Livingston Guatemala – my office …
on the beach; what more needs to be said. We are in La Buga – Livingston, a town accessible only by boat on Guatemala’s short 74-km Caribbean coastline. Here Latin meets Black Carib, this being focal point of the Garifuna people – a culture born out of Africans meeting Caribbeans on the island of St Vincent during the days of European colonial rule.
On the streets you hear a mix of Spanish and Garifuna spoken, while both the music and food are a combination of reggae punk and marimba cum tortillas and coconut fish soup. It is quite a mixed community, with Q’eqchi’ Maya, Ladino and Garifuna Guatemalans all working ‘and playing’ together to create a unique pueblito: where everyone knows each other; no one is too busy to stop and talk or sit, for hours; the pace of life is so relaxed it’s almost moving backwards; where people are so proud of their town they really want to share it with you. I haven’t felt as welcome anywhere else in Guatemala.
Things move so slowly here that when I went to catch a boat over to Puerto Barrios on Sunday I had to wait almost two hours for the boat to fill up before it would leave. Only I appeared distressed about this, seeing as I was going to do work, reviewing the town and all its amenities. No one else minded sitting and waiting, I mean, at 8.30am it was already hot and sweaty; better to just relax and sit and watch the world go by without getting stressed. And I ended up meeting a guy, Polo Martinez, who plays in a band called SIELPA and who is going to be performing at the Nottinghill Carnival (London UK) next summer!
Eventually I did trudge around Puerto Barrios in 32?C/ 90?F heat, sweating my pretty little freckles off in the unrelenting sun, and while we’re on the subject, I’ve worked 10-hour days for the past 11 days straight (despite how vacation-like my last post sounded, it was for work) so why not check my emails while dipping my toes in the warm sea with a rum and ginger in my hand and looking forward to me lobster dinner? GarÃ§on!
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