Viannca: Getting to the hostel that literally sits on a stream, that is part of a larger river, where the main town of Livingstón is in Guatemala, was an experience. It was pretty fascinating to see the river community living their everyday lives. Everything involves getting in some form of boat, kayak, canoe. We saw people washing their clothes in the river, the front of their homes situated right on the water's edge. We saw children enjoying themselves, casually splashing around. When we weren't looking at houses or hostels on the river's edge, we were looking at green mountains and trees. An incredibly beautiful view.
When we got to this place, we were immediately in awe. A landing dock with a lifeguard ladder chair, no lifeguard though, a rope to throw yourself off the dock into the river with, and visible hammocks everywhere. As we entered we saw the beautiful set up. Wood everything. Small huts sat right on the rivers edge, I was only imagining what it would be like to sit outside of that hut on the hammock overlooking the water at night, in what I imagined would be pitch blackness. I thought to myself, "We definitely have to stay riverside." The common area was just rows of hammocks and swings, a beautiful dining hall to eat in, a pool table. As we continued walking around, the host showed us the options of where we could stay, all these different type of bungalows. A waste of time, I thought, since I had already decided riverside was the experience. Right? Why else would be at a hostel on the river, if not to fully experience the river both during the day and at night?
Wrong. Hamlet was convinced that the experience we had to have was staying as far into the jungla as possible. We were on two totally different pages. He won. We stood, literally as far away from the river as possible. It was in fact quite the experience walking up and down at night in, as I anticipated, pure darkness!
The next day we headed to Cueva del Tigre, our bungalow was so into the wilderness, I felt like getting there was half the hike to the Cueva. We went with Felipe and Nicolas, two guys also staying at the hostel, and a young man from the area who guided the way. We've since forgotten his name. Felipe and Nicolas ended up becoming two people we would travel further with and become friends with.
The point of trekking to Cueva del Tigre is to jump into darkness and into a natural pool waiting for you somewhere at the bottom of that darkness. It was crazy. We talk all about it in our second podcast episode. After we got our feet wet with the jump (literally), we went deeper in the cave to find ourselves in the type of darkness I never imagined possible. Where bats own the space and the water doesn't taste the sun. To realize that there are so many parts of the world like this, so much life happening in places we don't event know exist, was a life changing experience.
I left this cave braver, wiser, and with strangers who had become friends. That experience would lead the way to the rest of the night which was filled with good food, deep talk, games and strong bonds that I cherish.
Hamlet: Este viaje to Guatemala was a lot more to our regular wonderful backpack vacation like we usually take, it was in actually like a retreat for me because Mi Vieja had just passed away a few months previous to the trip and I couldn't find myself after her passing so V and I had the idea that such a trip would help me. This trip 100% helped me out so much that after the trip I found my center. The experience that I had in Guatemala was again life changing, It definitely humbled me and taught me that I AM part of the Universe, that I was wrong when I thought I was in It passing this very unfortunate experience. I learned that in fact I AM a lot more than that and saw that in all the colorful art, in all this wonderful and beautiful Indios that work day in and day out just to bring bread to their table, this really reminded me of how much of a provider Mi Vieja was and that She is still here as Energy every where, here, in Guatemala, PR, DR everywhere that I AM, She IS and always will be. What I had learn in this trip, I cant unlearn it even if I try to.