Semana Santa, Rio Dulce

Trip Start Jan 04, 2008
Trip End Jul 16, 2008

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Where I stayed
Hotel Backpackers

Flag of Guatemala  ,
Sunday, March 23, 2008

From Flores, Gerardo and I went to Rio Dulce near Lago de Izabel.  We stayed at a place called Hotel  Backpackers.  The hotel (more of a hostel actually) and the restaurant support a local orphanage, so that was cool.  When I arrived I was unaware that it was actually a Spring Break hot spot for Guatemalan youth.  The lake is the largest in the country and the bridge across it is the largest in Central America.  The lake was loaded with yachts, jet skis, and all sorts of other boats.  The lake has Caribbean access so people stop in from all over the world.  Guatemalan tourists lined the bridge, nearly every family stopping to have their picture taken.  Many people took the plunge and bungee jumped off of the bridge over the water.  Overall, it was one giant party in a language that I cannot speak.  Of the 5 gringos there, four of the spoke French and one was an old man.  Valentino, one of the French guys, also spoke some English so I hung out with him a lot.  After flying from Canada to San Francisco, to Mexico, he hitched rides for 5 months through Mexico and ended up in Guatemala.  From there he bought a bike and rode it down to the lake.  I admire people that can live so free-spirited. 

On Good Friday I walked out to Castillo de San Fernando which is a "castle" (more of a fort, really) on the water.  It was built in the 1600īs to guard against pirates but then the pirates of the Caribbean overtook it and later burned it down.  They rebuilt it in the 1950īs, for historical value I suppose.  I made a day of it by walking the three miles there and back.  To my surprise, there was a big festival going on for Good Friday so I did my best to blend in with the Guatemalan families.  I also took a quick boat ride around Rio Dulce. 

I planned on avoiding the party again but I got roped in by a group of spring breakers that called themselves the "Mochileros" or "Backpackers".  One of the guys lived in LA for four years so his English was pretty decent.  Nearly every Latin-American that I have met that speaks English has spent time working in the States.  This guy told me all about how easy it is to buy fake papers for $40.  I believe it.  I also met a cool Irish guy named Patty who was traveling by himself and was also missing the English language.

Everyone should take a Spring Break!  Go somewhere!  Do something!  Meet people! 
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