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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

Guatemala: Dampened Enthusiasm

Rain clouds
This is all we saw on the famed boat trip from Río Dulce to Lívingston; it's not exactly the best view in the world

You only really notice something when it's gone, and now that we're in the highlands of Guatemala, at a pleasant 1500m above sea level, we can finally feel free of the astonishing dampness that has been hanging round our heads since we stepped off the plane in Mexico in October. For the first time in seven weeks, I don't feel like I'm slowly dissolving.

Green Fur

Our first inkling that things were getting serious was back in San Ignacio in Belize, when we returned to our hotel from our expedition to the remote jungle ruins of Caracol, and started packing our bags ready for an early departure the following morning. Peta tipped her stuff out onto the bed, ready for the regular challenge of trying to squash it all into her backpack, when she recoiled with an animated, 'Urgh!' I assumed she'd found a dead cockroach or something equally tropical, but no, she'd found her leather belt, which uncoiled to reveal a thick coating of green fur. 'It's mouldy,' she said, and had to wash it off before repacking it.

Peta in the rain
Peta keeping her spirits up while waiting for the colectivo to El Boquerón

Drier Times

Of course, it rained as we took the long bus ride to Antigua. I say 'of course' because we seem to have had pretty bad luck when it comes to travelling in the rain. The first real washout was when we travelled from Mexico to Belize and arrived in the dark in the most torrential downpour you've ever seen, soaked to the skin. Our next journey, from Caye Caulker to San Ignacio, was a total washout too, and of course I managed to sit just downwind from the only broken window on the bus. The man sitting next to the window tried to shut it a couple of times but it kept falling down, so he gave up, probably because he was relatively dry; instead, the rain poured straight into my face and down my front, soaking me alone amongst my neighbours. Then it rained again when we travelled from Flores to Río Dulce, and I thought we'd be safe in our hermetically sealed first-class bus, but there was a hole in the sill at the bottom of our window where the water started pooling, and it wasn't long before it had turned into a cauldron of rainwater that spat huge drops right into my lap. I plugged it up with a screwed-up biscuit wrapper, though it wasn't entirely successful, and I arrived at the other end with a large and rather suggestive damp patch on my trousers. I'm clearly not good at staying dry on our longer journeys.