Saturday, July 13, 2013


Changes in Rio Dulce, Guatemala

Souped-up Tuk-Tuk in Rio Dulce town
We tried to stay out in the lovely waters of Belize as long as it was safe...and we did...which was not very long at all. Shortly after my last post a whopper of a storm was forecast to form and move up from Panama. So three of us last-stand cruisers in Belize formed a caravan and sailed south for the safety of the Rio Dulce of Guatemala.

We've been tied to the dock here "up the river" for a few weeks now slowly adjusting back to life on the river. This is our 4th hurricane season at Mario's Marina here in Guatemala. As we are planning to make the long passage up to the USA next winter, we are trying to take in all of the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of this area before then.
Bungee non jumper 

Life here for the local people has really changed in these 4 years. When we first arrived there were no Tuk-tuks in town (as pictured above) and very few motorcycles. Jonesy was especially tickled about this Tuk-tuk in the photo because the "wing" is mounted in front instead of on the back and it is facing backwards. Entrepreneurial young men are now selling rides on these adorable little motorcycle vehicles. Sales of motorcycles have skyrocketed especially to young women who buzz like busy bees all around town.

There is now bungee jumping taking place from the large bridge spanning the river. Jonesy and I have been taking walks over the bridge for exercise so we've spent some time watching them jump...or NOT jump as was the case for this fellow. He really tried - paid his money, donned the safety contraptions, but in the end he climbed back over the railing to safety. Nope. I wouldn't jump either.

The reason we've been walking over the bridge is that the weather has been very pleasant. Sure it is hot and humid, but the temps are lower and there has been cloud cover so we can actually walk out
Jones on the bridge and Mayan women
in the open and not dodge from shady spot to shady spot. Plus, on the bridge there are fellows who sell my favorite local snacks of candied sweet potatoes, peanuts, coconut, figs, and whatever else they can think of to mix with the rich cane brown sugar.

Shopping is still wonderful for produce! We've been complete piggies munching our way through all of the fruits and veggies available as usual. At the same time, there are more manufactured goods in the shops which is both good and confusing.

Do we really need 6 different types of Herbal Essence Shampoo? Of course the labels are in Spanish and I was struggling to read them. What type should I buy? At the time I was shopping there were 3 gals shopping nearby. I asked them, in my kiddie-level Spanish what type should I buy for my hair? They looked at me, scanned the shelf and quickly picked out what I should buy.
Hug Me Socks Sailing to Guatemala
When I got back to the boat I looked up the wording. Unruly Hair? Damaged? Yikes!!! Does my hair look THAT bad??? Reminds me of the time I got my hair cut and a fellow cruising friend from Canada commented that it looked so much better because the "sun-burnt" hair was gone. Sun-burnt? Those were my treasured natural sun-lightened blond highlights and I missed them!

Of course there has been the constant clatter of the knitting needles these past few weeks. My brainless project for the passage from Belize to Guatemala was another pair of socks from my Hug Me Socks pattern. I really shouldn't call these brainless as that would insult myself because I do forget where I am in the simple stitch pattern and do a lot of tinking (k-n-i-t spelled backwards as in un-doing the knitting). These are still OTN as I get kinda bored with them.

So I also worked on some scrap yarn Monster Socks. These are for the bigger kids at the orphanages in Kazakhstan and I had fun combining the colors and a touch of patterning. What I learned with these socks was NOT to put
Monster Socks for Kaz
white and yellow together in a stranded pattern area because they don't contrast each other enough. I finally remembered to add a little strip of color to the toe area for accent though. I've been wanting to do that for plain footed socks but can't seem to remember to do so and just blast through the toe knitting. Oh, and when taking photos, I really should position the socks so that you don't see the ugly back area where the patternwork jogs. Yes, I know tricks to prevent jogs - I just don't choose to use them for most socks.

When we arrived in Guatemala one of our first chores (after hooking up the power and getting our A/C unit up and running) is to set up our ShadeTree awning system over our boat. We had our cover repaired at the end of season last year and we were having trouble pushing the fiberglass rods through the double thick fabric seams at the ends. Here's where a size 13 needle came in handy! Simply insert the knitting needle to make a channel for the rod to follow. Voila!
Knitting Needle to the Rescue

I joined a Mystery Knit-Along for a pair of stranded mittens on The designer Torirot has some wonderful patterns available so I took the plunge headon because I wanted to knit one of her patterns. You see, I also had a deadline I was working against for a proposal submittal to a knitting magazine so I began another project commitment. That's how it works isn't it?

Anyway, the KAL is still going over the next week or so and you can join in if you want. I'm not real happy with my yarn combinations but then I didn't know how the different colors would be used before hand. So I'll have a very subtle stranded mitten for the kids in Kazakhstan. It will at least keep a young gal's hands warm! But wait...I still don't know how the rest of the mitten will look and this designer does like to mix up the colors in bands on her mitten designs so maybe there's hope for me yet.

There has been a change in the force on the rio. I felt it. Another knitter is in the area!

Saundra and Charley on the sailing vessel Island Sol have finally made it here from the states! I first "met" Saundra through the Sailing group as one of the 3 million crafty knit and crochet members of Ravelry. We have chatted through email over time and now she here and better yet they are docked at Mario's Marina!

Jonesy and I have enjoyed introducing them to life here on the rio. It's so refreshing to see it all again through fresh eyes. We have grown accustomed to our environment here and simple accept our surroundings. One of my favorite days was when I toured Saundra through the little town of Rio Dulce. Here's a photo of her exploring the threads available at the "sewing shop".
Saundra Shopping in Rio Dulce, Guatemala

You are seeing about half of the shop - it's that tiny. The threads in the open bags on the counter are the acrylic lace-weight fibers that the Mayan women use to embroider their huipils (blouses), and some of the Spanish women use them for household stuff like kitchen towels.

This shop also carries the nylon threads by Omega that folks in other countries use to stitch the highly decorated Japanese Temari Balls. Again, here they are used for embroidery.  The yarns are little bundles of acrylic for crafting only. Yes, there is also cotton thread for crocheting the lacy style huipils or to make pop-top crocheted purses.

And the knit goes on....

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