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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.)

6.9 Earthquake Hits Guatemala E-mail
The News - Latest News


Location of Today's Earthquake - Map credit to earthquaketrack.com

June 14, 2017
by Jody Aston, Editor and Publisher

The U.S. Geological Survey reported there was a magnitude 6.9 earthquake in Guatemala at 1:29 a.m. (local time), this morning. The epicenter was 5 km NNE of San Pedro, in Departamento San Marcos, near the border of Mexico. A magnitude 5.0 tremor was also detected about 30 minutes later. We expect to hear more news later in the day. 

The Rio Dulce Chisme Vindicator extends best wishes for the security and well-being of those affected. We also want to assure our readers that even though this was a sizable earthquake, all is well on the Rio Dulce.

CBS News gives a good report here and PlanetX News has a video with additional information here


Map credits: The map was developed by National Geographic and Esri and reflects the distinctive National Geographic cartographic style in a multi-scale reference map of the world. The map was authored using data from a variety of leading data providers, including DeLorme, HERE, UNEP-WCMC, NASA, ESA, USGS, and others.

Bruno's - New Mgmt and Memorial Day Celebration E-mail
The News - Latest News
The Happy New Managers of Bruno's - Peggy and Lannie, of MV LunaSea Too
May 29, 2017
by Jody Aston, Editor and Publisher

Big changes are happening at Bruno’s Hotel and Marina! The main one is that Peggy and Lannie Overall, of MV LunaSea Too, are the new managers. They have made many friends over the ten years or so on the Rio Dulce, and are known for their big smiles and sense of camaraderie and fun. Lannie is especially well-known as THE one to beat in any chili cookoff! He claims his Texas heritage as the source and inspiration for his culinary skills.

He put those skills to use, again, on Monday, when Bruno’s hosted a big (USA) Memorial Day celebration with chili dogs, hot dogs, Frito-chili-pie and a sweet, delicious key-lime pie to top it off. In spite of there being few cruisers on the rio now, they had a big turnout and a good time was had by all! The Sweet River Band provided excellent entertainment. Check out the photographs of the fiesta and more information on Peggy and Lannie below (click “Read more…”).

Celebrating Memorial Day at Bruno's
Recently Around the Rio E-mail
The News - Latest News

Raja's New Home and Garden

May 19, 2017
by Jody Aston, Editor and Publisher

There was a lot of activity in Rio Dulce last week! There were birthday celebrations, Mother’s Day meals, and community get-togethers.

The Rio Dulce Chisme also heard from Rodger Hanks, who, after living on the rio for many years, says he is settling into his new life in “Lalaland” (USA) but misses all of us here. We miss him, too, and wish “Raja” all the best. He says he has an RV on a ten-acre piece of property, has chickens and is enjoying his garden. From the looks of it, he should have enough produce to make friends with a lot of neighbors!

Sadly, we also want to report that a local young man died, after the dinghy in which he and his brother were attempting to reach the shore, was hit by lightning, in front of the Catamaran Restaurant. According to the national newspaper, the Prensa Libre, his name was Érick Aroldo Chuc Ical, and he was 17 years old. He fell into the river after the lightning strike, and drowned. His brother,19, was seriously injured, but survived, after being rescued and taken to the hospital by the Rio Dulce Volunteer Firefighters (Bomberos Voluntarios).

An English translation of the Prensa Libre article states that “Rescuers said the wounded man reported that the storm was sudden when they were in the vicinity of the river and that, at the moment they sought refuge, was struck by the lightning that caused the boat to sink in a matter of seconds.”

The Rio Dulce boating community extends condolences to family and friends. This sad incident serves as a reminder to all of us to stay alert and attempt to avoid being on the water during electrical storms. Click "Read More" for more photographs below.

Friends Celebrating Ellen's Birthday at Kangaroo-Las Mexicanas

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