We returned to the Rio Dulce in October 2008 to find our back yard once again flooded, this time worse than the first. We could not even enter the parking lot via the normal route. Our good friend, Scarlet, who is also the Mar Marine Dockmaster, had rallied the yard workers to clear the rear entrance of all storm debris. They cleared a way for our taxi to enter via the back gate and drive nearly all the way to our dock. The water in this photo is more than a foot deep, and the level of water in the lake was about four feet above normal meaning we literally had to climb up into the boat from the dock. Our waterfront home however, was dry, cozy, and warm, very warm, as in 93 degrees warm when we arrived. The air conditioner, struggling with a worn out fan motor, quickly cooled the cabin to a balmy 80 degrees. The locals consider this their winter.
Ocean Angel’s deck is 2 1/2 feet above the dock where we normally lie about a foot below the docks. This photo was taken a few days after we returned and the water in the lake had receded just a bit. The motor yachts normally berthed to our port side still could not return to their slips as they could not fit under the shed roofs. Joy was boat-bound for about a week.
We can’t say enough good about Mar Marine, especially Scarlet and her hard working staff who did so much to accommodate us and to help make Joy’s life on the Rio just that much easier. You can see all about Mar on their web site, www.marmarine.com.gt Not only are they the least expensive, they have some of the cleanest, most modern facilities in the entire region. All their slips are side tie slips, and they have full service capabilities. Everyone there is helpful in spite of the language barrier. We will miss their smiling faces.
Many of you know that over the summer months we tried twice to take a trip to Flores and Tikal to see the northern highlands and the Mayan ruins. We bought bus tickets, made hotel reservations, and twice had to cancel due to intestinal parasites and flu-like symptoms. This time we were determined, and nothing was going to stop us. Not even the chicken bus ride from Rio Dulce to Flores. We bought our tickets for the chicken bus because it was cheaper and arrived in the daylight, whereas the first class bus arrived after dark. Once on the bus with the Pride Go-Go scooter safely stowed in the luggage compartment (sort of) the attendant told us we would have to purchase an extra ticket for the “car”. We had a little discussion in Spanish about cars versus wheelchairs, and I lost. The chicken bus ended up costing more than the first class bus, and we stopped at every little village. Live and learn.
But was it worth it all? Here’s the view above from the window of our room on the first night and the welcome to the Island of Flores we found the next morning. This little town, situated on an island in the middle of Lago de Peten Itza, was one of the friendliest, safest places we have ever visited. No armed guards, everyone smiling, the streets full of people strolling day and night. Everyone has a welcome for you, and the shopkeepers are thrilled to have you come in for a visit. No pressure to buy, just smiles and helpful answers to your questions. We visited one little store a few doors down from our hotel, bought a couple of small items, and the sweet lady running the shop treated us as if we were the most important people in the world. Full of warmth and smiles, and wishing a wonderful stay in the Flores area. We felt like family after only moments, and for you skeptics, even those shops where we bought nothing opened their arms to us in the same manner. What a gracious experience.