Saturday, September 28, 2013


Stepping Out in the Rio Dulce

Guatemalan hand weaving on loom
Because we are currently living in a small hotel room we need to search out places to eat. Breakfast is a no-brainer with cereal and bananas in the room, but we face a challenge for lunch and dinner. Fronteras (aka Rio Dulce) is a small town by most standards even if it is a once-a- week or monthly destination for the people living out in the rural areas. We have our choice of several restaurants, a handful of small open-air kitchens or street food.

Of course we can always eat right here in the Vista Rio Hotel and we often do! They are quite accomodating about my special gluten-free requests and I've had some great meals such as the pan-seared Robalo (snook) with veggies and baked potato last night and the cheese grits with my lunch the other day. But we like some variety and this is our opportunity to try out new things without having to take a dinghy ride first.

Someone suggested that we visit the air-conditioned (!!!) Suli Restaurant on the other side of the big bridge. So we paired up with Terri and David from s/v Sylvester (who are also staying here in the hotel while their catamaran is in the boat yard). We hailed a couple of Tuk-tuk motocycle taxis and rode up and over the largest bridge in Central America to the restaurant (about 65 cents a person for the ride).

Outside patio seating area Suli Restaurant
Restaurant Suli is nicer than we expected. Although the exterior facing the main road is simply concrete and glass, it's the food, and typical Guatemalan decor inside and behind the building that is nice - and clean. We have been experiencing a heat wave (heat index up over 100 degrees daily) so we chose a table inside where the A/C could give us some relief. We all ordered steak meals - either churrasco or lomito (grilled sirloin) with and w/o onion gravy (yes, of course Jonesy went for the gravy style). Unfortunately one person wanted theirs almost well done and in the translation it looks like we got the lomitos well done and the churrascos were perfect. The LARGE steaks were served in the typical Guatemalan style of this area with french fries, corn tortillas, salad, and coconut red beans and rice. Jonesy and I cleaned our plates! This was our splurge meal for the week - our share of the bill was Q240 including soft drinks and tip ($30 US).

On our walk today I HAD to stop at our friend's place and pick up a coconut to drink - it was so dang hot! For Q5 or about 65cents, Elicio slices off the top of a green coconut with his machete to access the coco water inside. He added a straw and I was a happy girl! Yes, I put a lime in the coconut when I got back to the hotel room where I had limes.
Fresh Coconut Water to go

Although our friend Elicio has problems with his legs, he gets around town on his homemade hand cranked wheeled chair and is always cheerful. We see him cranking along with firewood, coconuts, or simply warm tortillas in the back bed of his scooter to deliver back to his family. Going downhill towards town he simply coasts and flies right along. But going back home is tough!

Elicio lives in a typical extended family compound along the road we walk every other day. Some of the family members create rustic typical Guatemalan style furniture in an open-air, dirt-floored wood shop next to the house. Jonesy and I often admire some of the finished pieces. Dang. They just won't fit on a sailboat though. I love how they use the wood in its more natural state including all the knots and bumps. Some of the local woods are heavily colored with different shades of tans, browns and almost blacks in the same piece of lumber. Very nice.

Usually the family makes tables, chairs and headboards for beds, but check out this photo of a "liquor tree" for storing and displaying all your bottles booze. I think it's a hoot! I can see this in my son Brett's home. But alas, it's the getting it there that is the problem.

Liquor Tree Guatemalan Style
Yes, when I'm not eating or walking I'm usually knitting. I've managed to finish up one of the pairs from the last post which were about half done and have also started and finished another pair. Both of these are mixed-up monster socks from leftovers. I've worked through all of the yarn that I thought to pack for our 2 weeks in the hotel. But it looks like we'll be here yet another week.

Work is progressing on the boat but it's just a big boat. Finally, the whole bottom has the first few complete layers of gel coat with more to go. All of the blisters have been repaired so it's looking so much better!

In the meantime, I've started back to knitting on a lace-weight scarf with some lavendar alpaca yarn until I can get back to the boat. There I'll have to brave the ladder up to the boat to grab some more sock yarns.
2 more pairs for Kazakhstan

Have you seen the crowd-funding website Indiegogo?  It's an international micro-financing tool for small businesses who need a boost. It must be hard, if not impossible for small businesses or even individuals to get needed funding these days. Some of the requests are neat - others are totally goofy, but it's fun to be able to help out folks.

I've lightly helped out two yarn related enterprises (small contributions because we are on a tight/fixed income but I donate some of my funds from the sales of my patterns). First I supported a campaign by Fox Fibre to repair farm equipment to help them continue to develop and produce naturally colored cotton yarns. This farm is in the Copay Valley of northern California which has lot of small family farms. I love that area - and I love naturally colored cotton.

Then I came across Anzula Luxury Yarns in Fresno California who are looking to install real Air Conditioning in their old warehouse yarn dyeing production area. Fresno without A/C? That's cruel!! I'll do my little part to help out fiberly people who just want to get me a better product for my yarn addiction. Wouldn't YOU?

Hi and I so love reading all your posts.
I guess you would enjoy hearing that when I came home from Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic, I left most of my clothes, etc there. That was in order to baggage check 3 taken apart rocking chairs made in my town that were wrapped in burlap!!
The custom ladies laughed and waved me through!
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