s just like a grass field. So there’s to be a telephone line, and all the white-winged pigeons just sit there. I must have been like 10 years old, and my friend and I used to just hunt them all like snipers. And then I remember once my British stepfather just came down, almost like he wanted to murder us; he was like, Stop hunting my pigeons. And I always loved hunting. He was so angry. It was so funny because we didn’t miss it. It was just like we put it in the crosshairs, we got the pigeons, and we just gave it to the staff. And it was super funny. So I started hunting as a child, and I always wanted to hunt here in Guatemala. But Guatemala has a law that says you can buy your gun in Guatemala when you’re 18 years old. However, the law in Guatemala states that you can have a gun in your home but not carry it, so if you want to conceal carry or simply carry any weapon, you must be 25.So I had to wait until I was 20, basically I was 25, or if you’re 18 and you want to move the weapon from one place from your house to another place, you have to get up, go to the weapons place, get a permit, and pay, like, I think it’s like $25. It’s just a pain because the gallas in Guatemala work. If you own a gun, you have a title, like the title of your car or your house. The gun comes with the title. So if I sell you a gun, I have to transfer the title to you, and that has to go through the government. So they keep really tight control over who has a gun. We have great gun laws in Guatemala compared to any other country, I will say. I don’t know. I would say we have great gun laws compared to any country after the U.S. I mean, you can have an AR-15 here in Guatemala legally and carry it in your car. You can have 308.

Ramsey Russell: Nearly everybody I’ve met here carries a handgun.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah. Guatemala is very well armed, which is great.

Ramsey Russell: And I asked the other day why, well, there’s petty crime, but somebody answered because we like guns.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah, people like guns, and you can have them. I mean, if you go to Mexico, you can only carry a 380 and a shotgun. But here you can have an AR-15, which is the dream weapon for many people outside the U.S. that see this rifle and say, Oh my God, it’s an AR-15 because marines use them and stuff like that. But yeah, you can have basically anything you want here, which is great. And there are some flaws in the gun laws. Like people always tell me, it’s a great debate over gun laws in the U.S. It’s a great conversation. The people who don’t like guns are the people who like guns. The sole difference here in Guatemala is that, like I told you, if I sell you a gun like in the U.S., you have to have a background check. But if you go to a gun show, you can just buy the gun you want. So that’s something good about Guatemala. Like if I want to sell you a gun, I have to sell you the title. So if I’m a psychotic killer the government knows about, you won’t get the gun. But it comes with flaws and stuff like that. But I mean, it’s great for the people, like everybody can protect themselves, and it’s great for hunting. So when I turned 25, the first thing I did was buy a Glock, get a shotgun, and start hunting.

Ramsey RussellWhat do you like about duck hunting?

Eduardo Samayoa: You know there are 2, 3, and 4 things I like about duck hunting. First of all, I love being in the wild and going to the blind. Even though I was mad walking through that mud today, at the end of the day, it was fun. You’re out there; it’s like 6 a.m., sunrise, heat, and you see the ducks. And then the other part is the people you meet. I mean, usually I tell people that if you’re a good hunter, you’ve got to meet cool people.

Ramsey Russell: It’s a social sport.

Eduardo Samayoa: It’s a social sport. You talk usually about the same subject. People should like the same stuff. It’s just a great hobby to have, and then the places you get to travel to hunt are just great, but mainly it’s a great hobby and you meet great people. I mean, most of the guys here that you met, I’ve known them for years, but the couple of guys here, I met them like three years ago, and they feel like really close friends.

Ramsey Russell: I met him for five days; I feel like family.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah, so it’s a great thing to do. Something different. Here in Guatemala, people usually just go to the beach, go to the lake, or stuff like that, but a few selected people have taken up this hobby of going out into the wild and just getting ducks. I mean, it’s unheard of. Many people here who are close friends of mine don’t even know what a blue-wing teal is like. If I show them, they just don’t know what it is.

Ramsey Russell: One of the guys, one of the helpers today, we stopped and picked up the dad, jumped in the car, and there were a bunch of ducks going. When I asked what they were, he didn’t know. He knew that there were ducks, not birds, but he didn’t know what kind of duck he was. He couldn’t tell us or even really describe him. He just knew ducks.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah, here it’s like, people, even you didn’t know we had ducks here.

Ramsey Russell: I know you had ducks here, but I didn’t know you had duck hunting or a duck.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah, there are ducks everywhere.

Ramsey Russell: I mean, because they go south of here to Nicaragua and even further south. But Guatemala has never heard of duck hunting in Guatemala.

Eduardo Samayoa: Even my close friends always tell me, Please take me duck hunting. I was like, Do you really want to go? Do you like carrying all the ducks, setting up the decoys, cutting up the blinds, even preparing your cooler? Like my friends here, we take our time the day before, taking some water, some beer, or whatever we’re going to do to have the greatest day the next day.

Ramsey Russell: For the record, y’all do a better job of that part of it than any single person I’ve ever hunted with. Number one, you come pulling up in a full-size Chevrolet truck; I did not expect to see that, and a lot of these Latin American countries drive small trucks. And then you peel back the cover, and you look like a Yeti cooler commercial, and by lunch on the first day, I realized this is a sweltering hot environment. And we all had Yeti coolers slapped full of ice-cold drinks. Yes, I became a huge Yeti fan in that moment.

Eduardo Samayoa: So when I got into hunting, I was like, Okay, I got the shotgun. Okay,  let’s go to Bass Pro Shop. I bought so much hunting gear. I was such a rookie. I still have this. It’s a jacket with leaves that’s for deer hunting. I never used it in my life. And I bought so much stuff, and I’ve been learning through the years what to take, like what to use and what not to use. So here in Guatemala, we joke a lot. It’s like, okay, we want to keep cool, so we used to hunt with the gigantic boots, the snake boots. I mean, my friend here hunts crocodiles because it’s cooler. Like there’s less heat on his feet. But then the Yeti—I mean, there’s nothing worse than being in the dead-hot sun and not having anything to drink.

Ramsey Russell: There’s nothing worse than a hot, cold, hot beer or hot water.

Eduardo Samayoa: God, so I take my time prepping the cooler because I want to have ice, I want to have a nice drink, or something, and Yeti just works amazing. There’s nothing more relaxing than just coming back from the hunt and throwing everything on the back of the truck, knowing that it’s not going to crack a break or anything. So yeah, they do a great job.


Guatemalan Duck Hunting Culture

And the great duck hunting, the duck hunting culture, you and your friends, the Yeti ice chest, the cold drinks, the quantity of ducks, the quality of ducks, the quality of the guns, and the quality of the ammo. 


Ramsey Russell: Life is full of surprises. Guatemala, on many levels, has been full of surprises. And by that, I mean there are so many things I just didn’t expect. And the great duck hunting, the duck hunting culture, you and your friends, the Yeti ice chest, the cold drinks, the quantity of ducks, the quality of ducks, the quality of the guns, and the quality of the ammo. The whole thing is just moment by moment, day by day, and I’m like, just like wow. But I’ve got to tell you something else. I’ll share this with you all: duck hunting. I’m not below the equator. I’m not in the southern hemisphere. I’m not halfway across the world, east or west. I’m due south. I’m hunting my ducks, we’re hunting our ducks, and we’re hunting North American species right here. And I’ve always said that because I’ve traveled around the United States, traveling around with all the landscape changes and all the things going on, you know, just seems to be Duck hunting and duck population stuff seemed like death by a thousand cuts. And I posted a picture on Facebook of us on our first day holding a bunch of blue wings, which didn’t even hold up but half the legal limit. Just hold up some properties. And I had about 5 or 6 Puerto Ricans. It was in Spanish; I had to translate it. He came in and just waylaid me about overharvesting and overexploitation of populations of ducks. No, if you believe the foremost waterfowl biologists in North America, they’ll tell you that hunter-related harvest does not impact populations. It’s all about the habitat. And we went down and hunted, and gosh, the mangroves, the beautiful ride, the whole thing about the ferries and getting there and doing everything. And when I least expected it, bam, it was just like a punch in the gut. I see all these salt pits. And the industry of sea salt doesn’t look all clean and sparkly like it does sitting on a Kroger shelf. I’m going to tell you when you see it get made. But it was dry. We took that ferry, and the boys had to get out and push us across a bar, and then there was a track hoe out there digging a channel because this is a way of life. A water taxi is a brisk business in that part of Guatemala. And it’s low water. And then we go back to look at an area. And I learned that between the sugar cane farmers and the salt pit farmers, they’re draining the mangroves and the natural wetlands to do salt and sugarcane. And that’s when it kind of struck me like, Holy cow, man, if I’m thinking waterfowl in Mississippi, waterfowl in North Dakota, waterfowl in Canada, or waterfowl at home, I’ve got to think way beyond my backyard. I’ve got to think clear down to Central America, and I don’t have any control. I don’t have any say in how a man makes a living down here with salt or sugar cane. But it just really struck me. Like we stopped and looked at a wetland, you sat there and said, Man, right here last year I shot a bunch of ducks, and we’re sitting there looking at it, and you can already see the little levees farming. Well, with things now going into a salt pit, can you speak a little bit about that?

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah, I mean, it was the news of it; even my father told me. Thank God for the people; they’re getting organized. The worst part is not the big corporations of sugar, but what I’m doing out there. It’s the small farmer who is not educated on how he’s hurting the environment. Because there are many big sugar king farmers here, they’re really green. They’re trying to help, and those, I think, are not the problem.

Ramsey Russell: I’m not.

Eduardo Samayoa: No. Yeah, no, I get it. I know I totally get it, but yeah. So many mangroves there are; it’s just amazing. I mean.

Ramsey Russell: It’s an incredible habitat.

Eduardo Samayoa: You know that I went duck hunting with my friend the other day, and it took us 2.5 hours to get to the point that used to take us 30 minutes because you have to get up in the mud and pull the boat because they’re just drying up the land. And finally somebody stood up because they really dried up the land, but there’s a lot of shrimp in the area, a lot of crab in the area, all the larva, and everything is just dying off because they don’t know where to go. And then the duck doesn’t come in, and it affects us. But yeah, it’s amazing how easy it is to just dry up the land. It’s very sad.

Ramsey Russell: But you did say, I mean, those waters in terms of fishermen in terms of weight, I mean, we were walking down on the improv hunt, we were just going through a mangrove and a little dyke. I did wear Crocs. I wish I had my boot.

Eduardo Samayoa: Croc walk.

Ramsey Russell: And what a heck of a hunt did that turn out to be? But like, there’s just one of the little indigenous locals can be seen riding a bike. He’s got this tiny little homemade net, c—ching something—and I mean just that nuanced level, like a child catching cra—fish in a ditch—that is that maAnd that part of the wetland that is drying up, that wetlands, will deplete not only his livelihood, but also the commercial fisherman’s, duck hunting enjoyment, or duck hunting habitat. Hunting I might jump in my truck and drive a mile to go get a loaf of bread at the grocery store. Forrest can be riding a bike. He’s got this tiny little homemade net, catching something, and I mean just that nuanced level, like a child catching crawfish in a ditch that is that man’s livelihood. And that part of that wetland that drying up, that wetlands going to deplete not just his livelihood or the commercial fisherman or the duck hunting enjoyment or the duck hunting habitat. But just the way that the way I might just go jump in my truck and drive a mile to go get a loaf of bread at the grocery. Man, those people are trafficking up and down those waterways, crossing the river to go to work, feed their families, shop, and go grocery shopping, and now they can’t get across the river. It’s unbelievable how it affects people.

Eduardo Samayoa: Oh yeah, they fish for that; they don’t even sell that; that’s their food. And even the catfish are dying off; the shrimp are dying off, and the crab is dying off. So it’s a huge problem. Thank God they addressed it, and I think it’s going to be fixed. I think they’re just pushing it to the limit right now.

Ramsey Russell: You meet some interesting characters. First off, I am going to want to talk about the boys over there that we worked with. But we were on the ferry going somewhere, and somebody passed by a fishing boat, and they started hollering and carrying on with him, and you told me what they were talking about. This man probably never owned a pair of shoes in his life.

Eduardo Samayoa: Oh yeah. So the guy we hunted that day, I’ve been hunting with him since I was 25. So I know him really well. I held him up in a couple of situations, and I always joked with him, even when we got the gator or a spiny thorn. So yeah, he was talking about this guy. First of all, he’s drunk 24/7, and he’s been drunk for like 30 years.

Ramsey Russell: Not the guy with whom you worked, but the guy you’re talking about.

Eduardo Samayoa: No. He said he’s been drunk for at least 30 years of his life. He’s just drunk every day, and he never wore shoes. So he steps on barbed wire to, like, stomp it. He just steps on it, and it doesn’t hurt.

Ramsey Russell: His feet don’t hurt?

Eduardo Samayoa: He has natural rubber feet.

Ramsey Russell: Tell me the bet you had; I don’t remember the exact details. You had a bet once with your guide.

Eduardo Samayoa: So I always try to make funny bets with our guide.


Hunting Mourning Doves


Ramsey Russell: And you’re a big man, and he is this wiry little local guy. I always had a smile. I had a gold tooth. He’s hilarious.

Eduardo Samayoa: He’s hilarious. So this is recent. This is probably in January. We’re hunting mourning doves. That’s the day I got the ring dog from South Dakota.

Ramsey Russell: Tell that story first.

Eduardo Samayoa: So they were cutting the sesame seeds. So this is a great hunt. They had freshly cut sesame. There are sesame seeds everywhere. So doves come; it’s crazy hunting. And the mourning dove was a really fast dove to hunt. So if you hunt, I always say that if you hunt a mourning dove, you can hunt any flying animal in the world. It’s very hard. So I’m shooting, and I shoot this dove, and they bring it over, and it has a band on it. So I posted on my Instagram, and my friend was like, Oh my God, I can’t believe. Do you want me to register for you? I was like, Yeah, I’m hunting; still, can you do it? And I got the certificate, and it came from South Dakota.

Ramsey Russell: Abandoned mourning dove. You shot it this January. When was it banned?

Eduardo Samayoa: Let me try here and find the picture really quickly because I know where it is. Let me see. Yeah, I shot it this year. But yeah, I couldn’t believe it. I mean, people.

Ramsey Russell: I can’t believe a mourning dove flew all the way down to Central America from the south.

Eduardo Samayoa: It was hatched in 2020.

Ramsey Russell: Golly.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yep. And I shot it in November 2021. Yes, I came from a location near South Dakota.

Ramsey Russell: God, that’s unbelievable.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Have you ever shot a banded duck down here?

Eduardo Samayoa: No banded duck. It’s still the curse, but I’ve hunted a lot of ducks but haven’t banded them yet.

Ramsey Russell: I think that shelter you shot those boys into couldn’t find highway.

Eduardo Samayoa: I bet he was. Yeah. So and the funny thing is, I hunted a banded duck, and then he came, and he was like, You know what? You owe me money because it’s banded. I was like, Hell no, I’m not going to pay you.

Ramsey Russell: Talk about this bet y’all are making.

Eduardo Samayoa: Every time I go hunting, we try to make a funny bet. So there’s this plant in Guatemala called Chichicaste, which is basically poison ivy. And if you step on it or it hits your skin, it burns. Well, there is this poison ivy that basically here in Guatemala has a bigger brother called bougainvillea, which translates to English as warm bread. On this little plant, I was wearing 511 tactical pants. That’s the one I’d like to wear the khaki tactical pants with when I hunt. This plant will go through your pants and touch your legs. That’s how sharp it is. And it has this little milk, and it really hurts. So when I was hunting this band of ducks, the people picking up the ducks for us were all wearing flip-flops, and they were in pain. I was like, Why the hell would you come to this place knowing that this plant exists and work with the flops? Yeah, I was like, okay. So at the end of the hunt, I told this guy that if we had an over-and-under Beretta and he shot over mourning doves at the same time, I would basically give him $150. But if he missed, he had to get naked and sit on one of those plants. And he took the bet. And the moment he took the bed, I told this guy to shoot. I was like, I’ll give you $100 just to miss. And that guy is a nice friend because I would have missed the shot just to see what happened. And yeah, I had to pay him, and I paid him. And yesterday, when we were on the ferry, this guy came over, and I remember he sold us an alligator. Yeah, that guy was probably a gang member. But I felt so bad for the poor alligator. It costs us $5.

Ramsey Russell: $5 U.S.

Eduardo Samayoa: $5 for that little, tiny baby gator. And I felt so bad when I grabbed it with my hand. He was angry. And I told the guy that if he could buy his nuts, I would give him $100. And he said no. And I went to 150; he thought of it. He started thinking, but then he said the same thing.

Ramsey Russell: Dang.

Eduardo Samayoa: That gator has bacteria in his mouth. That’s the only reason he did. It doesn’t matter the pain; the bacteria are the problem. But yeah, I always try to make funny bets with him. And the other day, well, when we were shooting you left to the other side, I told him if he shot this bird, it was a little, tiny bird. I don’t even know what it’s called. This is a little baby pigeon; they fly really fast. If he missed, he had to chug a beer, and he hit it. And I had to chug a frozen beer at 8 a.m. in the morning. I think he took a video of me. But yeah, it’s part of the hunt with this guy. I love joking with him.

Ramsey Russell: It was entertaining.

Eduardo Samayoa: It is hilarious.

Ramsey Russell: The ride to the place was always entertaining.

Eduardo Samayoa: It’s an experience to go with this guy.

Ramsey Russell: Can you talk about a rifle? You told me about a rifle; you’re talking about a couple of rifles. You tell them about a rifle that belonged to your grandfather. Can you tell that story? Are you comfortable telling me that story?

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah, I can tell.

Ramsey Russell: Because years ago, while Guatemala was embroiled in a civil war, And it sounded—I don’t know all the history, but it reminded me a lot of the kind of shining light, socialist, communist something going on down in Peru in parts of Latin America. It’s kind of a battle down here, but it’s no longer like edit stable, and your granddad had a story going back to the Civil War.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yes, so my dad’s father was kidnapped.

Ramsey Russell: The first kidnapped in Guatemala?

Eduardo Samayoa: They say he’s the first one. And we’re talking about guns, and you said you had a couple old shotguns; you were talking about old rifles and stuff. So when my grandfather was kidnapped, it was so new here in Guatemala that the son of the kidnapper swallowed a bullet and was dying. He was choking to death. So my grandfather took the bullet, like the Heimlich maneuver, and basically

Ramsey Russell: Why did he swallow the bullet?

Eduardo Samayoa: Kids, you know. He must have been like four years old. I have no idea how old he was. But this kid just swallowed a big bullet. And so they let him go, but he still had to do his ransom stuff. But my grandfather asked, Nobody’s going to believe me that I was kidnapped. It’s so new, nobody believed it. So they gave him this M1A1 carbine rifle, which was used in, I think, World War II. I think that lieutenants carry rifles. It’s a beautiful carbine. And here in Guatemala, you can register rifles once and again; you can say you inherited them, and after a legal process, you get the rifle.

Ramsey Russell: Get a new title.

Eduardo Samayoa: And I have the rifle with me, and I shoot it often. It’s just a really nice shot. It has clips, and it’s a 30-millimeter carbon bullet. It’s a great rifle to shoot. I have it. It is in pristine condition.

Ramsey Russell: He was kidnapped. One of the kidnapper’s children swallowed a bullet, and he performed Heimlich, and the kidnapper said, Well, I’m going to let you go, but you still have to pay me ransom. 

Eduardo Samayoa: That’s the story I heard.

Ramsey Russell: Here’s a gun, because nobody’s going to believe you otherwise.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yes. Next time you come, I have the rifle still, but I have to put it on my permit to carry it because right now I never renew the license. So I have to renew the license to be able to take it to the gun range or anywhere you want to shoot it. But it’s a great shot, the rifle. I have a couple of videos of my friends shooting the rifle. And it is great. I took my brother to this gun range here in Guatemala, and we’re shooting many different rifles. We’re shooting, obviously, the AR-15; we shoot at paper targets because when you shoot handguns, you shoot a metal target. But we shot this rifle, the metal targets; my brother shot like 20 targets in the metal targets, and he left a hole in each target. It just went through the metal. So it’s a powerful rifle, and it’s great. I mean, with my dad, he loves collecting knives and guns, and we have a couple of old rifles. We don’t shoot that often because it’s difficult to get the bullets for them. So we have an 1892 Marlin rifle that shoots a 38-40 caliber. Very random cowboy shot. We have only about 100 rounds. So we can’t really shoot it because after we’re done with the round, it’s nearly impossible to import just 20 runs. You have to import about 50,000 of them.

Ramsey Russell: You’re going to have to save and reload them.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah. We have about 200 cartridges. I think we’re just going to buy it because it’s legal to just buy everything you make yourself except the gun powder.

Ramsey Russell: Have you got a surf and turf burger on your holy supper menu?

Eduardo Samayoa: No.

Ramsey Russell: Or in the plant?

Eduardo Samayoa: No, that’s just more coastal.

Ramsey Russell: Was that not the best hamburger?

Eduardo Samayoa: Oh, it was great. Paolo was the one who said I didn’t even open the menu. I got the menu, and I was like, Yeah, give us the shrimp burgers, and it was just delicious.

Ramsey Russell: When you said shrimp burger, I had to look at it, and it was a hamburger, a real hamburger. There was a restaurant I grew up eating at. I think that restaurant has been around for 100 years and has the best bacon cheeseburger on earth, and I quit eating them. I just quit eating when the Cherokee restaurant closed because there was no comparison. And that burger there was like a Cherokee burger, a cheeseburger, with an inch of melted cheese layered with fresh gold shrimp. It was unbelievable.

Eduardo Samayoa: It was great. That place is nice. It’s been growing. I usually don’t go there that often. But I told my girlfriend, We’ve got to start coming back. It was great. And then we went shooting after, which was so convenient because it was five minutes away.

Ramsey Russell: What a Beautiful You know it’s 95°.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yes.

Ramsey Russell: And 95° dove hunting in Mississippi out in the middle of a field. Oh, I feel like somebody’s got a magnifying glass on top of my bald head. I’m about to die. And we got in the shade of that old cashew tree. We’re a half-mile from the Pacific Ocean. There’s a nice ocean breeze blowing. I was as comfortable as I could possibly be, and the dove started flying in. I had so much fun; we sat there kind of together, took turns shooting, laughing, busting each other’s balls, and had such a great time. It was – really I’m not mad at doves, but I really, truly enjoyed that afternoon.

Eduardo Samayoa: It was great. You know that breeze there? No mosquitoes.

Ramsey Russell: No.

Eduardo Samayoa: Are you shot in the crocs?

Ramsey Russell: Shot in the crocs.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yes.


Guatemala: Life Before Tourism

It’s a beautiful beach. Great atmosphere. You’re never, in a million years, going to see this place advertised in a tourist magazine.


Ramsey Russell: Yeah. Well, that’s all I brought that day. Back to the group growing up in both worlds, part of Guatemala, it reminds me or makes me think of what Mexico must have been like 50 or 60 years ago before the tourism. And I think the hotel where we ate that cheeseburger is a perfect example. I was telling some friends about it, and I said it’s the kind of place; it’s full of tourists, Europeans, Americans, and locals surfing. It’s a beautiful beach. Great atmosphere. You’re never, in a million years, going to see this place advertised in a tourist magazine. If you know about the issue there, you know. And the whole country of Guatemala feels like it, especially with respect to duck hunting and the culture of the food. There are major surprises here. You’ve got brothers and sisters that live in America. You’ve been to America. You speak English. You love America. You’ve got business interests in America. But you came back to Guatemala. What do you love most about Guatemala? I know it’s your home, but I’m saying you’re kind of straddling both worlds. Why Guatemala? 

Eduardo Samayoa: After I spent time there, I loved North Carolina when I was living there. I loved it, and then the opportunity came in California. I lived in Santa Barbara, which was a great little beach town.

Ramsey Russell: Beautiful.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah beautiful. Like an hour and a half away from L.A. People were super nice. Everything was perfect, but then I had to travel out to Guatemala for work, sometimes stay three months here, and then go back to my apartment in California, and it just wasn’t making sense. And every time I came back here, my friends were older; it was a different lifestyle. You know, there are different things you can do here in Guatemala that you can do in the States. You know that over the weekend you’re going to go to the Pacific or Atlantic. There are lakes, and there’s a lot to do. I love riding motorcycles, so I like to go on adventures on the motorcycle, and there’s stuff like that. I think you can do it in the U.S.; it’s just more expensive. But you know, my friends are here, the culture is here, and I really like it.

Ramsey Russell: It’s kind of like, Home is where you are.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yes. I always wanted to come back, and it’s a great country to live in.

Ramsey Russell: It’s a great country. It’sIt’s one of the most pleasant surprises and I needed this. I feel like I needed this. And you know, my heart is happy. My heart is full from the hospitality that you all have extended. I associated my tr-gger-pulling appetite with one of the most pleasant surprises and I needed this. I feel like I needed this. And you know, my heart is happy. My heart is full from the hospitality that you all have extended. I associated my trigger pulling appetite. And my head is swimming with all the newness, adventure, and surprises I experience here. Guatemala’s a wonderful country.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah. People are surprised. You know, people usually travel; imagine Costa Rica, which is beautiful with great beaches and rainforest. But as a metropolitan city, like, remember when we did dinner the other night? It’s just that we have malls; it’s very developed. People usually think, Okay, I’m leaving the US for a third-world country, and I’m going to dirt roads and stuff, and it’s different. You can see the city growing every day. I mean, I love it. I can’t complain. I mean, obviously, some places are not safe because of the violence.

Ramsey Russell: Chicago, Mississippi, anywhere.

Eduardo Samayoa: So yeah, you can’t really argue because every place has a little. I bet there are some places in Jackson, Mississippi, where you’re like, I’m not going to drive through there.

Ramsey Russell: No.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah. So it’s great. I mean, people are nice. I always try to see the best in people. It’s such a great experience to live here. So I enjoy it.

Ramsey Russell: Toto, before we wrap up, how can people connect with you on social media? I know you’ve got a personal page and a business page. Holy smokes. How can people find it?

Eduardo Samayoa: I mean, my Instagram—you know it’s funny. I’ll show you another page. I always had a hobby. It’s either hunting or I love classic cars.

Ramsey Russell: We didn’t talk about your car.


Hunting Experiences in Guatemala in a Vintage Vehicle??

Mine is from 1936, and my dad’s is from ‘65, but we’re driving down the road, and you have a natural smile on your face that is priceless. When you’re sitting on the blind and duck hunting and you have a smile and you realize you’re just there by yourself, smiling.


Eduardo Samayoa: Yeah, I enjoy building motorcycles. I enjoy land rovers. I was joking with the guys here that hopefully if we set up this hunt and this experience in Guatemala, I want to take them on an vintage Land Rover like a convertible British, just vintage, and it’s just a little truck with nothing in it, but it will never break down. And my girlfriend is so funny. Even my mom asks, Why do you drive this piece of crap? I was like, You know what? I like it. Once you’re driving down the road in mid-traffic, it happened to me. I think it happened to me two years ago. I was driving with my dad, and my dad and I have very old vintage BMW motorcycles. Mine is from 1936, and my dad’s is from ‘65, but we’re driving down the road, and you have a natural smile on your face that is priceless. When you’re sitting on the blind and duck hunting and you have a smile and you realize you’re just there by yourself, smiling. For me that is just great; it’s just perfect.

Ramsey Russell: I want to smile a little bit after this morning. I was huffing and puffing too much. Here’s the story this morning: we finally get off, me and Toto are going to go off to our blind, and we walk, I don’t know, a quarter mile to where we thought the lake was. And it wasn’t a mud flat for another quarter mile. There’s no way we can hunt. And you can tell it had water a month or two ago. And as the sun came up, ducks got lower. And Toto, thank you. I mean, you’re like rescuing Popeye this morning because we left without coffee. I’ll admit it—I was in a foul mood. We have kids to pick up, and I haven’t had any coffee.And I was early at three o’clock, and I was like, This ain’t going to be a good day. And I go back and say, “Man, we don’t have any coffee to go.” I got a Red Bull.

Eduardo Samayoa: Yes.

Ramsey Russell: And we were sitting there thinking and talking about what we were going to do. The sun’s coming up. It’s time to shoot ducks. The ducks were flying. What are we going to do? I say we were going over at that point. I take off, I leave a blaze, that red bull power. I was about to die of a heart attack when I got there. You and all the kids are falling behind. You shot two ducks along the way. I shot two ducks and got there. I was still huffing and puffing when you finally got there. We’re talking about decoys getting out, and we had a fantastic contest.

Eduardo Samayoa: It was a great experience.

Ramsey Russell: I like it when things work out like they did, and they did. It worked out beautifully. And we got to visit some more, talk, and do some stuff like that, but anyway, I’d like to put people in touch with you. Five of them are on the Holy Smokes account or something.

Eduardo Samayoa: Well, Holy Smokes is more of a restaurant. If they want to get in touch with me, my Instagram is usually just Eduardo Samayoa or my car page, which is called Ed Customs.

Ramsey Russell: Ed Customs

Eduardo Samayoa: Ed customs G. T., it says Guatemala. There are all the little toys that we sell, create, and build for people, as well as our personal collections.

Ramsey Russell: I think you all enjoy looking at these pages, guys. And we are working. I’ve been down here exploring with my new associates, my new friends, and my new family in Guatemala. I never knew I had. And there’s a high likelihood we’re going to put together a great duck hunting adventure in Guatemala. I’ve got a few wrinkles smoothed, but it’s coming. And I wanted y’all to kind of hear and see what I experienced down here in surprised Guatemala. I’ll say this before my head hits the pillow and I fall asleep after the first day’s duck hunt. My last conscious thought was that if I ever run away from home, people are going to be able to find me right here in Guatemala. That’s how enamored I was on the first day. I absolutely love the culture, the people, my friends, the habitat, the food, everything about it. I have had such a great trip. That’s why I wanted to meet with several of you and depict Guatemala properly because it’s completely off my radar. I’ve heard of Nicaragua. I’ve heard of Belize. I have never paid any attention to Guatemala. Toto, thank you for your hospitality. Thank you for staying up late with me tonight.

Eduardo Samayoa: Of course, we’re excited for you. You know, you have a house here anytime you want; bring your wife and your kids anytime you want. You have a house here; you’re a guest, and we’ll gladly have you back.

Ramsey Russell: Folks, thank you all for watching this episode of Ducks Season Somewhere in Guatemala. See you next time.



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