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Wednesday 30 Nov 2005
Livingstone, Guatemala

Guatemala part 2 - Rio Dulce

One dubious border crossing (a guy in a shop who also sold coca cola and crisps stamped our passports), and two choppy boat rides later we arrived in Livingstone, Guatemala. Livingstone is another Caribbean influenced beach town with a large Garafuna population, famous for its fiesta which we managed to miss by 2 days.

But, unlike Belize we experienced none of the relaxed Caribbean atmosphere and the town had an altogether more threatening feel. I dunno maybe we had an óff'day, not helped by a couple of aggressive touts, our dyer lodgings (a small dark shoebox that smelt of excrement), and a very boring Swiss guy. We decided to cut our loses and took the first boat out the next morning.

In contrast, the boat journey down the Rio Dulce was spectacular. A sheer sided canyon covered in vegetation, which broadens out to reveal rain forest. As we made our way down the river we passed families going about their daily chores. The men fishing in paddle canoes, the women washing clothes and the kids splashing around. The river certainly seemed to be the hub of activity.

On our way to Denny's Beach, a secluded retreat set in the rain forest on the banks of a huge lake, Lago Izabal, we stopped to pick up supplies at a local port town. This was obviously also the playground of the very rich and was home to both fishing boats and multimillion pound catamarans.

As we pulled away from the dock in our little tut tut boat, laden down with boxes of fruit and vegetables we saw Zander, a 23 year old Cornish surf bum we had met in Tikal. He was standing next to the newest most gleaming Catamaran in the port. He'd obviously scored a job as crew.

He clocked us and started waving frantically. 'How've you managed that?'shouted Rob. He laughed, shrugged and gave us a cheeky grin. We smiled and waved back, then turned to each other and said, 'the lucky bastard!'

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