Fun Times Down River
28 March 2015 | Cayo Quemado, Rio Dulce, Guatemala
Beth / hot, showery but happy
What a lovely neighbourhood to come back to. Casey went right to work repairing our bowsprit, I washed 3 loads of salty laundry and managed to get them all dry on the line – because we are, after all, back in the land of rain showers – and in between, we visited friends old and new.
We jumped out of the dinghy for a swim on our way to Martin’s house, and Doris and Stan came roaring out in their lancha to see if we needed help. How’s that for watchful kindness? After cooling down in the clean, sweet water, we enjoyed a reunion visit with Martin and Karen, before continuing on for the same thing with Jennifer.
We borrowed Casey’s lancha, “Theodore Sturgeon” for a run up to Fronteras for banking, groceries, internet, and for Jim to have a massage with Blanca. The streets were more crowded than I have ever seen them (and that’s saying something!) The restaurant at Backpackers was blocked off with police tape and a guard was posted. Apparently a couple of Guatemalans had a disagreement and someone got shot. But the visit to Tortugal was a happy one. Somehow, a morning in town stretched to a whole day in town and after all the necessary stops it was late afternoon before we made a wet and bouncy trip back down the river. The wind usually comes up in the afternoon and it’s a good idea to time the return earlier, but we hugged the northern shoreline and eventually pulled into the bay.
Friday night was party night. Casey invited the whole neighbourhood (and then some). He went to town to pick up Keith the Plumber; Becky and I cooked all afternoon – chicken and potatoes, quinoa/veggie salad, Greek salad, Becky’s home made bread, garlic and avocado sauces. We spread sheets on the worktables and laid out all the plates and cutlery we could find in our combined kitchens; Jim loaded the fridge with beer, and then it was party time. As neighbours came bearing plates of goodies – smoked fish, pizza bread, devilled eggs, sausages, quiche, puddings and cakes and fruit, visitors Sunny and Jerry and Alan brought guitars and harmonicas and musical talent. We dined and drank and sang and it was a fine party.
Late one afternoon, Becky, Casey, Jim and I went out for a leisurely sail on Retriever. We sailed off the dock, across the river, around Gringo Bay and back onto the dock – all in light winds and without a motor. It was the first time we’d been on Retriever and as we drifted along, I marveled at the knowledge that Casey built and sailed this very same boat all over the world. There are stories in its timbers.
Because we opted to stay down river during Semana Santa, we were spared the raucous times up in Fronteras where wealthy Guatemalans spend the week at their river homes, speeding up and down the river on their fancy toys, playing loud music, and adding to the noise of traffic on the bridge. Instead, we enjoyed the relative quiet of this little neighbourhood. I picked up a couple of excellent books from the library at Burnt Key Marina in Texan Bay. Tom the Sailmaker recommended them as “F-ing good books” and they were! “Driving Mr. Albert” by Michael Paterniti told the story of a cross country trip with the pathologist who had kept custody Albert Einstein’s brain for forty years (and with the brain in the trunk!). “Stiff” by Mary Roach was all about cadavers and how they are used now and historically. Great information supplied with a wry sense of humour.
I joined friends in the yoga shala in Jennifer’s garden twice a week. It still feels as magnificent as ever to breathe into the poses and the stillness in this beautiful place – with birds chirping, breezes blowing, light filtering through the trees and flowers, and the dog and cat waiting on the edges for their after-yoga snuggles. The little scorpions Jennifer shook out of the woven mats were not quite as welcome! (This picture shows a bit of the scene as the session finished up one day.)
And we discovered that Becky is an excellent massage therapist! Jim and I both took full advantage of the luxury of massages right in the casita here at Casey’s place. And just to mix it up a bit from relaxing yoga and massage, we also joined an enthusiastic crowd of dancing students for salsa lessons from Karen! She said we managed to keep our feet and hips moving in time to the music – and it felt great to dance and laugh with each other and the various partners we traded with.
With the bowsprit repaired and varnishing done, we moved off the dock and over to Buenavista (aka Gringo) Bay for a few lovely days at anchor. John and Angie (Angela G) were anchored there as well and we enjoyed having them as well as Martin and Karen aboard for dinner. It was good fun with Angie’s guacamole to start with, and Karen’s banana/carrot cake to finish, and my chicken curry in between. It occurred to me that serving a curry to four Brits was a bit of a Madcap thing to do, but it seemed to meet with approval even with Martin’s comment that this must be the only place on the Rio to serve curried guisquil (it is known in some places as chayote, and is a green pear-shaped fruit that we use as we would a summer squash.) I just threw whatever I had into the pot!
Our days have been full and our nights quiet under the full moon and brilliant stars.