HEART OF GOLD, a 31' Island Packet Sailboat Currently in Key West, Florida
 
Ship's Logs and Trip Diaries 

Detailed information on provisioning, checking in, marinas/anchorages, etc. is available at our SaltySailors.com website.

Guatemala 2004

You may click on any of the pictures to view full size.

July 15:  Livingston, Guatemala

LivingstonBreathtaking.  When you come into Livingston you see the most incredible foliage on the mountain sides with thatched roof houses scattered about.  It is really quite beautiful.  In fact the pictures don't do it justice.  However, the water is no longer the clear blues/greens of Belize, but a mucky brown.

We anchored at the entrance to Livingston and called the Port Captain.  Immigration and Customs came out to the boat.  I've gone into all the check in procedures in detail on the saltysailors.com site so I don't think I'll re-hash them here.  If you want to read about check in, click here.  I will say that the officials in Guatemala are the nicest we have encountered so far.

We found Livingston so interesting we decided to stay for an extra day and really look around the town.  We moved the boat to La Marina.  It's a very quaint place with poor docking facilities, but beautiful foliage, a restaurant and very nice managers.  The cost is $7.00 US a day.  Chris is a Swiss Guatemalan that grew up in Guatemala City.  Melanie, Chris's girlfriend is the daughter of the owner of a Chinese restaurant in town.  I believe she is Cantonese.  The marina has about 20 cats running about.  (I do not believe Chris is still running La Marina). 

I took the coldest shower of my life.  In Guatemala all the showers we encountered have a little switch up at the top of the showerheads that you turn on and that turns on something that heats the water.  I didn't know this yet so I took a VERY cold shower. 

Walking thru the jungle to Livingston.We asked Chris about getting to Livingston from the marina and he said it was just a short walk into town and gave us directions.  We walked thru the muddiest jungle and apparently got lost since we couldn't find the bridge that crossed the stream.  A nice Guatemalan man gave us a ride across the stream in his boat and then he went and found someone that could speak enough English to give us gringos directions into town.  (We never met a Guatemalan that was not friendly and willing to help.  They are a very generous, friendly people.)

We finally made it to town and saw so many firsts:  Garifuna, Mayan, & Ladino cultures.  The Garifuna are a unique group of people that trace their ancestry back to the island of St. Vincent.  There are about 6,000 in Guatemala.  We met a Garifuna named Lobster.  He carried a guitar with him everywhere (we later learned he doesn't really know how to play), had major dread locks and smelled awful.  He wanted money so we paid him to take a picture with my friend Carolyn's nightgown (if you don't know the story of the nightgown and are interested, click here). 

Pigs at the restaurant Marie Gambos.We later met Phillip, another Garifuna, and he said he wanted to take us and show us around.  He took us thru the Garifuna part of town and it was very nasty & dirty.  He took us to a restaurant named Marie Gambos.  We felt a little pressured to order something so we shared a grilled snapper dinner.  It actually was pretty good even though our dining partners were a bunch of pigs (literally) and there was trash strewn all over the place.  Phillip joined us and let us buy him a beer while he told us how he was a musician and played all over the world.  He asked us if we would like to buy one of his CDs and since he had taken the time to show us around we said yes.  After we got the CD and took a look at it, we realized Phillip was not a part of the band and had just gone down the street and bought a CD for about $6 and sold it to us for $20!  Oh well, we would never have seen the Garifuna area if we hadn't met Phillip so we figured it was a fair price to pay.  

Rather than try and find our way back to La Marina via the jungle path, we opted for a water taxi.  We had dinner at La Marina.  Chris's girlfriend joined us and it was an interesting night trying to understand her English.  Several of the marina cats kept trying to jump up on the table and eat our dinner and we had to keep pushing them off the table.  A dinner of fish, veggies & rice ran $7.50 US each (expensive for Guatemala) and was very bland.

All in all, it was a very interesting day.

July 17, 2004:  Livingston to Mario's Marina on the Rio Dulce

The Rio Dulce is beautiful.  There are many interesting homes along the river.  Miles of motoring thru canyons where there is so much...green.  There are several places we should probably stop and explore along the way, but we are anxious to get into a marina for a little while.  We have arrived at Mario's and called them on the radio.  They told us to anchor and they would be out to get us shortly.  We anchor and dinghy into the marina.  The Cayuco Club, the bar/restaurant at Mario's, is full of people.  I sat down on a bench and met my first person at Mario's ... Elvis ... a huge lab.  There are lots of people here (I would later learn that Saturday is swap meet day).  We dinghied back out to the boat and two marina employees, Inis & Alberto, come out in the marina dinghy.  They take our boat to the slip using their dinghy to maneuver us into our slip.  How's that for service.  You don't even have to dock your own boat. 

It's nice to plug into electric power & to have a water hose to wash the boat down. 

August 19, 2004:  Mario's Marina, Rio Dulce

We have been here for a month.  It is so easy to just let the days pass and not accomplish anything at all.  It's very hot.  We do not have air conditioning on the boat and it gets unbearable by about 10:00 am.  We spend great deal of our time at the Ranchito or the Cayuco Club.

Mario's marina consists of the docks, the Cayuco Club, the Ranchito, the swimming pool, a building that contains 2 showers w/heads, 1 stand alone head, 2 small apartments, and a small convenience store within the office.  Out back of this building is a laundry facility that has 2 washers & 2 dryers (wash your clothes on the honor system -- $2.00 per load to wash & $2.00 to dry).  Past the laundry there are clothes lines where you can hang out your clothes to dry, which is what I do.  Beyond that is the trail into the village ... our friend Hal wrote a story about walking into the village ... to read it click here & scroll down to A Virtual Walk to the Clinic.   

The Ranchito is a large palapa that has a television set with satellite & lots of chairs to lounge about in to watch TV or visit.  It is located right next to the swimming pool.  The pool is very small, but has the coldest water I've ever gotten in (it's perfect for an afternoon cool off, but you can't stay in too long or you'll get too cold!).  If you don't feel like visiting, you can climb into one of the many hammocks and read a book or nap.  If you are feeling really social, stroll over to the Cayuco Club.  Jessica runs the place and Inga (a beautiful Dutch woman) and Carmen (a beautiful Guatemalan women) along with several other Guatemalan girls & women will make you feel right at home.  The most expensive menu item is about $7.50 US.  Drinks are about $1.50 (rum & coke, etc.).  Our bar & restaurant tab is about $50 a week.

When we need groceries, we head into the village of Fronteras.  It's about a 10 minute dinghy ride.  You have to go in the morning.  If you wait for afternoon the wind picks up and the chop makes getting back to Mario's pretty rough.  It's a nice ride if you go at the right time.  There are a few nice homes along the way and a couple of other marinas.  Lots of people pass in either their dinghies, their cayucos, or their launchas.  All wave as everyone here is friendly. 

You park your dinghy at Bruno's Marina.  It's pretty cool here, but as you go to town, you climb some stairs and the heat and smells immediately hit you.  Fronteras is not a pretty town.  There are some side streets, but mainly it's a highway thru the town.  There are lots of small tiendas (stores) up and down the street.  We've explored them all and found our favorites (I will post them on www.saltysailors.com soon).  There is also a grocery store in town ... if you are trying to find it just walk down the street and listen for the VERY loud music, when you find it, you are there.  There's not a big selection, but sometimes it is a relief to buy something and not have to haggle about the price.  Veggies are incredible here.  If you look at a large amount of the produce in the US you'll see that it comes from Guatemala.   

The veggie guy!Veggie markets are Wed & Sat.  On Saturday, Mario's has a flea market.  Boaters from all over the Rio come to buy & sell.  Mario's makes pizza for $1.00 a slice.  I can't remember the veggie man's name, but he comes and sets up a booth and sells fresh everything.  I always go back to the boat with 2 baskets full and never pay more than about $10.00 US.  The veggies don't keep as long here, even refrigerated.  Could be a couple of reasons.  I always sanitize the veggies in bleach water before putting them away and they are not refrigerated at all from the time they are picked to the time you get them.  Of course, at $10.00 a week for more veggies than we can eat, I can afford to throw a few away.

Sometimes the bread lady comes and sells fresh coconut bread ... to die for.  And the shrimp guy shows up and will sell you shrimp for about $5.00 a pound.  Twice a week, Casa Guatemala (the local orphanage) shows up in their launcha and raises money by selling fresh meat (mainly pork & chicken) and cheeses.  The pork is good, but the chicken is so free range that it is all muscle...tough, tough, tough.

Mac & Ron & Nemo (a corgie dog, we met them in Placencia) are here.  Nemo and I have become fast friends.  Nemo comes to the boat to visit me often.  Could have something to do with the fact that I always have a treat for him.  Tessie (a terrier) from Away Too comes to see me a lot too.  I wish I'd taken a picture of her.  I will look up and she'll be in the companionway waving her paw at me. 

We have met many, many nice people here.  Although I didn't get good pictures of them all, I have put many of them on the Friends Along the Way photo gallery.

August, 2004:  Guatemala City

Abby has decided she misses us and is coming to Guatemala.  We took the 2nd class bus from Fronteras up to Guatemala City with Doug & Rayene from Kristiana.  They are pros at this so they are showing us the ropes!  The 2nd class bus costs $5.00 US per person for the 6 hour trip.  It's an OLD greyhound type bus.  You have to pick your seat carefully as many of the seats are kind of crooked and/or don't lean back at all.  The bus stops around the half way point for a restroom/food break.  The food at the restaurant is not very good.  But there are fresh fruit vendors outside selling pineapple, oranges, or papaya. 

My first impression of Guatemala City is amazement at how large the city is.  There are a lot of houses that looks like ruins on the hillsides.  EXTREME car exhaust that bothers the eyes and throat immediately.  Traffic laws seem to be a guideline rather than a rule.  It is extremely noisy.  Guatemalans LOVE to honk their horn.   

Spring Hotel, Guatemala CityWe stayed at the Spring Hotel in Zona 1.  It's a really quaint hotel with very lovely courtyards and the rooms have very tall ceilings and there is a TV in the room.  It cost us $24.00 US for a double.  The doors are gated and you have to be let in by the desk clerk. 

Doug & Rayene took us over to the market which is a 3 story building with vendors selling everything from textiles to fruits & vegetables.  

The next day Doug & Rayene went to the airport and flew back to the US.  We took the chicken bus to Antigua and arranged for our room at the Dona Clara.  We then took the bus back to Guatemala City to pick up Abby at the airport.  Since it was after 5:00 pm we opted to take a taxi back to Antigua.  It was 5Q each (about .40) to ride the bus one way from Antigua to Guatemala City.  It was $20 US to take the taxi back to Antigua.

August, 2004:  Antigua          

View from the Dona Clara HotelThe Dona Clara is a very interesting hotel.  Full of bird cages, cats, dogs, & plants.  There are several rooms downstairs, but we stayed in #16 upstairs.  It's a very small room, but there are two beds, a bathroom and a beautiful view.  (Note:  on a later trip we stayed in one of the downstairs rooms ... I'll get to that later, just if you go there ... DO NOT stay in a downstairs room.) 

Antigua is beautiful.  It's a Spanish colonial town surrounded by volcanoes.  Many of the streets are cobblestone.  La Merced is one of the most beautiful churches I've ever seen.  We spent hours just walking around town.  We toured Santa Domingo Monastery and saw our first very old corpses and we also toured the convent at La Merced.

Antigua is Guatemala's most popular tourist destination.  As such, there are lots of shops all around town.  There are two big markets.  One is a newer building where you can buy jewelry, textiles, clothes, just about anything.  The merchants are VERY aggressive.  The other market is not as upscale and features shoes, clothing, movies, US type merchandise (all probably counterfeit).  Behind this market is a veggie market and the Ropa Americana.  The Ropa Americana is where all the stuff goes that Goodwill, etc. in the US can't sell.   There are rows and rows and rows of clothes.  We enjoyed going thru them and then haggling with the merchants to come up with an agreeable price. 

The food here is pretty good...even when you are staying within Thane's allotted budget of spending no more than 30Q on an entree (that's a little less than $3 US).  If you are willing to spend about 60Q you can eat like a king. 

September 4, 2004:  Antigua to Chimaltenango to ChichicastenagoWaiting for the bus in Chimaltenango.

We took a chicken bus from Antigua to Chimaltenango.  (Be sure & read Thane's chicken bus story where he describes what it's like to ride on a chicken bus...click here)  The bus driver was young and played the Back Street Boys at full volume the entire way.  We arrived in Chimaltenango, which is an extremely dirty, ugly town on the highway and waited for about an hour for our bus to Chichicastenago.

The bus to Chichicastenago was packed full.  Guatemalans do not have the same since of personal space that we do.  There is a joke in Guatemala about chicken buses... How many people can you get on a chicken bus?  One more.  Abby had to sit toward the back of the bus.  Sitting on one side of her was a boy of about 13 that kept falling asleep on her shoulder and on her other side was an older lady carrying a live chicken in a basket on her lap.  Abby swore that the chicken kept eyeing her.  Thane and I each had an aisle seat.  By that I mean we had half of our butt on the seat and the other half hanging off.  This bus driver was older and more experienced, which means he drove FAST and took the curves in the road even faster!  We held on for dear life.  Not ending up sitting on the floor was quite a feat. 

Flower market in Chicicastenago, GuatemalaChichicastenago is a typical run down looking town with beautiful surroundings.  We found a nice little hotel that featured a semi-warm shower, no mold odor, a fireplace, a nice yard out back and cost less than $10 a night.  The market in Chichi is huge and crowded and the smell is somewhat overpowering. 

On Sunday's they hold a flower market on the steps of the Pagan Catholic Church, Iglesia de Santo Tomas, located on the square.  This church is said to be a mixture of Catholicism and Mayan beliefs.  We toured the church (it is in bad taste to openly take pictures inside the churches, but I sure wish I could have taken some pictures).  We had to enter the church by a side door as only dignitaries are allowed to use the front door.  The church was very dark inside and there were many statues to various Saints, however, I'm not sure they were all Catholic Saints.  By the door they keep a fire burning were people burn various herbs, etc. and leave offerings.  They also keep a fire burning outside on the steps of the church.  We were a little disappointed in the flower market.  I think this one was much smaller than it usually is so we will have to come back again and catch it when they have a huge flower market.

September 5, 2004:  Chichicastenago to Panajachel

We caught another chicken bus to Panajachel in the afternoon.  When we changed buses, we grabbed some lunch from the street vendors.  In my opinion, typical Guatemalan food is not very good.  Dull meats, dull beans, thick yucky tortillas.  The street vendors tend to sell fried chicken & French fries.  Also, you can almost always buy cashews and fresh fruit.  Most places when the buses slow down, vendors either stand outside the bus or walk thru the aisles and try and sell you food & drink ... it's pretty handy. 

View of Lake Atitlan from PanajachelAnyway, we got off the bus in what we thought was Panajachel, but it wasn't so we ended up walking down a long street with our heavy packs hoping to catch another bus.  We finally flagged down another bus that was so crowded we could barely get on. 

Pana is really beautiful.  It is a tourist destination so it has lots of shops and restaurants and a very pretty walkway along the lake.  Pana seems to be a place where people come to "drop" out.  Kind of a hippy type atmosphere.

September 6, 2004:  Panajachel's Reserva Natural Atitlan

Pana National Reserve Pana has a coffee plantation that has been turned into a national reserve.  It's very beautiful...you say that a lot about Guatemala.  The reserve had lots of spider monkeys that liked to be hand fed.  Our favorite critter was the raccoon who did a good job competing with the monkeys for attention.  We spent over an hour feeding & watching the animals. 

We walked the trails thru the jungle and found a waterfall and several suspensions bridges that were a little scary to cross.  We started taking a trail up the mountain until I finally protested.  After about 30 minutes of climbing up a mountain, I was getting nervous to get back down!  The reserve also has a butterfly exhibit that was fun.  Right in the middle of the exhibit nestled in the foliage was a BIG hawk.  He startled me and looked like he might like to see what I tasted like!

The monkeys:

 

September 7, 2004:  Panajachel to San Pedro la LagunaPaths thru cornfields in San Pedro la Laguna

We caught a launcha (boat) to cross the lake over to San Pedro la Laguna.  This is suppose to be a hippy community, but all we saw were young people ... not too many old hippies.  This is also suppose to be a mystical place.  We found a hotel at the base of a large hill you have to climb to get into town.  Along the hill and at the top is the shopping and main town which is pretty much like all the other towns.  If you go back down the hill, there are massive corn fields.  There are paths throughout the cornfields and little houses, shops, restaurants, yoga retreats, etc. are nestled in the corn fields.  We spent a lot of time lost among the corn fields!

The food in the restaurants here was decent and extremely inexpensive.  You can get a steak dinner for about $3.00.  We went to Arte Libre and watched Spiderman 2.  Their idea of a movie theater is a large screen TV and a VCR showing a bootleg movie!  It was great.

September 8, 2004:  San Pedro la Laguna & Santiago Atitlan

Our hotel is young people central.  We chose this hotel so Abby could spend some time with people her own age and go out without us having to worry.  The bars are close by and loud.  Finally the music dies down about 3:00 am and all the kids come back to the hotel and sit around outside and talk ... loudly.  Needless to say, we did not sleep well.  Thane is tired and grumpy and Abby is having a migraine. 

We took a launcha over to Santiago Atitlan for a quick day trip.  It is a large town here on the lake, but it is not very attractive.  This is were Maximon (San Simon, the wicked saint) is supposed to be.  This saint's likeness is kept in a different house every year and people make a pilgrimage to make an offering to him of things like cigars, cigarettes & rum.  I want to go and find him, but Thane and Abby are not up to it.       

The vendors here are the most aggressive to date.  They surround you and will not take no for an answer.  There is a gang of about 6 kids that have found us and are following us around everywhere continually asking for a donation.  Finally with a little humor we shake most of the kids except for one little boy with an extremely runny nose.  After awhile I realized that what he wants is the remainder of Thane's coke.  I figured what the heck he's already got the most severe runny nose I've ever seen and so we gave it to him.  He was thrilled and followed us back to the launcha and waited with us until it left.  Santiago Atitlan was my least favorite place in all of Guatemala.

Back at the hotel and it is pouring down rain.  Since we arrived at Lake Atitlan, it has rained hard every afternoon.  Thane says he wants to stay here and take Spanish lessons, but I am ready to return to the boat.  All this traveling is fun, but I miss having other people to talk to.  Maybe if I could speak Spanish (other than off a menu) the Guatemalans would talk to me!       

September 9, 2004:  San Pedro la Laguna to Quetzaltenango (Xela) 

After another loud, sleepless night we are up at 5:30 am to catch the bus to Xela.  On the bus we met a young GView of the highlands from our bus.erman girl named Christina that was traveling alone.  I am amazed at how many women (young and not so young) are traveling in Guatemala by themselves.  Anyway, Christina was the only person we met during our trip that had anything stolen.  It happened to her on another bus trip.  As I've said, the buses can get really crowded so you sit very, very close to other people.  Christina was sitting next to a Mayan lady and her children and holding her backpack on her lap.  When she got off the bus, she realized that her backpack had been slit with a knife and her wallet had been taken.  Luckily for her that was the one she kept very little cash in and her passport and most of her money was kept in another place.  When we get on a chicken bus, we put our backpacks on the rack in front of us so we can see them.  Guess we'll keep doing that.

The bus driver was crazy!  We learned early on not to sit right at the front of the bus where you can see the road ... Gringos can't take it!  The bus drivers drive fast, past on blind curves, don't stop for stop signs.  It's downright scary, better not to be able to see what's going on.

Xela is the 2nd largest city in Guatemala.  The bus terminal looked interesting, but we were tired so we caught a cab to our hotel.  This was the first hotel we have stayed in that did not have a private bath.  It's was only $2.50 per night, but I still insisted that they get us pillow cases for the pillows.  We saw a Hiper Piaz (looked like a big Sam's) from the taxi so we called a cab and went back over there that evening.  Turns out it was attached to a big mall.  Oh how wonderful ....  Taco Bell for dinner for Thane & I and Pizza Hut for Abby!  Yum, good ole American junk food.  How we have missed it.

September 10, 2004:  Day trip to San Francisco el Alto

Market in San Francisco el AltoThe purpose of our trip to Xela was to go to the animal market in San Francisco el Alto.  This is supposedly the biggest market in Guatemala and what made it more interesting was that it was focused more on Guatemalans than Gringos.  We took the chicken bus and Christina went with us.  This was an extremely crowded market.  People push and shove you to get thru ... especially the little Mayan ladies.  Thane had one put her forearm in his lower back and use him to push her way thru the crowd!  Those little 4' ladies can be pretty tough.

The animal market was fun.  Alas, Abby and Thane were hoping to find a monkey, but there were none.  Lots of pigs, goats, cows, chickens, geese, turkeys and surprisingly cats & dogs.

Here's a view of the market:

 

We headed back to our hotel in Xela for the evening.  Thane was still not feeling well so we stopped at McDonald's for another junk food fix and watched TV for the evening.  Abby went out and spent time with the young people at the hotel.  I think Guatemala must be the destination of choice for kids from Israel as they out numbered any other nationality we met.  That night there was a very large group of kids from Israel and as we went to sleep we listened to them singing in Hebrew.  It was lovely.  

The next day we took the bus back to Guatemala City.  I am going to have surgery and we interviewed 2 doctors.  I don't think I will go into my surgery in detail on this log.  We then headed back to the Rio Dulce.

September 22, 2004:  Antigua

It is Wednesday and we are back in Antigua to await surgery on Saturday.  We stayed at the Hotel Casa Santa Lucia and it was so loud we couldn't sleep.  It is on the main drag where the chicken buses pass and they begin honking at about 4:30 am.   It is so loud we can't even talk to each other.  We went to the Rainbow Cafe for dinner.  It is one of our favorite places to eat dinner in Antigua, but this time the meal was disappointing. 

September 23, 2004:  Antigua

We have to take the chicken bus back into Guatemala City for blood tests & EEG.  My surgery is scheduled for tomorrow, but I'm certain I will pass my blood tests with flying colors.  A benefit to be married to the same person for 27 years is that you can be pretty sure you don't have Aids.  The doctor was embarrassed to tell me they were going to do an aids test.  They do all the blood work & EEG and the total bill comes to $80.00 US.

We found a new hotel, Juma Ocog.  It is on the same street as the other hotel, but on the opposite end every close to the hospital.  Abby is with us at the hotel tonight, but will move to her own hotel tomorrow.  She has signed up to take Spanish lessons.     

September 24-?, 2004:  Antigua

We went to Santa Lucia (the hospital) for my surgery early this morning.  No one but the doctor spoke English.  The Dr. gave me a shot to relax and I pretty much don't remember another thing until I woke up after the surgery.  I was starving and asked Thane to get me some food.  He had a problem communicating with the nurses so I took over. 

The nurses were nice, but we had a problem communicating.  At least I knew mas dolor, which means much pain & they would bring me a shot.  I, of course, lived thru the surgery, but now that I think back on it I realize they never even took my blood pressure.  I was in a semi-private room, but had no roommate.  The nurses insisted on changing my bandages over and over again.  Even if there was just a little, teeny, tiny bit of blood on it, they changed it.  One nurse, noting that I had not jumped up and used my "free toothbrush and toothpaste" asked if she could have them.  I said sure...I'd brought my own.

I was released from the hospital the next day.  The Dr. asked me how things went and I said fine except for the language barrier.  He couldn't believe I didn't speak fluent Spanish.  Apparently if you give me a lot of drugs, I speak Spanish very well.

Courtyard at Juma OcagWe took a taxi the two blocks to the hotel.  Even in a cab, a cobblestone street is not pleasant after surgery.  We had moved out of our hotel room for 3 and been moved to a hotel room for 2 with only one double bed.  Thane & I both slept very little that night...both being afraid he would turn over & clock me one in my stitches.  The next day we moved into a room with 2 double beds and that's where we stayed for the next three weeks.  The hotel was owned by two brothers Juan & Jose.  The hotel is the cleanest we have stayed in in Guatemala.  It too is very loud.  In fact, the noise doesn't stop all night.  Between the Guatemalan kids that party all night and the buses starting up first thing in the morning, the only time it's semi quiet is during the day.  But I like the people that run the place.  Jose stops by every day to see how I'm doing and try to teach me Spanish.  Thane has begun Spanish lessons so he takes care of getting me breakfast and then heads off to class.  I've been ordered to get up and walk around and we are close to the market so we stay sans sleep at night. 

October - November 2004:  Rio Dulce

Dock at Mario's MarinaWe are back in the Rio Dulce.  Abby has met friends in Antigua and is backpacking around Guatemala with them.  I'm recuperating nicely.  Time has a way of just slipping by on the Rio.  On Thursdays I go to the clinic in the village behind Mario's to help out.  Mac (we met him in Placencia & he now owns part of Mario's) is our doctor.  Christal, from s/v Marcella or Neil, from s/v Away II, are our interpreters & doctors assistants.  I sign the patients in and try and find their records.  Do a little nursing via cleaning cuts, etc.   I enjoy getting to know some of the locals a better.  Many of the kids show up for help at the clinic alone.  You grow up fast in Guatemala.

Still there's a lot of time on our hands.  Thane has taken up internet poker.  I am now occasionally bartending at the Cayuco Club.  It's fun and I'd be up there anyway, might as well be a little productive.

November 2004:  Guatemala City

Having a little problem with my incision so it's back to Guatemala City to see the doctor again.  We are ready to leave the Rio Dulce so this is a quick trip, the doctor does some cutting and putting in of more stitches and says come back in 10 days.  No can do, we are leaving so I ask him to show me how to take them out myself.  He can't believe I'm going to do that, but what choice do I have. 

Abby has decided that her money supply is dwindling and she needs to return to the US to work.  She is going to join the Navy so that she can continue traveling to foreign ports, get money for college, and save up to buy her own boat.  We are going to sail her up to Miami.  We haven't seen our son in a long time and made arrangements for him to fly to Isla Mujeres, Mexico to meet us for Christmas.  

November 11, 2004:  Mario's Marina to Livingston   

Time to go.  It's sad to leave since we really liked it here, but more adventure awaits.  We moved the boat from the dock and anchored just off Mario's so we could begin our trip on a Thursday rather than a Friday. 

I have a cold and Thane is beginning to feel bad too.  But Abby wants to leave.  She has friends that will be waiting for her in Mexico and she's ready to go.  Jon Luc s/v Shanti is suppose to be waiting for us in Livingston.

It was an uneventful motor to Livingston.  We anchored, went into town and checked out of Guatemala.  Jon Luc had already left without us.  Dutchess, friends from Mario's, anchored nearby, but they had to leave during the night at high tide to get over the bar as they draw 8'.  Thank goodness we only draw 4' and can leave in daylight.

Goodbye Guatemala.  What a wonderful country.  The people are friendly and colorful.  The landscape is beautiful.  Most important, we met some wonderful people that will be friends for life.  Continued in next log...

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