Livingston: Phase I
Livingston is a port town on the small Carribean coast of Gautemala. The only access to the town is by water, either by sea, or by the Rio Dulce. It is an interesting composition of Garifuna, Spanish and Maya cultures.
There are two main roads in town that spread off from the docks; one that heads up the hill away from the docks. The other heads parallel along the Rio Dulce coast line. Overall, its a fairly lazy time in town.
The setting is laid back, and opportunities abound for some quality hammock time. The heat is something that can readily be coped with, as there was a strong wind blowing through the town for the entire duration of my stay. I ended up staying at Casa de la Iguana, a hostel that was in part inspired by El Retiro.
The first night there, we ended up heading into town to catch some local dancing at a club. Being a sunday, there weren't many people out, except for a couple of the older crowd. One of the women tried to show me some dancing, which I tried to accomplish with little success (the dancing is composed of a lot of hip work with slight foot movement). Afterwards, she asked me to buy her a beer. At the bar, she bought three (one for her, two for her friends) and let me foot the bill. I did have a coco loco here, which is the ideal of deliciousness. For those not in the know, a Coco Loco is a a coconut that is cut open, and a generous helping of rum is poured in and mixed with the coconut water. Given it was a Sunday, there was not much action here. It was time to head back to the Hostel for the night.
The next day, we took a boat trip to Los Siete Altares and Playa Blanca. Unfortunately, it had not rained, so when we got to the waterfalls, there was mainly dry stone and pools of water. I did however, do some jumping into the water off of things. Always fun. We carried on from here to Playa Blanca. A private beach, a good distance north of Livingston.
The wind was strong here, and we shared a small number of beers, some pineapple, enjoyed some sun on the shore, and played a game of soccer with the boat captain, and Romario, his first mate. The ride home was one of the most fun/uncomfortable boat rides I've ever been on. The sea was being kicked up, and we were riding parallel to the shore form most of the trip. The riding was rough, and often times the boat would sail just ahead of a wave that cresting ride next to the boat. If we popped above a wave, we would come slamming down on the water. A french girl and her Tahitian friend were not really enamored with the whole experience; made all the worse by the rollercoaster style "Woos" that were coming from our row.
The next day, we had planned to go on the Jungle tour, which is a mix of a hike through the Garifuna section of town with the cultural aspects thrown in plus a hike through the jungle back to the waterfalls. Alas, our guide never showed, so instead the days became lazy, focused on reading.
Tuesday arrived, and we all departed. I returned up the Rio Dulce to try and go on the three day hike. Everybody else were apparently heading to the Bay Islands in Honduras. I'm not upset that I didn't head off with these acquaintances, that's part of the travelling bit. I wish I had done better planning to do some diving down in the bay islands. Another time though.Livingston - Phase II
Alas, Felipe never met with me in Rio Dulce. As a result, I ended up pissing off a lot of money for two boat trips. I did get back to Livingston for more days of fun. My first night back, Casa de la Iguana was booked. I ended up in a small guesthouse. Hotel Maya. I still went down to the Iguana for the nightlife.
The next day I tried to get on the Jungle tour. Again, we were stood up. Another day of laziness as I took to reading quite a bit here, loving the hammock and watching the occasional movie (apparently, many of the people there had watched Borat innumerable times). That night granted the second major night of party and dance.
The next day, I was able to get on the Jungle tour. Yet again, another complication had arisen. Apparently there were a couple other people there, and he had taken off with them. So we met up with him half way through the cultural part of the tour. At this point, I wasn't too afflicted. I just assumed this was how things went and accepted it in stride. We did some hiking through the outlying portions of the village, past kids staring at us out of doorways.
We took a boat down the river to the shore of the beach (this seemed more for effect than necessity). Then after much hiking along the shore, we arrived at Los Siete Altares. Now they were brimming with water. Good swimming in the water and more jumping off of things, plus I did some further exploring upstream.
The night welcomed a performance by the One Love Band at Casa (they had performed on Monday night before as well, though this would be a much better performance). There would be much talk of smoking weed, many jokes, and often the lyrics would be forgotten/improvised/hmmed over as the band would play. Most would be Marley tunes with some hip hop tossed in. The One Love band performs with traditional drums and turtle shell percussions tossed in. After the performance, there was a last night of partying and fun.
The next day I would leave Guatemala and head off to Belize. A quality place I was leaving.