Lago Izabal [Rio Dulce] & On the way to Belize
We got to Rio Dulce about noon, and as soon as we entered 'El Relleno' town [There are 2 towns separated by a bridge there, 'El Relleno' and 'La Frontera'], we saw this young bloke waving us and walking towards our car. I didn’t know what he wanted at first, but I thought my friend Tony knew perfectly what to do.He chatted with us nicely and offered to be a guide while we were there, he also offered to help us on any supply we could need. It Sounded good to me.
His name was Eric, he rides a Shark fishing canoe they call it in Guatemala 'Tiburoneras'.
I guess he was a fisherman, or maybe someone who gives rides in the river, like a kind of taxi.
He suggested us to stay in the 'backpackers' hostel. It was placed right on the river. And the money of the room would go to an orphanage called 'Casa Guatemala'. Sleeping next to the river sounded great!.
I thought was a great idea, finally something I could do to help, and stop for a bit being the arrogant tourist. We could get a better place but we thought 'backpackers hostel’ was the best choice. The name was shite but the place was quiet as there was only some six or seven people, all members of charity associations.
The bloke from the hostel, told us we could always go to 'Casa Guatemala' and bring presents or food to the kids, whatever we wanted. There were over 200 I think he mentioned.
Casa Guatemala is an orphanage that cares for the nurturing, health and education of over 250 children. These children come from a variety of backgrounds; some have been abandoned, some have been abused, while still others come from families too poor to even provide the basics of a child’s needs.
The orphanage receives no government support and is totally dependent upon the kind donations from people and groups from around the world
This site, located in Rio Dulce near the Caribbean coast, is home to kids between 2 and 16 years of age. These children come to the 'Children’s Village' due to abandonment, abuse, and extreme poverty issues. There are also a number of lads whose families live in such poverty and isolation that the Children’s Village is the only hope for the proper nutrition and education.
It is indeed a very special place for the children to grow up;So we parked our car, left our bags and guess what was the first thing Tony wanted to do?
Try his brand new Toy.
I helped him on the concrete ramp with the car, and we managed to put the craft in the river.
Exciting!.... and what an impressive acceleration!
You could go 80 mph within a few seconds!
So there was no time to waste, we had a few beers, jumped in the watercraft and headed to Livingstone right in the Atlantic and then Belize.
Locals thought we were a bit fucked up [To say the least] as it takes something like 5 or 6 hours. We had to be careful with the sandbanks we could get stuck, and even, on the sea with the sharks!
Although Belize is another country we were told we would only have to pay customs about 3 dollars.
Eric said if we manage to make it, he would make a photo of us, get it signed and put it on the local bar!
Property in El Golfete
I was impressed about some of the houses in 'El Golfete'. They seemed like private clubs at first to me, but they weren’t.
They were properties of the upper class in Guatemala, people from Belize and other foreign countries, I guess.
If I ever win the lottery.....
What an exciting trip it was...and very fast!.
The river in the 'Cayo Grande' area had those beautiful and majestic canyons with rocks, trees and jungle everywhere, no people to be seen. Only the odd fisherman canoes.
Best part of the trip so far...
I felt a bit sorry for them. Maybe we were scaring the fish, although they didn't seem bothered as everyone was smiling and waving at us.
And there it was, the Atlantic Ocean and also the Caribbean Sea!. It was the end of the river, the open sea, so we only had to turn left and follow the coast until we got in Belize.
There were nice little unspoiled beaches. You have seen them in those Caribbean postcards or any other exotic destination .
Soon I realized the clouds were getting ever darker and weather was starting to be windy and nasty.
I’ve heard about tropical storms before.
They come and go within minutes. Tony didn't seem bothered but the sky colours were starting to impress me.
Oh well... I guess we could always stop anywhere under a palm tree....
On the left I could see Livingstone. It looked like a small town. It had a small marina and some old boats were abandoned there. I guess they were junk.
A mile away of Livingstone the Watercraft got stuck in a sandbank!, [Thanks god we weren’t going too fast].
I noticed there was a big old tree abandoned right there, maybe to warn the people sailing on the area?
The shore wasn’t even close. We had to push the watercraft out of the sand, right when started to rain heavily. I just remembered Eric’s comment about the sharks.
Perfect situation indeed, if you have seen 'Open Water' film as I did couple of weeks before. Locals told us they don’t attack people.... normally ...unless they can smell blood.
We had a bit of problem starting the electronic engine, to make it even more exciting, but finally about 10 minutes later we were heading back to Livingstone. We could always try to make Belize another day.
I had to protect my camera from the rain obviously, so no photos were taken.
Shame because the skies and clouds were beautiful but quite impressive.
In Livingstone lives the 'Garifunas' Community. An Afro-Caribbean people who have their own language, a mixture of French and African impossible to understand.
We will speak about the Garifunas later on.
We parked the watercraft in the little marina. We were soaking. The rain was getting much strong now. I thought it was a good idea to stop. I was also starving, so it was time to get something to eat.
I’m not telling you how much I paid for that, but it can beat any chippy in England!
The sun was shining again.
On the evening we were back to Backpackers Hostel. I asked my friend to try to go slower this time, so I could take more photos.
Trip back to Backpackers hostel.
This winter I promise to start playing the lottery again, definitely!
El Dengue is a tropical disease caused by a water mosquito called 'Zancudo'. I got bite swimming a couple of times. No big deal. When it’s in flowing clean water there is no problem. They cause the disease in dirty waters only.
I saw advertisements everywhere the country, billboards on the motorways, ads in magazines etc...
But there was something left to do.
We planned to set off early in the morning. I asked Eric If he could get me some 'Mota' [Local term for weed] to which he agreed, although was raining heavily, but he promised to bring it the next morning.