We've been in the Rio Dulce for just a little over a week now, but it feels a lot longer than that, because when you're working on your sailboat all day long, in either the fierce Central American heat or the torrential down pouring rain, you realize just how elastic time really is. Having a good time with your friends, the hours just melt away, but when you're trying to get dozens of muy dificil projects done in just ten days, time has a way of seeming to stretch out into infinity.
Of course, we've met some absolutely wonderful people here in the heart of Guatemala; there are tons of great cruisers here who are not just opinionated, but full of life experiences and stories that cut across the grain of what we think of as normal life, and while our Spanish is still muy malo, we're improving (or at least attempting to improve) on a daily basis. We're getting better at communicating with the amazing folks that call this gorgeous place home. Google translate conversation mode is a real game changer, but it does make some funny mistakes (like when it turned 'Shaft Seal' into 'Mesa de Chef' when I was attempting to debug a problem with Herzon, one of the guys helping us out with a couple small diesel engine maintenance projects.
The place where we're staying on the hard, RAM Marina, located in the heart of the Rio Dulce, is absolutely excellent, first class establishment, it feels like a boat yard that you'd find back in the States. It's full of dedicated, helpful, resourceful people who solve problems for a living with tenacity and grace. The staff, from management to the various Hefes (and Hefas), to the workers hand sanding and hand painting the bottoms of hundreds of sailboats here, to the guys picking up the trash, and doing the most menial work, are not only happy, they're good people with easy smiles and great personalities. While we love it here, we can't wait to get back into the water where City Dogs belongs. Fingers crossed, if the rain holds off, we should be splashing back tomorrow morning!
We couldn't have made it from Roatan to the Rio Dulce without our good friends Juan Salazar and Prudence Thiery. They're both literally amazing people, Captains full of passion for life, sailing, and experiencing all the varied flavors of the globe. We love their sense of humor, the way they keep things both light and serious at the same time. They're both New Yorkers through and through, and like most good folks who call the Big Apple home, they are truly citizens of the world, intrepid travelers who make wherever they hang their hats home.
Juan gets a special shout out for hand feeding Fozzie Bear pretzels, and for being the man who gets stuff done, a lesson the occasional lackadaisical, procrastinating first mate needs to take to heart, aveces, as they say 'round here. Prudence gets a shout out for teaching the first mate how to properly tie a line coil knot and for having the patience of a saint during the crossing from Utila.