It's a little bitter sweet on this trip as it could be the last time we fly to Guatemala. It's been 8 years now since we arrived in the Rio Dulce and we expect to be leaving this month for our trip home. People ask what are our feelings as we give up this life style that we have enjoyed so long. On our first blog 19 years ago we said that the saying goes that the best two days of your life are when you buy the boat and then when you sell it. That's true for us but only as it pertains to our boating life - there are more important events in our life than that - for example, our kids and grandchildren, and our marriage.
|The view out our 8th story hotel window at dawn in Guatemala City|
But the last two years have made this decision easier. Many of our cruising friends have already retired and sold their boats. Others will be doing it soon. COVID 19 has changed our comfort level in other countries and our age status has made it more difficult to maintain the boat. It will be a relief to reach the U.S. and more available assistance at sea and on the land. So we have no regrets. (Edith is singing that in my brain).
|Scott and I take a selfie on the plane to Guatemala|
Amazingly enough after all the news about canceled flights, both of ours on American were on time. We landed around 9 PM Guatemalan time (10 PM our time) on New Year's Eve. We were in our hotel room at Las Americas at (their time) 10:30 PM. Scott feel asleep immediately but I couldn't. I watched from our 8 story hotel windows while the huge city celebrated. There were close to a hundred firework locations visable and thousands of fireworks. What an amazing sight.
|A huge Mall is only blocks away from our hotel. It had just opened so we had the restaurant to ourselves for lunch.|
The next morning we enjoyed the breakfast buffet. Our 5 star hotel costs $50 a night with breakfast (a discount booking with our Marina, but still, all hotels here are very cheap by U.S. standards. Good omelet station and fruits but cold pastries, no toast. New Year's Day was "tranquillo". This is a big holiday here and very few people were out on the street and the traffic was the calmest we have ever seen!!! Later we had several walks in the pretty park areas and enjoyed a lunch out at the big Mall. Big family groups gathered for picnics under the trees. People are more COVID smart here than most of the U.S. They wear masks and there are temperature and hand sanitizer stations at most entrances. We wore restrictive surgical masks on the planes and when there were crowded situations, but switch to easier breathing masks when we can distance.
|It was a beautiful day with a high of 79 degrees and a low of 59. A large park separates the two directions of the main avenue of Las Americas. Normally this street is REALLY busy and hard to cross but on New Year's Day, almost empty all morning.|
Our driver picked us up the next morning at 7 AM, after the breakfast buffet served at 6 AM here. The drive down to the Rio Dulce is usually around 6 - 7 hours, but can be much longer if there is an accident or other traffic problems. The record for one of our friends was 11 hours. But we had a record 4.5 hour easy trip as it was a Sunday and as our driver said; "Everyone is asleep!" We were welcomed at our Marina by a number of our cruiser friends and enjoyed a fun evening with everyone. Because of our recent travels, we sat "downwind" at the long table.
|Many families were enjoying the beautiful day at|
the park. One section is a small amusement park
with pay and free rides and structures.
|That's our hotel on the left, Las Americas.|
|We had dinner in the hotel restaurant and had it to|
ourselves. We eat very early by Guatemalan standards. Scott had a wonderful Mexican chicken soup and Caesar salad and I had fish with capers and lime. Excellent.