It’s like Guatemala sucked us in! First, there was the early morning sail weeping goodbye to Belize and Buenas Dias Guatemala. Then, the ill famed bar at the entry to the Rio Dulce….’Oh, you draw over 5 feet?’ ‘We draw 5’2″.’ ‘You should be fine.’ ‘Should???’ ‘If not, you just hire someone to drag you across the bar.’ ‘Huh???’ It turned out fine, we didn’t even touch!
Next up Livingston. This is where we clear into the country. We hired Raul, a guy who specializes in dealing with gringos and their silly questions, 1300Q and a couple of signatures later and we were legit Guatemalan visitors for 3 months! Livingston is a get in get out kinda town, a cold beer to celebrate our success and then we were off!
Now for the beautiful put up the river – no wind, no sailing, chug chug on the little diesel. Beautiful it is! Hoss and I quickly decided this is the prettiest place we’ve ventured with Rotten Bottom, a fresh water river in Guatemala…..who’d a thought???
We made it as far as Texan Bay before we were itching to explore! Deploy the anchor, down comes Super Dinghy and off we went! It was fabulous!
Green everywhere you looked, a few other sailboats, Mayans in cayucos (hand dug canoes), and we agreed a very probable chance of crocodiles in the water.
With the sunrise we weighed anchor and continued our journey up the river. Jaw dropping!
We motored slowly up river, sort of just taking it all in, the Rio unfolds in front of you. Hundreds of sailboats, yep hundreds. This is the safest place to hole up in the Caribbean. Numerous marinas, we have a reservation at Catamaran, a safe haven for boaters since 1969. Now, just where is Catamaran?
Docked, bouys out, lines secure, a rush of folks popping in to say hello and check out the newbie. We got lucky, we got the best dock neighbors – John and Susie aboard Summersault!
We have about a week, to batten up Rotten Bottom before we have to kiss her goodbye and head for the states. It’s a whirlwind of cleaning, stowing sails, erecting shades, cleaning some more, scrubbing, washing, applying teak sealer, polishing stainless, stowing the Super Dinghy and her trusty Tohatsu. We break here and there – happy hour is a must (we meet a ton of new friends!), exploring Fronteras (the actual town, turns out I LOVE green mangos!), hunting down a welder (this chaps Hoss’s ass, pay somebody to do something he normally does…..sore subject!), meet the grocery boat (yep, they are a floating store…..why didn’t I think of that?)…..we break away for a magnificent hike up Seacacar Canyon and float down in inner tubes (just like a kid again!)
Sadly, it’s time to go. We booked flights out of Guatemala City. Here lies the next adventure – Guatemala City is a 6 hour bus ride on a good day. It turns out our departure day was not looking good. Guatemala is unhappy with their president, the citizens are protesting. Massive marches and protests are scheduled for our bus to the city day. Hmmm! And then we got lucky – Kevin who owns Catamaran Marina is heading to the city, in his Suburban, driven by his driver…..if we can be ready a day early, we can tag along. You betcha we can be ready! I think Chico sidelines as a NASCAR driver, the trip to the city took 4 1/2 hours! Yay Chico! Muchas gracias Kevin!
Guate City is everything you expect for a big city and then some! It is also not for us! In all the years, in all the countries, Guate City is hands down the LEAST safe place we’ve been. A bit unnerving. We feel like country bumpkins out of their element! We chose a Bed and Breakfast, downtown, Zona 1 to stay. Good reviews online. Turns out online lies! The Bed and Breakfast is good, great actually…..once you get inside that is. However, to get inside you have to survive the neighborhood (our taxi didn’t want to leave us here), you have to buzz the bell to gain entry and sometimes the wait on the sidewalk is awfully long.
Then there are the thousands of policia blocking the majority of the streets. Yep, thousands. That’s A LOT of scary guns! It turns out Zona 1 is where the government buildings are, thus where the important people are, hence the thousands of policia trying to protect the important people from the protesters. Yep, country bumpkins SO FAR out of their element! The museums are closed due to the protesting, the buses are running limited schedules because of the chaos. Guatemala City made headlines in the LA Times on this very day for rallies, marches, and roadblocks! And then, there are two gringos wandering around. Hmmmm, we’re both tan after a couple of months sailing…..maybe we look Guatemalan???
So, I apologize it’s been awhile…..but we’ve been busy! We have another day until we catch a plane, haste luego!