|(Just a quick disclaimer: many have asked for more of Sam's input . . . I do not have her locked in a room in Guatemala City where I occasionally feed her and bring her a laptop to add her two cents. She typically does not really want to sit and type up journal entries, so, to keep things flowing, I often do the posting. I will try to get her to add some comments to the postings.)
Neither one of us liked Livingston all that much. There were people constantly hounding you for money and services, typically services that were not needed since the town consists of all but two streets. We had one guy who tried to take us to a hotel that we were already going to, we told him we didn't need help, he ran into us later and asked for money for the "advice". Plus the next day he sat down with Sam and I in a restaurant and asked us to buy him a beer. Any which way, we were marooned in Livingston for a day due to a hellacious storm that blew in right after we arrived. So, we hung around, swam a little, ate a little, drank a little and planned our escape.
Tuesday morning we woke up to the sound of light rain and were worried that we had another day to kill in Livingston (since the boat driver, Berte, was not hip on boating in bad weather). But, fortunately, it was only a LIGHT rain that quickly passed, and Berte was eager to make some money for food and beer. So, we left around 7:00 a.m. for our four hour journey between Livingston and Rio Dulce Town. The trip was pretty damn cool for the river portion, though once we got to the part of the river called the Golfete (which is lake sized), the trip across got a bit hot and dull. Only a certain number of hours can be spent on a hard boat seat.
The first stop we made was at a jungle retreat run by a group that is trying to help the local K'iche Mayans learn Spanish and train them in other skills. There was a nature trail, a restaurant and a gift shop, plus some beautiful flowers and these tiny red crabs everywhere. This stop was very fortunate, since I thought I was going to have to do the whole trip with no coffee! Another really cool stop was this place along the bank of the river where hot water flowed from the cliff wall. This water was very HOT, so a lot of strategy was required to find a good seat. Each time a boat passed, the wake would stir up the hot water, so you needed to seat yourself at the threshold between the hot and the cold.
The trip was a very nice alternative to the buses we've been on as of late, though the rest of our day was spent on an interesting bus journey from Rio Dulce Town to Flores in northern Guatemala near Tikal, which is in the next posting.