The Gorge and the Creeks
27 November 2012 | Rio Dulce
Beth / mix of sun and clouds 85 F
The next couple of days were for exploration by big boat and little boat. There was absolutely no wind for sailing but, even over the engine, the oohs and aahs were audible as we all admired the gorgeous scenery of the gorge on the way down to Livingston. (I just can’t help putting gorge and gorgeous in the same sentence!) Egrets perched in the trees, dugouts with families fishing dotted the river, and lanchas loaded with tourists zoomed around the corners.
It was Garifuna National Day in Livingston, and we had hoped to hear some music. Unfortunately we arrived during the midday break and it wouldn’t start again till 4 o’clock when we had to be on our way back upriver, but we did get a taste of both music and costumes. And more than a taste of the food!
Tapada is the star attraction in the restaurants of Livingston: a soup of fish, crab, prawns and plantains all simmered together in a divine coconut milk broth, and the tapada at Happy Fish restaurant was top notch. It’s a messy thing to eat because the fish and crab and prawns are all in there whole so the experience is a full sensory, two handed affair - after peeling and deboning and slurping and licking of fingers, we were happy to use the finger bowls provided.
A couple of fellows stopped to offer a welcome to their home town of Livingston, and it turned out that one of them now lives in South Carolina – not far from Sue and Terry. Up the street and around the corner, we saw Garifuna (African/Caribbean-Guatamalan) families dressed in brightly coloured outfits – much more Caribbean looking than the Mayan-Guatemalan costumes we see more often. There were bright gingham checks on young and old, and stately women wearing dresses, hats and purses. Drummers played a couple of numbers for a tour group so we heard a bit of the Garifuna drumming that we so loved when we were in Belize last year. We bought baskets at a good price from vendors along the street, I got a hammock to string on our foredeck and Sue found a painted wooden rooster to add to her collection.
The next day, we explored by dinghy – travelling in and out of the creeks of Buenavista Bay and Texan Bay (that one has another name too, but I can’t remember it and it doesn’t seem to be used much). We spotted a couple of camera shy jacanas and so many great egrets that we started to mumble, “There’s another big white bird” instead of exclaiming, “Oh look! An egret!” Smiling children waved from rustic houses and dugouts, fishermen guided lanchas up the narrow creeks, and we steered around impossibly long mangrove roots as we absorbed the lush greenery and quiet waters. Back at Madcap, we swam, read, sipped liquados (made from fresh pineapple and banana and papaya) and enjoyed an evening without rain.