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April 17, 2003

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Jump in a boat; it's the only way to reach a town called Livingston. The Rio Dulce serves as a river highway and provides interesting scenery. We ride upriver thru a steep walled gorge, the Cueva de la Vaca, covered with tangled vines and creeping foliage. The walrus-like manatees swim in this river but I'm the closest looking thing anyone saw of a manatee today.
Livingston is mainly populated by the Afro-Guatemalans called the Garífuna, descendants of Africans brought to the New World as slaves. Intermarriage with European settlers and the indigenous Maya has created a culture and language incorporating African, Mayan and European elements. You won't find it anywhere else in Guatemala. The main things we'll remember are coconut groves, gaily painted wooden buildings and blaring Carib music that throbs the sternum.
Hightide hammock.