Thursday, October 31, 2013

Too Much Rain and a Rising River - Rio Dulce, Guatemala

It has been raining everyday for almost a week!  The days have been starting with cloudy skies and sometimes a peek of sun, but then the rain moves in, and it usually rains all day and most of the night.  Yesterday, we finally had a full day without rain, and we were very happy!  Today looks better, so hopefully the rain has moved on north, and we can enjoy the sun again!  The river has come up several feet, so many of the areas are flooded.  We have had to move our fenders and lines to the dock several times as the water has risen.  It would be a good time to head down the river, as the current is strong!
 Our picnic area is almost flooded!
 Parking lot at Mar Marina
 Parking lot at Mar Marina
 Apartment parking area
 Boat storage at Mar Marine
Driveway and boat storage
Boats on trailers, ready to float away!

Mar Marine Office

Board and block walkway from restaurant to office

Primary boat ramp at Mar Marina

Playground at restaurant...where are the kids?


Another picnic area underwater

We have had to adjusted our fenders and lines several times this week, as the boat has risen against the dock.

Truck driving through the parking lot


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Dentist and Shopping in Morales and Puerto Barrios, Guatemala!

When I was a child, for some reason unknown, one of my front teeth died and turned yellow.  All of my life I lived with a dark front tooth, until I moved to Costa Rica back in 2006.  Before I returned back to Arkansas, I had a very good dentist in Costa Rica build a perfect cap for my ugly yellow tooth.  Within 6 months of returning back to Arkansas, I was biting and twisting a chicken wing, and the beautiful cap shattered in many pieces.  I then had an Arkansas dentist rebuild a new cap, at a huge cost, to replace the one from Costa Rica.
All of that to say that my cap split in two the other night while I was chewing on a pork chop bone.  Luckily I saved both pieces, and started looking for a dentist here in Guatemala.  I found a lady named Sonya, who had an office in Morales, about 45 minutes from Rio Dulce.  Robert and Yohana offered to take me to Morales, and the road trip was on!  I was so focused on the dentist and repairing my tooth that I didn't take my camera.  Luckily, mom took hers, so these are her pictures! 
Morales was larger than I had expected, and the dentist office was in some market area in a two story building.  Luckily, I had her phone number and she gave us direction to her office.  The market areas were really crazy with people coming from all around to buy and sell things.  While I sat in the dentist chair, mom and Yohana ran around and shopped! 
Sonya did an excellent job of gluing the parts back together on my tooth, but I will have to be careful not to split it again.  I guess when I arrive back in the US, I will have a new one build, but for now, I am happy to have a front tooth again.  Last weekend on the castle tour, I didn't smile too much in any of the pictures, as I was missing my front tooth! 
 The local meat shop!
Meat ready to cook!
 Yohana shopping!
 The lady on the scooter wasn't too happy to have her picture taken.
 Not sure of the subject matter here, but remember that I didn't take the photo!  A nice contrast in subject matter!

 Lunch is cooking in the back of the stores!
This guy was selling underwear...not quite Victoria's Secrets
This guy was giving the underwear guy a hard time about something.

Fresh vegetables

 View from the dentist office of the parking area of the market.  Many people put things on top of their trucks to sell, and then return with many things for the farm.

 This guy had a bag full of bottles of pills of every sort.  nice....the local candyman!
Robert waving back up to the dentist office
 Lots of clothes!
 A large collection of empty bottles, ready to go back to the factory for filling
 Walmart owned Maxi Despensa!  It was a very nice store with many things that we were looking for!

 Yippee!  I finally found a Pollo Campero!  The world wide headquarters is in Guatemala City, but this was the first one that I have seen.  There is one of these stores in the Rogers Walmart #1.  This restaurant was in a food court mall in Puerto Barrios.  Lunch special was only Q30 for a two piece combo (less than $4.00).

 Another Maxi Depensa in Puerto Barrios, a larger town than Morales.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Another Crazy Rio Dulce Weekend - Jetpack Demonstration at Backpackers Hotel and Marina

After we finished our tour of the Castillo de San Felipe last weekend, we decided to head over to Backpackers Hotel and Marina for lunch!  This was Yohana's favorite place for lunch and since my mom and I haven't been there before, it was a perfect choice!  What I forgot, and quickly remembered, was that they had a Jetpack demonstration scheduled!  They had announced it on the cruisers net in the morning, but I had completely forgot about it!  Actually, it was really fun, with many people and the demonstration was excellent!  They were even asking for volunteers to try it out.  Too bad I didn't have my swim trunks! 
The crowd at Backpackers Hotel and Marina, watching the Jetpack demonstration
The local navy/army came in full force, complete with machine guns.  We weren't sure if they were going to help save someone in the water or just there for protection.  They always look so serious, but I guess it is their job!
Video of the demonstration!
This guy was obviously the expert!  He was really crazy, flying around so close to the docks and boats!

He actually 'flew' right into the dock and landed!
Touch down!
This poor little guy struggled even with the help of the expert, but at least he tried!

 This was the about the best that he could manage!
 Even the security needs a break!
Another crazy weekend on the Rio Dulce with MokaKat!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Castillo de San Felipe (Castle San Felipe) - Protection from Pirates!!!

Last weekend we were invited to go with Robert and Yohana to Castillo San Felipe.  It was built originally in 1652, as a Spanish Fort to protect the river against pirates.  Many of the Spanish galleons were anchored in Lake Isabal, and the fort was near the entrance to the lake.  It was almost destroyed several times in the 1600s by pirates, but has been reconstructed in 1955.
Entrance to the Castle, complete with moat and drawbridge
The park like entrance to the castle grounds was very beautiful, with large trees and picnic areas.  The castle is on a peninsula, so the complete peninsula is part of the castle grounds.  We enjoyed a nice walk through the grounds, coming to the castle itself.
 Augie and Yohana
 Road leading to castle
 Graveyard on Castle grounds
 Beautiful trees along the road to castle
 Poster showing castle
 Yohana - our personal tour guide!
 Augie in front on Castle
 Dale in front of Castle
Beautiful picnic areas with canons by the river
The castle moat, with a beautiful view out to the river.  I didn't see any crocs or skeletons!
Once inside the castle, the passageways were very narrow with several direction changes.  This must be to make it harder to attack anyone in the castle.  The canons inside the castle were also in towers with very narrow stairs and openings that could be secured with a plate. 
 Kitchen area
 Courtyard of the castle
One of many cannons
 View out one cannon opening of the river
 Augie and Yohana!  Who's hat is that?
A small church within the castle (Iglesia Antonio Del Castillo)
Narrow passages with many turns between different areas of the castle

 There was one secret passage that we found that didn't have any lights.  We used Yohana's iPhone on flashlight mode to see the way.  It was really dark and the passage had many turns in it.  It finally came out into an area that could have been the sleeping quarters.  I caught a picture of mom feeling her way through the dark passage....sorry mom for blinding you with the flash!!!
Was that a rat or spider by your feet????  or a ghost?

The exit of the secret passage into the sleeping area
Sleeping area, we think!
 Narrow stairs leading up to cannon sentry
 Augie climbing steep stairs to cannon sentry
View from the cannon sentry (Torre de Bustamante)
 Yohana and Augie
 Augie holding down the fort!
Yohana and Dale
 Dale sitting on his favorite cannon!
Yohana, Robert and Augie!  Which one doesn't look like the other???? What's the deal with the hands????
 Beautiful brass cannon made in 1796.
Robert and Augie checking out the inscription on the cannon
 View from the castle back toward the castle grounds
View of palm tree and river from the castle
Roof top view of castle
After we finished the castle tour, we decided to go through the Pirates Museum.  I think it was only 5 quetzals each, less then a dollar, but I am not sure it was worth the price, but was still fun!  The rest of the museum was in a bit of disarray, along with the pools, swinging bridge, and the hotel. 
 I thought that I found a new first mate, but I just couldn't get used to her right handed hook.
Mom also found a man, but the snake scarf was a little over the top! 

Ah, this one is better!  No hook and an orange drink!  Interesting, the same face, must be twins!

The local tour guide, maintenance man, and money taker, posing for the camera!  This explains a lot!

Mom finally found one, but he wasn't much of a talker!

 Poor Yohana!!!!

Umm..maybe we will pass on the rotten boarded bridge over the empty swimming pool tour.  

This hotel looks like a great place for a Halloween Haunted House!  I wasn't sure if anyone lives there or not, but some of the rooms looked like someone was there.
I'm not sure if the hotel was designed with a sloping floor or whether this was an added feature.
We really enjoy our morning on the castle tour!  We then went out to lunch at Backpackers Hotel and Marina.  Remember that this was on a weekend, so Backpackers was really crazy.  See the next post to see the craziness!