Monday, July 05, 2010


Shopping in Rio Dulce & Christmas Stocking #3

We are settling down and getting into the rhythm of life here in Guatemala - and life is good. We feel so fortunate to have a little town nearby which has just about everything we really need and is just a short 7-minute ride in our launchita boat. After spending many months out in those remote islands of Panama, the town of Rio Dulce (also known as Fronteras) seems like a bustling metropolis.

Well, as you can see it certainly is bustling. One of the few paved highways in this part of Guatemala runs right through the center of town. Actually, it is the only street except for a couple of 1 block long intersecting streets.

As this is a main highway, all the truck traffic runs right through the town - all day long. Watch out! It's easy to get run down. Also, you have to keep an eye (and nose) out for the cattle trucks. This is cattle grazing country and stake trucks crammed full of terrified cattle creep through town. These beasts must have upset tummies from the ride because they certainly have "issues". Everyone warned us to stay several feet away from these trucks so we don't get doused. Eeeeew!

Right up on the edge of the street are vendors selling fried chicken, empanadas, and fried potatoes cooked on the spot. Yes, the same street where the cows cruise by regularly. That's why we choose to buy our fresh handmade tortillas from the ladies down one of the side streets. They pat out each tortilla from the corn dough then cook them on a hot griddle. For about $1.25 US, I get a stack of tortillas about 10 inches high! Delicious! The Guatemalan tortillas are thicker than the ones we had in Mexico too so they really make a filling meal.

No. I don't know why these men were riding along and playing their guitars in the back of this truck. There wasn't a parade or anything. Just another day of interesting cross-country traffic through town including trucks full of produce such as these pineapples.

The town, once a remote outpost (hence the name Fronteras because it was the frontier of civilization), is located at the base of a new concrete bridge. This modern marvel spans up and over the Rio Dulce river just at the point where it widens into Lake Izabel. Up until this bridge was built recently, travelers would have to use a ferry to cross the river.

This is a photo of the view from the top of the bridge (we huffed and puffed walking out in the tropical sun to catch this view) looking back towards where we are docked. That little island out there is home to hundreds of egrets, herons, and cormorants.

And this is a photo looking up at the bridge from the river. Sometimes we see lines of people standing on top of the bridge with tour busses stopped. These are often Guatemalan tour busses with local people out traveling through their own beautiful country.

Because this is primarily an agricultural area, the town has a disproportionate number of farm supply stores. So, do you need a cowhide burro saddle? Those beasts of burden still earn their keep here in the countryside of Guatemala. I thought that these small saddles would make really cool bar stools! What do you think?

Of course, there are things to buy that are not necessities - like beautiful woven and or embroidered textiles. Guatemala is famous for their textiles such as the one shown in this photo. I fell in love with the colors and patterns of this cotton weaving. Yep. I bought it for about $12.50 US. I'm thinking of incorporating some of these motifs in a knitting design!

And speaking of knitting...just a couple of photos of the third and last Mix-It-Up Christmas Stocking pattern for the Holiday Mystery Gifts group that I designed. This
is one is worked in the Intarsia colorwork method which allows multiple colors to be worked in each round. To show how some of the motifs look, I worked different motifs on each side of the leg.

All of my stockings were knit with Knit Picks Wool of the Andes 100% Peruvian wool yarn in worsted weight. The 3000+ members of the group now have all 3 patterns. Out of 3000 folks how many do you think will actually knit a stocking before Christmas? I don't know either - but some have already started and are posting photos of their progress. Whooo hoooo!

Oh! It's Happy Hour up at the Cayuca Club here at the marina...I have places to go and people to see (and knitting to do while chatting).

cows do that when they are upset and they were probably very upset to be going off to market jammed into a truck. Love the weaving you got by the way just beautiful!
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