Here’s the Beef!

Hacienda Tijax
Rio Dulce, Guatemala

The good news is that the repair to our boat is costing next to nothing by US standards — only $100 for the fiberglass work, and a total of about $200 for the wood repairs, which began early this month.
Oscar was also kind enough to recommend a canvas guy, Luis to help us reconstruct a new bridge cover and recover the flybridge cushions. Although he used the old one as a pattern, when he brought the new one over, it didn’t fit. Undaunted, he came back with his sewing machine, and sat on the dock fitting, cutting, and refitting until it worked. Unfortunately, he was a few snaps short (sounds like a mental condition, but it’s not) of a full bridge cover, so he has to make a special trip to Guatemala City for more. I’m so impressed with his work that we’re having a dinghy cover made to match.

We were also fortunate enough to get hooked up with an American woman married to a beef rancher who is willing to supply American-cut steaks, chops and roasts. She’s from Wisconsin, apparent in the way she spoke to me about homemade “saaaasages” — so we gave her a try. Four of us boaters ordered filet mignon, New York and sirloin steaks, and talked Eugene and the staff into making us a barbecue pit out by the pool — needless to say, a good time was had by all. There’s a little palm-covered outdoor bar with refrigerator, bar stools in the pool that sit against the bar — and all of it was put to good use, with each of us bringing pot luck. The hit of the evening was an impromptu invention of men-vs-women water polo that had us all laughing our sides off and feeling like little kids. Really — how long has it been since YOU got to engage in physical, rough-and-tumble honest-to-goodness play!

Our game was observed in drunken amusement by about 15 Dutch students, who stayed at their end of the pool stacking up empty beer cans six-deep and wondering why they couldn’t cut loose like we did.

Even the staff had fun, peering out from the kitchen on occasion, and gratefully accepting tips of ice cream sundaes.

Maggie continues to get thinner by the day, and by the end of the month, she’s just about half her normal weight. Thankfully she’s eating (we’re now supplementing with canned sardines) and drinking plenty of water, and still fairly cheerful, thanks to the more frequent use of air conditioning. If I were to anthropomorphize, it’s almost as if she knows her little days are drawing to an end. I’m still sad, but talking to other boaters about how they celebrate the passing of their pets. I think we can do her honor when her time comes.

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