Maya trail continues to Guatemala

Published: October 10th 2013
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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
Rio DulceRio DulceRio Dulce

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 😊

Additional photos below
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Commerce at it's finest...Commerce at it's finest...
Commerce at it's finest...

These little gals came up to our boat to sell us shells, starfish and other marine things. My heart broke when I saw the turtle shell because I have a feeling the original owner wasn't vacated willingly. Saw turtle shells all over for sale in Livingston, sad :(
Me and PhillipMe and Phillip
Me and Phillip

Just a cool man, kind and generous with a Canadian gal...

11th October 2013

A Path Less Travelled!
How true - when you let go of "conventional wisdom" and are open to new experiences you do see a different side of people and the world. Easy for me to say as a MWM from the comfort of my home in the country I was born in, speaking the native language. It sounds like a great adventure! I hope you share more stories and pictures when you get back. The Armchair Traveller
11th October 2013
Me and Phillip

Don't talk to any more strange make me nervous!
Hi Cheryl- Glad you are enjoying your trip with many adventures including strange men (he did seem very kind)! I love the pictures of the lotus leaves. Happy Thanksgiving this weekend!! I am grateful for you in my life. Love Robin
11th October 2013

Hey Goofy Girl; you never cease to amaze me. Glad you are having a great time. Next time take me with you as your pesonal body guard ha! ha!. Hope to see you soon. Take care. hugh

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