Edit Blog Post
Published: October 10th 2013
Hi all. Have made it up to Guatemala and it's still hot! It's not so much the heat as the humidity, you almost have to remind yourself to breath sometimes. I know, boo hoo, it's hot, but when it's running down your neck and other parts of the body, that kind of kills the fun for me. But enough of that.
I'm currently in a place called Rio Dulce, literal Spanish translation is sweet river and it's pretty quiet and laid back here. Rio Dulce is on the lake Lago de Izabal at the base of what I'm told is the longest bridge in Cental America. Here in Rio Dulce, I'm staying in a little cabin on the lake at a marina and I've got to say, there are some expensive boats here! Apparently this is where the US Coast Guard will tether their boats in hurricanes because it's the safest place for a long stretch. No coast guard boats but definitely some money rolls through here. So far, no one has offered to have me aboard 😞
I decided to do a river trip up the Rio Dulce to a town called Livingston for the day. I've heard
Originally a military lookout since this area was the narrowest part of the river. It was later used to jail pirates thieves, now it is vacant.
great things about the boat ride, about an hour through some pretty amazing trees and growth. The scenery was pretty and the breeze was much needed. After arriving in Livingston, I wasn't sure what my plan was for the 2.5 hours until the boat returned, but I figured I'd wing it. Literally two minutes after stepping off the boat, I'm approched by a funny Garifuna man named Phillip. Garifuna culture is a mix of Caribbean, African and Spanish and they speak Garifunian (?) along with Spanish. So once I get away from the touts at the boat launch, I find a quiet spot to pull out my guide book to figure out what to do, that's when Phillip approaches, we get to chatting and the next thing I know, he's leading me away from the main road to where his people live. Now typically, I'd be leary and not follow but for whatever reason, I trusted Phillip. His intention was to show me true Garifuna culture and he was certain I wouldn't find it on my own - and he's right, I never would have ventured that far off the beaten path. Most Garifuna people don't live in great conditions
but they look after each other, take care of those around them. Phillip took me into a small house lived in by Josephine and another lady who's name I can't recall. Both were hurt when Hurricane Mitch hit, neither can walk without a wheelchair so they live in this house together and Phillip pays someone to come in, cook and clean for them. Josephine didn't take too kindly to having strange white women paraded into her home, I could tell; couldn't speak their language but the old stink eye is translatable in any language. He also took me along some abandoned areas, which at one point gave me pause, wondering if I'd maybe pushed my travel luck too far but nope, he just wanted to show me around. Met some sweet people, saw some terrible conditions and dared not take any pictures as I thought it was disrespectful. So after about 90 minutes, Phillip brings me close to where my boat dropped off and bid me good-bye. I asked if I could take his picture so I could remember him, that is my only photo, a selfie of me and Phillip. Sweet, kind man who noticed the tattoos on my
feet and that's what made him stop to chat and off I go on an adventure, wow, what life can bring you when you're open. One last point, in my guide book, the section for Livingston says that a large drug trade operates through there although it's stable, no all out drug wars, I suppose. It also says, and I quote, "Take care with anyone who strikes up a conversation for no obvious reason on the street or elsewhere." Haha, glad I didn't read that before I'd met Phillip, I would have missed out on something pretty interesting.
Later today I'm off to Flores which is where I'll stay to see Tikal. I'll pick this up later 😊
Tot: 1.129s; Tpl: 0.019s; cc: 11; qc: 50; dbt: 0.0138s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb