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Published: April 13th 2014
I woke up early; but amazingly fell back asleep until almost 7 - which for me is no feat short of a miracle:-) Quick shower - I was packing up when I heard a rather shocking loud yelp from the bathroom and was torn between worrying and giggling! Turns out the hot water disappears very quickly (read: off instantly) and Larry got a very, very cold blast of water. Oops. So he warned me and I got in, rinsed myself down, turned the water off, soaped up, turned water back on, rinse, repeat! Kind of quirkiy doing it that way, but wasn’t the first, and won’t be my last for dealing with emotional showers. Ice cold blasts, even in the jungle are never fun!
After breakfast we started our boat ride along the Rio Dulce in a motorized large canoe with a canopy overhead. It was overcast, but kept the temperature cooler, so it actually made the trip nicer. We cruised along, seeing all the birds (ornithologists dream) and capturing the egrets, the corminders and, well, um, that's all the names I can remember as I even think the last one was made up! (Just because I can spell it
doesn’t mean I know anything about it! www.google.ca WAY more accurate!)
Once we got to the mouth of the river it opened up and was literally breathtaking. I’ve been on river cruises, done the Amazon etc, but this was stunning. Massive majestic cliffs, with lush green trees, bushes and so many shades of luminous green, even the water had a unique green shade to it; not quite teal, not quite forest, but something in-between, which just added to the scenery. We would cruise by fisherman in their single canoes out looking for their meal, and/or their livelihood. Just another day in the neighborhood of the Rio Dulce. Sleepy yet so full of life, and while not the Amazon it certainly reminded me of it, and the fact that there are a zillion life forms out there that we can't see, but they are watching us, hidden, some with interest, some with laziness, but you are never, ever alone!
We went through the mangroves as well, saw the large lily pads with their glowing white flowers, that literally live one day (see photo), and a few small villages, if you want to call them that. The houses are built
on stilts, in the water, how the cats and dogs enjoy living on such a small piece of property (and we did see that - see photo!) was beyond me. But they live in the region, survive on fishing and local produce. Continued on our way and ended up at the mouth of the river that flows into the ocean. If we turned left we would end up in Belize and if we turned right, Honduras. Either way would have been gorgeous beaches and snorkeling heaven. I voted for Belize, having been there and know how stunning the beaches are, but lost!
Instead we went to Livingston. The Garifuna capital of Guatemala, with most of the ancestors coming from Jamaica, and they have very much kept the culture, music and food alive. I must admit I was a bit disappointed in the town; not sure exactly what I had envisioned in my head, but whatever it was, it did not present. Just one main street, from the dock of the river, up the hill, down to the ocean full of junk shops, trinkets, tourists, some local fruit stands (but they were more on the cross streets) and stores, but
selling, basically junk. And it was high noon, so toasty, but we got to see kids playing basketball in a new courtyard that was recently built, saw lots of Rastafarians, and watched the world go about its day. Checked out the 2 viewpoints for the ocean, neither one was overly breathtaking, but still glad we had the chance to see it. Stopped at a hotel/cafe for coffee and had the BEST coffee yet on this trip. SO take note fellow travelers and coffee-a-holics; I will never write for Lonely Planet because I forgot to take down the name of it. BUT when come up from the docks, you hang a left onto the main street, and just at the top of the hill on the left hand side is a very clean looking hotel/cafe with an open aired large patio for eating and drinking and they have a coffee/espresso sign. Eat/drink there:-)
We headed back to the hotel along the river at high speed, with a wind in our hair and surprisingly no bugs in our teeth! Had lunch, then began our journey to our next destination; Flores. Another van, another 3 hour drive with a random pit stop,
but arrived just after 6, and checked into a wonderful hotel just across the causeway from the Island of Flores, literally a 7 minute walk, but quiet, calm and wonderful showers, huge North American rooms - it was a nice treat. The traveling does get tiring, but if you want to see things, you have to go to them, as the mountain doesn't come to Mohammed. Besides, not to sound too cliche but sometimes the journey is just as cool as the destination:-)
Yours truly almost blew the evening surprise; as it was Randy’s birthday and his wife Janice had been working with Justin to organize a special dinner. Justin recommended dinner at 7:30 and I piped up (not knowing the plan) and asked for an earlier time, and Justin was mumbling at me to shut up and Janice’s eyes got *this big* behind Randy’s and I clued in. Little late, but I fumbled an excuse and ran up to my room, apologizing to Justin all along the way.
We had a nice dinner in Flores, and finally took at tuk-tuk (I’ve been on one before but Larry had reservations due to quality) across the lake as we
thought Becky would find the walk too hard, but she had left her husband Benny at the hotel. Dinner was on the water, followed by a delicious birthday cake and horrible singing to Randy by us; but was a great evening! We all walked back to our hotel instead with Becky leading the way at an impressive pace (who knew it was her husband that was super slow - not her!) and the stroll was a perfect way to end the evening as we had a somewhat early start tomorrow. *squeal* Tikal in the morning - one of the major highlights of the trip for me! *SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE PHOTOS*
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