Day 13; Leaving Rio Dulce with my sneakers in my hand
The weather has made a dramatic turn around today. Yesterday’s cloud cover and seeping rain is nowhere to be seen. The view from the hammock of our balcony this morning was lovely. It was a shame we couldn’t stay one more day to enjoy Tortugal. And dry my sneakers, in a bag at my feet still damp from yesterday’s sodden adventures. Today we leave for a single night in Flores with the luxury of a sleep in. It was cold overnight, the air flowing into our cabin through the open air gaps between the walls and roof. The lack of adequate blankets on the bed and in the rooms reveal the climate they are used to accommodating here.
More lush green countryside is rushing past the windows of our minivan. I finally have my music working after downloading an app yesterday so I am happily plugged in, even though I’ve had to create a playlist again.
Guatemalans work the land as we pass. Men lead donkeys carrying planks of trees on each sides of their bellies. Scrawny horses rip up grass at the roads edge while chickens peck at the ground and men carry sacks on their shoulders. Thatched huts and ramshackle buildings dot the landscape. To us the huts may appear cute and quaint and we love the idea of a visit, but we can leave. It is easy to forget that this is where the locals live full-time and lack the creature comforts we have at home paid for by our jobs in air-conditioned offices. These people do back breaking work on the land just to feed their families.
Today we cross into another department of Guatemala, what we’d call states in Australia. Tomorrow we will depart Flores to cross over into Belize.
We hit Flores a little after midday. The main part of our hotel is a lovely oasis on the lake with a deck stretching along it and a small pool. The colours of the town of Flores are directly across from us. Some of the others are excited by the pool, I’m excited by the espresso machine after Tortugal’s brewed coffee. Priorities.
Dani proposes a walk across the lake into town for lunch, or we can hang out by the pool until we check in. Some quiet relaxation in the cool breeze by the lake sounds like a perfect way to spend an afternoon to me. I order a coffee and settle on down, as do a few of my fellow group members. We idly chat and watch the wildlife, learning that according to Google there are in fact two species of crocodile that live in the lake. And they that don’t look particularly small. We don’t see any, but swimming all of a sudden doesn’t seem like such a hot idea. There is a ferris wheel and some sort of tents off to the side of the lake so it appears the carnival is in town. A couple of us order food, a banana nutella crepe and a Cappuccino for me!
The afternoon passes in this way, as the others drift back they join us at various times. We all take the walk into town for dinner once evening falls, walking alongside the road over the lake to the town we could see from our afternoon vantage point. Music and the babble of people reaches us from all directions. Five of us stay out for another drink after dinner, sitting in a club nodding along to Reggaeton music. Hayley and Pip pose with some of the prolific local police for photos on the walk back to the hotel. We didn’t stay out late but we needn’t have bothered attempting to get an early night, seems Flores is a bit of a party town and the party was loud and clear from the rooms where we were trying to sleep. Somehow, at some point, I managed to.