Rio Dulce to Guatemala City to Antigua to Rio Dulce
23 November 2012 | El Tortugal Marina, Rio Dulce
Beth / 82 F on the river - cooler in the mountains
We’ve been on the move – on wheels this time.
We took the bus to Guatemala City on Wednesday and stayed at Villa Toscana again. This time we arranged for a taxi pick up at the Litegua bus station. There are always lots of well marked legit cabs there, but it is comforting to have someone hold up a card with your name on it! We have found that hotels will always arrange it – and sometimes it is even included in the price of the room. This way, we know how much it costs and that the driver already knows where we are going.
We joined Yvette, Mario and his sister Sylvia for a true Guatemalan dinner at home that night – doublos (tortillas filled with ground meat and folded over) with salsa, a very tasty loaf of black beans and rice mixture that we spread on tortillas and topped with what we would call crème fraiche, plantains and cheese. It was all so good, and the company was fine. What fun to meet up with a Halifax neighbour in a Guatemalan home!
After breakfast the next morning, we walked over to the Museo Nacional de Arqueologia y Etnologia (about a 25 minute walk from Villas Toscana) for a short tour. There were many ancient Maya artifacts, but the information was all in Spanish. Another time we would take an English tour – but this at least gave us a sample. And the walk was lovely along Airport Blvd – lined with marble sculptures including a very nice one from Canada. Apparently every few years a competition is held and people come from all over the world to participate. There must have been a race track there once, because we saw a deteriorating grandstand that faced the street and the airport. Now, the equestrian centre riding rings fan out on both sides.
After our stop at the museum, we were off on a 2 minute ride to the airport to meet Sue and Terry. They arrived without incident (even with peanut butter, deck hardware and a new light for our nav station) and we piled into the cab arranged by Hotel Aurora for the ride to Antigua. ($10 per person). We dropped our bags in the spacious, high ceilinged rooms that surround a gorgeous flower and fountain filled courtyard and went off to la Fonda de la Calle Real for a late but much needed lunch. Mario had introduced us to the refreshing drink, Rosa de Jamaica, the night before and we ordered a pitcher to quench our thirst. I think it is the Hibiscus drink that we enjoyed with soda last year, so I’ll look for the dried leaves to steep in water and use as a Madcap beverage.
After a few hours of roaming around Antigua – in our usual haphazard fashion – we made a short tour of a Jade store (no purchases) the big warehouse-like Nim P’ot where I got a couple of inexpensive cushion covers for our shabby cockpit cushions and ended with dinner at Frida’s. The street vendors were out in full force with textiles of all descriptions, necklaces, whistles and trinkets. Lots of gringos walked the pretty streets and we’ll be joining them in another couple of weeks when we go back for our Spanish lessons.
A collective van picked us up at 10 the next morning to shuttle us to Guatemala City in time to catch the bus back to Rio Dulce– arriving shortly after 6 after a grueling ride on the most rattletrap bus yet (nothing like the El Norte buses though!). Our seats leaned back on their own accord so that we had no knee room and the view was of the ceiling, and it was another one of those cold rides. Sue even had her hood up for the last part! But all that was soon forgotten over pizza and Gallos at Tortugal. Nothing like introducing guests to the step from the dock to the bowsprit in the dark, but they managed it very smoothly and we collapsed into our berths for an early night.
Saturday will be time for introducing Sue and Terry to town and the markets, and then we head down river to anchor in serene Cayo Quemado.