Monday, August 31, 2015

Misadventures in Central America: Part I

Alright, I know I said my next post would be about my 2nd Tinder date, but because it's been a while since I've blogged regularly, I realized that there are some things I should probably catch you guys up on. The first being my trip to Central America. Sophie has been living in Guatemala for the past year, doing social work with a local youth program. She loves it there, and had been begging me to visit, and finally I had the time and the money (sort of) to go. Sophie is a Type A Personality and therefore likes to be in control and have a plan for everything, so I gave her my dates and let her plan the trip.
This was the itinerary: Louisiana > Houston > Guatemala City > Lago Atitlan > Antigua > Rio Dulce > Livingston > Belize > Guatemala City > Home

So do you guys remember when John invited me to go to Belize with him a while back, but then (as per usual) it ended up not happening? Well I got a bit tipsy one night and told him I was going to Belize finally, and that he should come! And he said he would. I didn't actually believe that he would though, because he's not the most dependable person. But he did! I'll get to that later...

So I drove to Houston first because flights were way cheaper and that way I could fly direct. I spent an evening with my dad and then he drove me to the airport the next morning on his way to work.
I'm not gonna go into ALL the details of every day, but let's just say there was a lot of rain, a lot of boat travel, and not a lot of sleep. The first night we stayed on the lake at Jim's house. Jim is this American guy who's retired in Guatemala and has a huge fancy house on the lake with its own private dock. He is currently dating a 21 year old from Texas and apparently regularly invites American girls to move in with him. Sophie moved in with him on a part time basis because it was free, and nice, obviously, but they don't have any kind of romantic relationship. So, other than the horrific boat ride across the lake in the driving rain, it was nice and peaceful at Jim's. I woke up at like 5am to take photos of the sunrise on the lake too. It was beautiful.
The next day we took another boat to the other side of the lake and spent the day sight seeing sort of. On day 3, we drove to Antigua with Jim and his child bride. Sophie and I stayed in a hostel, while Jim and his gf went to a fancy hotel. The hostel was decent, and we had our own room, but it literally poured rain the whole time we were there too.
Keep in mind, I didn't bring any rain appropriate clothing, or even a light sweater, because it was June and I was going to Central America and I thought it would be hot. But 80% of the trip was spent soaking wet and freezing.

So Antigua was fun, but also exhausting. We ate in some cool little boutique cafes and did some shopping. Then we hopped a bus at 4am to Rio Dulce, a little town on the river (obviously).
We stayed at the most amazing place!! It was like a bungalow village in the middle of the jungle. We got our own little hut, and there were hammocks everywhere, and the couple that runs the place had a dog and a cat who were super cool, and they cooked a communal dinner for us. We were the only ones staying there so really it was just like family dinner, but it was awesome! I spent a lot of time taking photos and laying around reading, which was nice. In the morning we went swimming and kayaking with the dog (who loved kayaking but hated actually getting in the river, lol).
Then the next afternoon we took a private boat to Livingston, which was the last stop before Belize.

Livingston sucked. Well, the hostel sucked. There were thousands of like genetically modified mosquitos everywhere, and we were surrounded by tons of 20 year old hipsters, who just wanted to sit around in the hostel and get wasted, instead of actually going out and doing/seeing things. Also it was hot as FUCK. I should clarify though, NOWHERE that we stayed had air conditioning, but this place was just awful. And we couldn't get out of there soon enough. And of course with all the boats and traveling, and lugging my bags around everywhere, I was just ready for some actual vacation time on my vacation. I had one bag just full of camera equipment and one rollerbag for all my other stuff. Sophie had her backpacking bag, but since I have back problems, I can't carry backpacks. :/ We did eat at an awesome restaurant and I had a boozy drink in a hollowed out coconut, and we took a really informative tour of the Garifuna village. So that was cool. But I couldn't wait to get to Belize!

So we had to go through customs before we could get on our boat to Belize, and they had to take a photo, so of course I made a stupid face. Hahaha. The boat ride was the worst yet. It was about an hour and a half of really, really choppy water, scary boat driving, and being slammed back and forth and up and down, and the luggage was all piled in the front, and I was so sure we were all just gonna tip over and spill into the ocean never to be seen again! I was also really sore and wet by the end of it. It was like riding one of those watery boat rollercoasters at an amusement park that NEVER ENDS.
But when it did finally end, we were in Placencia, Belize. An island paradise!!

More on that in my next post or 2...


Ashley said...

Can't wait to read the rest!

http://sweetcanadian.blogspot.com/ said...

I thought sophie got married?? I take it she is separated if she is over there by herself. Did i miss something?

The rain sounds like my trip to Florida. Out of 10 days it poured for 8.5 and we got 1.5 days of sun.... in August. I was prepared for the humidity, but i was not prepared for the rain. That much was unusual for that time of year. I guess we just had a bad week.

Glad you are back blogging again.