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Death of Casa Perico's Bruno E-mail
Births, Deaths, Anniversaries, Graduations, Life Changes - Deaths

Bruno, Co-owner of Casa Perico

September 22, 2017
by Peter Kruse
Editor's Note: We are sad to report the passing of long-term Rio Dulce resident and co-owner of Casa Perio Hotel and Restaurant, (Swiss) Bruno. The following information is provided by Peter Kruse. 

El día de ayer falleció nuestro compañero y querido amigo Bruno. Faltan palabras para expresar nuestro dolor. Nos vamos a despedir de Bruno en el cementerio de la aldea La Esmeralda mañana sábado a las 3 pm. Te extrañamos, amigo!!!
Yesterday, our colleague and dear friend Bruno passed away. There are no words to express our sorrow. We will say good bye to him tomorrow Saturday at the cemetery of La Esmeralda at 3 pm. We miss you, amigo!!!
Gestern ist unser Kollege und guter Freund Bruno verstorben. Es gibt keine Worte, unsere Trauer auszudrücken. Morgen, Samstag, um 15:00 Uhr werden wir uns auf dem Friedhof der Ortschaft La Esmeralda von ihm verabschieden. Wir vermissen dich, amigo!!!

I'm Baaaaack! E-mail
The News - Latest News

There once was an editor named Jody      Image

Who loved writing news for the Boaties.

But, again, she broke her arm

And third time’s no charm,

So, chance for writing was remote-y!

September 21, 2017
By Jody Aston, Editor and Publisher

I prefer the “fly-on-the-wall” style of reporting and don’t like to make the story about me, but I do feel the need to explain why the Rio Dulce Chisme’s front page has gone bare for way too long! When I visited the U.S. last month, I obviously had an infection in my arm and went to a Patient First doctor, who sent me to a hospital emergency room, whose doctor referred me to an orthopedic surgeon. Whew! Turned out that it was, indeed, infected, but had also shifted and the bones had broken apart again. All agreed that it was the crummy state of my bones, and was caused through no fault of my own, nor the work of my Guatemalan doc. Although it was bum news, it was rather reassuring to have second and third opinions saying that my doctor in Guatemala City had used advanced medical procedures and done an excellent job! Yay for Dr. Raúl Hodelin!! Back home in Guatemala, I’ve gotten it all taken care of…again! So, sorry for the absence of news, especially while there’s been so much of it! P.S. Maybe you would like to join the Chisme “Staph!”

First, let me extend heartfelt condolences to those in true pain…of mind, heart and body, due to the phenomenal degree of natural disasters around the world. Cruisers in Rio Dulce have enjoyed the people and diverse cultures of the islands of the Caribbean, on up to the islands and coastlines of the United States. The extent of loss and damage in these areas from recent hurricanes is unfathomable. Of course, not only are residents and indigenous people suffering, but the cruising community is also adversely affected. Through the Rio Dulce Chisme Forum and other social media, Rio Dulce cruisers are reporting the status and whereabouts of themselves and their vessels. Hearing from you is a great relief, so please keep it up.

On top of that, and with no advance notice, Mexico has been hit with two major earthquakes in two weeks. While the first was a higher magnitude (and closer to Guatemala), it affected a less-populated area than the second, which was a direct hit on Mexico City. Our hearts break for our neighbors across Guatemala’s western border.

News organizations and social media are covering these events (and also the wildfires raging across western USA). Along with sad tales and horrifying videos, heartwarming stories are surfacing of compassion and goodwill being extended to loved ones and strangers, alike. This is the best kind of news, and we hope to hear more of it. Much love to all and, as they say in Mexico, “Vaya con Diós.”

There are lots of good things happening on the rio now, so those stories come next!

American Embassy Warning-Protests in Guatemala E-mail
The News - Latest News

Palacio Nacional in Guatemala City

August 28, 2017
by Jody Aston, Editor and Publisher

The American Embassy has issued a security message for Guatemala, which is posted below. Due to recent events, there is a likelihood of protests and many traffic delays. Anyone planning a trip to Guatemala City this week may want to postpone travel plans until more information is available.

Briefly, the reason for the probability of protests is because, over the weekend, President Jimmy Morales declared the lead investigator of the United Nations anti-corruption panel (CICIG) persona non grata (no longer permitted in the country). The president is being investigated on corruption charges, and this was done to expel the head of the investigation. The Guatemala Constitutional Court blocked the order, however, and the government is described as being in a state of chaos.

Many people are calling on the president to resign, as happened two years ago with the former president and vice-president, who were both imprisoned (and remain so) shortly after their resignation. At the time, thousands of protestors gathered in the square in front of the Palacio Nacional every weekend, for several months.

If interested, here are links to two articles, in English: New York Times  and The Guardian

United States Embassy Guatemala, Guatemala City
Security Message for U.S. Citizens: 
Protests within Guatemala
August 27, 2017

The following message provides information for U.S. Citizens regarding protests in Guatemala. Please share the following information with any other U.S. citizens you know, as soon as possible.  We hope to have this message disseminated as widely as possible within the U.S. citizen community.  Please contact the American Citizen Services Unit via e-mail ( This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ), fax (2331-3804), or telephone (2326-4000) if you have any questions. 

The U.S. Embassy in Guatemala is monitoring press reports on current and planned protests within Guatemala.  Protests may cause significant traffic issues.  The U.S. Embassy will be open for business on Monday, August 28, 2017, and will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates when necessary.

Contact the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala, located at Avenida Reforma 7-01, Zona 10, Guatemala Ciudad, Guatemala, at +502-2326-4000, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +502-2331-2354.

Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).




The Passing of Rhidian Hughes E-mail
Births, Deaths, Anniversaries, Graduations, Life Changes - Deaths
Rhidian and Yveth
August 16, 2017
by Jody Aston, Editor and Publisher  

It is with a heavy heart that we report the death of friend and long-term resident of Rio Dulce, Rhidian Hughes. With a strong rolling “R,” he was affectionately called R-R-R-Rhidian, the Wild Welshman.

Image Image

Having been ill for a while in Rio Dulce, Rhidian returned to his home country of Wales for health care, where he was diagnosed with liver failure and hospitalized. After being unresponsive for over a week, Rhidian was taken off life support and allowed to pass peacefully, as he did early Monday morning, August 14th. 

Rhidian taught school and coached rugby in early years and traveled extensively after retirement. His eyes would light up as he told stories of the places he had been and the friends he had made around the world. His travels stopped short, however, when he arrived in Rio Dulce, Guatemala. He stayed at Casa Perico, where he met Yeni Yveth Orellana. Almost immediately, Yveth became the source of the sparkle in his eyes. They were together for seven years, and Yveth’s three children loved Rhidian as a father. 

Rhidian had a capacity for conversation and camaraderie that was admirable. He had the ability to make people laugh and have fun. He was one of the “charter members” of the group that started the International Trivia Quiz nights in Rio Dulce, and was a delight whenever it was his turn to be quizmaster. Regardless of the subject of his questions, somehow, Rhidian managed to relate all of them to his beloved Wales. (Click "Read more..." for more photos and information).

Boat-billed Herons in Rio Dulce E-mail
Features - Flora and Fauna of Guatemala
Boat-billed Herons Checking Out the Photographer
August 5, 2017
by Jody Aston, Editor and Publisher

Tuxtla Statuette. Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
At dusk or early in the morning, if you go to the mangroves around Rio Dulce, you may be lucky enough to spot an odd and beautiful bird, the Boat-billed Heron. They tend to be a bit shy, avoiding human contact, but if you are quiet and patient, they will ignore you and continue foraging. 

The 'odd' factor is their wide, flat bill that looks like the flipped-over keel of a boat. It is so black on top that it often looks navy blue, and is yellowish underneath. They crouch in a hump-backed position on lower branches and mangrove roots, or sometimes wade, in shallow water. They lunge at small fish, frogs, shrimp, crabs, insects, etc., for food. Their strange bills are used for scooping along the surface of the water, instead of spearing their prey, as do other herons.

Drawing of the Tuxtla Statuette Details by ‘Madman2001.’ January 2008
One of the most famous pre-Mayan, late Olmec, artifacts discovered in Mexico is a combination of one of these magnificent birds and a man. It is believed to be a shaman wearing a Boat-billed Heron mask and cape. It is called the Tuxtla Statuette (if interested, more information can be found on Wikipedia here and by Dr. Nicholas Hellmuth, here ).

Boat-billed Herons sound very much like lower-toned quacking ducks. They also communicate with a popping sound, as they clap their bills together. (Click “Read more…” below the lower photo for more photos and rio locations for viewing).

Things To Do in Guatemala City E-mail
Features - Guatemala City
Rio Amigas, Nancy, Susan, Gail, and Jody, Met for a Girl's Night at the Movies a Few Months Ago.
July 22, 1017
by Jody Aston, Editor and Publisher

So, maybe you have a doctor's appointment, or you're catching a plane the next morning...ever feel like you don't know what to do or where to go while you're in Guatemala City? Here's a fun suggestion: go to the movies!

Most cruisers stay in zona 10 when in the city, and there is a very snazzy cinema right there. In fact, it is within walking distance of two "Rio Dulcer" favorites, Angie's Guesthouse or Las Torres. Located in the Oakland Mall, it's an especially nice way to spend a rainy day...and we do have a few of those this time of year! 

The cinema is called Cinépolis and, not only do they have several screens, they have a special theatre called the VIP Lounge. Here you'll find big, cushy seats that are actually lounge chairs, with feet props that fold out. The seats are coupled together with a small table and lamp between the pairs, with a swivel tray.

"What is that for?" you might ask. Well this accomodates the best feature of all...you can order food and drinks (plain or alcoholic) and have them delivered to you at your seat. The food is good, and covers a wide range of tastes. There's even sushi.  (Click "Read more..." for continuation of story and more photos/map.)

Rio Excursion for Students from Punta Brava E-mail
The News - Latest News
Students are Welcomed Aboard Steel Magnolia...
July 6, 2017
by Floundering Founder, Retired Editor, Roy McNett (Scoop)

Vicente Yalibat, the administrator of the school in Punta Brava, on the shore of Lago Izabal, Guatemala called me a couple of weeks ago to see if I'd be interested in taking some students from the school on a boat trip from Punta Brava downriver to Livingston.

This would be a rare trip for the students, many of whom have never ventured out of their small village. "Certainly," I said. "I'm always up for a boat trip. How many students would be involved?"

"Around 40," he said, "Including some teachers." "Wow, I thought. I'm gonna need a bigger boat…or at least another boat!" But no problem…Phillip Green of s/v Thumbs Up, a large catamaran, offered his services. (Click "Read more..." below for continuation of story and more photos)

...and Thumbs Up for a Cruise Downriver to Livingston

The Sundog Cafe Jazz Night E-mail
The News - Latest News

Fun Times At Sundog's Jazz Night

June 30, 2017
by Jody Aston, Editor and Publisher

The Sundog Café was packed last week for the final performance of a jazz trio, Cathy on percussion and Titou on piano, and their friend, Damien, on trumpet. If you were one who enjoyed their music and sad to see them go - no worries! Their boats are still on the rio, SV Lila and SV Sea Lion, respectively, and they will return in September.

Cathy and Titou have been married for 35 years and traveling on their boat for 8 years. They first met Damien and played together in Grenada and Trinidad. Something may have been lost in the French-English translation (not to mention effects of Sundog's special mango daiquiris on the notetaker/reporter), but Cathy had a funny story...something about when they were in Roatan, Titou transported his piano on a "tricycle," which is still on their boat! We'll have to get a more sober story in September! 

Cathy, Titou and Damien Provided the Music


An Unexpected Encounter E-mail
Features - Flora and Fauna of Guatemala
June 19, 2017
by Jody Aston, Editor and Publisher

ImageWhile sitting at my table with the front door open, one day my little Schnauzer, Susy, went tearing out the door with greater gusto than usual. From the corner of my eye, I spotted the blur of an animal running in front of her.

Dark in color, too big to be a cat, tail too long to be one of our frequent visitors, the cotuza (sometimes called agouti)…I grabbed my camera and headed after them to investigate. What a surprise to see an otter stopping to hiss and growl at Susy, then continue in a half-hearted waddle down the street!

ImageIt turned into the yard of a neighbor’s unoccupied house, and seemingly knowing exactly where it wanted to go…went straight for the slime-filled old swimming pool. With a splash, s/he dove under the blanket of swampy algae but quickly resurfaced to concentrate on Susy’s whereabouts. With more fierce growls, quite a show ensued, as the otter swiftly and smoothly navigated around the perimeter of the pool, “chasing” Susy as she ran along the edge. (Click "Read more..." below for more story & photos.)

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