Rio Dulce: crazy place

Here is where things changed for the better. They actually improved as soon as I got on the bus. A proper one instead of another minibus or chicken bus. I got to Rio Dulce at 10.30pm, had some delicious (but expensive!) tacos and got picked by a lancha and taken too a cool hostel near the river. A very nice tourist info guy helped me arranged it all at no cost!

Once at the hostel I just got ready for bed and went to sleep. The bed was tiny and had a mosquito net (very princessy). I woke up early the next day, had an overpriced, small breakfast and got back to town.I figured it was better to stay there instead of paying for water taxi rides back and forth from town. The hostel I stayed at was not so cool and I was worried about my bags as it was near the road where many (dodgy) people just walked in and out. I then went looking for a bus to Finca Paraiso which took a while as I got the name wrong. The name I used (Finca Tatin) got stuck in my mind from the numerous adverts at hostels. It was only reachable by lancha and cost a fortune to get there. I was surprised to find out because I knew there was a bus going there and that it was cheap (to Finca Paraiso at least!). After a while I decided to consult the guide book again only to find out I was wrong and everybody else was right. Da-a-h!

I got onto an especially run-down chicken bus (and this time there really were chickens inside) that looked like something taken from a scrap yard. I wondered how it still ran! It was all rusty, holes in the metal, and the front part covering the engine was missing. I then spent the day at a hot waterfall, soaking and floating.

This is where I wrote the following:

These are random thoughts and obsrevation from Rio Dulce. I saw/experienced most of it on the way to the waterfall.

– I can’t get enough of the local street food. It is all so deliciously deep-fried and attractive. Some of it I can’t even tell what it is. I know I will miss the fried chicken and rice and the little bags of fresh tropical fruit I have been buying.

– The local info guides have been very helpful, kind and enthusiastic. One helped me with the lancha last night and another one with the buses today.

– Deforestation is a fact. On the way to Finca Paraiso I saw large spaces cleared of vegetation and/or burning. It’s ironic that it’s being done by the very people who live off it and need it to survive. They clear spaces to plant corn or coffee. The problem is that the soil is so thin that it gets exhausted in only a few years. This means more space is needed and more deforestation.

– I get so annoyed with the local indigenous for throwing rubbish everywhere. I don’t even feel like calling them indigenous because in my mind that’s a good thing. Some of the people I have seen here are peasants with zero education on environmental protection. Not even common manners. They are not worthy of the indigenous title. They keep throwing plastic bags and bottles everywhere.
I wonder if it so difficult to just take them with you and throw them away where appropriate a bit later. I wonder what the cleaning services are like? if there are any? How is rubbish being disposed off? If there’s no facilities it doesn’t matter whether you throw it away on the road or in the jungle by your house.

– I wish you could see some of the places I visit. I can’t even begin to describe them. The streets, the shops, the people, the transport, the colors, the smells, the noises. It is dirty, rediculously colorful, cramped. There are no rules or manners. No signs. The streets are lined with small shops packed with goods (mainly foods and kitsch). People are standing in front of them, shouting, trying to lure you in. Then there’s a line of food stalls on each side of the street. Minibuses stop on corners, again shouting destinations and gently (or not so) pushing you in before you have had time to realise what’s going on. There are cars, bikes, trucks, pedestrians, animals crossing the street at the same time.

It is mad, insane, yet charming. Sometimes annoying and frustrating. The mixture of colors, smells, dust, people, noises is unbelievable.

Most people are rugged, sweaty, smelly. Yet they laugh heartily, or talk with sweet voices. Many (indigenous mainly) are not friendly, they don’t smile or wave, rarely greet. But that’s almost all indigenous I have come accross on the road.

I am amazed by how simple life is around here. I wonder what goes through people’s minds. What do they worry about? What they dream of? What makes them happy? It seems that a new blouse or a pair of high heels is enough. It is all about having a roof above your head and something to eat.


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