Monday, September 5, 2011

Rio Dulce

The road south from Tikal to Rio Dulce is fast and easy. We pulled into Rio Dulce hoping to find a good cheap room to dry out our camping gear and recover for a day or two. The hotels we saw first off seemed either really seedy or really expensive. We crossed the huge bridge to the slow side of town to ask about a hotel. It was Q160, not willing to come down. She sent us to the Backpackers Hotel for something a bit more económico. Turns out it was. Dorm beds are Q30, we got a private room with shared bath for Q60. Private room with private bath was Q200 and not nearly as nice as the other place, if that helps your Rio Dulce future planning. The Backpacker is literally right on the water, with most of the dorm rooms built onto old docks.

A restaurant serves up good food, but at high prices. At least the extra money is used for a program to help orphaned kids learn skills at the restaurant and hotel. Cheaper and tasty food is available at the many comedores surrounding the hostel, which we tended towards. We figured our lodging expenses were our contribution to their social program.

The next morning, Mike had a fever and was in no condition to drive, so a low key day at Rio Dulce was had. Constant napping for Mike, constant exploring and Spanish practice for Jill. All in all, not so bad. At least for one of us.

The following day was a Monday, so a visit to the clinic was possible, and travel still seemed like a bad idea. Internet and clinic day in Rio Dulce. The clinic got the wax mountain out of Mike’s ears (I guess the Arai is kinda noisy after all...) so he could hear again, but with his temperature back to normal, plenty of water, food, and licuados helped the sicko recover. In the meantime, Jill caught up on some internetting at the computer hospital in town. That is the one spot where you can find all of the gringo expats that live in Rio Dulce. They all seem to have some issue with their computers, and come to this one guy to fix it. He seemed good at what he does, speaks perfect English, but sadly has to deal with some unhappy people on occasion. One guy lectured him on how gringos act as consumers – that he will call up a manager of the company, call up the owner, and get 'er done. The computer technician had clearly been trying to get in touch with the other company, but in a usual Latin American way, had difficulty in getting a part sent immediately. The gringo did not want to hear that. That gringo needed to let it go. We felt bad for the computer tech having to deal with that. He was doing what he could. Some Americans do not make the best ambassadors for our country, often insisting that the American way is the only way to do things.

The good news is that we are now certain that licuados are our absolute favoritest food ever. Available in almost any fruit flavor, it’s a blended drink based on either water or milk. Around US$1 will get you a fresh licuado, usually US$1.50 or so for the thicker milk versions. Licuados are the best. Refreshing and filling all at once. Most importantly to us, cheap and yummy.

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