Livingstone, Rio Dulce. Viernes.
Aah, the Caribbean. Well, the south-west bit of it anyway. Anne is here and in a hammaca as I sit and look out to sea, watching the storks, pelicans and other odd sea birds doing their thing.
The trip to the airport was okay, four hours of watching TV and enduring airport-wise blackouts. Back in Antigua we stayed for a few nights at Posada Ruiz #2 and did the usual food and drink routine. Then headed for the lake, missing out on the big trip to Todos Santos for the drunken horse race, due mainly to apathy, I guess. Stayed two nights in Santa Elena Hotel in Panajachel, with a boat trip to Santiago thrown in. Some drinking and table-tennis in the Last Resort, the usual. Many encounters with the La Sala people along the way.
Then spent a night in San Pedro - very peaceful little village with some lake swimming and boulder scrambling.
Then ridiculously expensive shuttle all the way to Rio Dulce (aborted trip to Coban half-way there when we realised that we couldn't get to Tikal from there). Stayed in Backpackers Hotel there, nice place on the lake, a little expensive, but very chilled.
Headed up to Santa Elena, near Flores on the luxury chicken bus the next day, arriving quite later after a blown tyre needed to be repaired (no spares of course). The bus was pretty busy, but we got a seat after about four hours I guess.
Santa Elena was a weird town, where it seems to rain a lot. Ate odd food, and stayed in an odd hotel (Santander, Q60 for two).
Due to elections, and the lack of legal alcohol for three days, it was again expensive to pick up a shuttle to Tikal, but we managed it in good time, after an hour of xylophone music...
Stayed in Jaguar Inn, got a good deal due to out of season emptiness. Rain and harsh sun alternated. Very impressive place - proper scary jungle and large pyramids in the middle of nowhere. Howler monkeys, skulls on sticks, mosquitoes and crazy jungle noise. Quite an experience.
Next was El Remate, after a couple of days, a little town between Flores and Tikal on a huge lake, complete with crocodiles (so we learnt after we swam there). Also found lots of tarantulas where we were staying (La Casa de Don David), and even let one crawl on my hand.
From there, a return to Rio Dulce town, and then to Livingstone, up the river in a boat, through flooded jungle valleys and mangroves. Swam in sulphuric volcanic springs on the way, which made all my silver turn gold - very odd.
In Livingstone, staying at Hotel Garifuna, a funky, Garifuna place. Strange mix of Rastafarian Spanish speakers, Latinos and Native folk. Most memorable so far is 'Rasta Lobster', a natural mystic, who took us drinking in a rasta bar full of boxers (who proceeded to fight each other) which was a little rough. As soon as I was at the bar, he would ask Anne to go to the jungle with him, where he promised her two orgasms... Blimey.
Nothing much except food and drink and a trip to the Seven Waterfalls for a swim yesterday.
Anne has extended until the 23rd now, so there's no hurry, except of course my job starting on Monday. Plan is to head off on Sunday morning, bright and early... Oh yes.