Parade? Check. Sports competition? Check. Hamburgers and hot dogs? Check. Firecrackers? Check.
Guatemala Independence Day had many of the same things that Americans love about the Fourth of July. The day kicked off with a dinghy parade featuring four lanchitas from Mario’s Marina. They included Marco’s blue-and-white bonanza, Jimmy and Donna Peters’ display of international flags, Willena and Greg’s tribute to the quetzal, Guatemala’s national bird, and Trish and Bob’s butterfly emerging from the colors of Spain.
The volleyball tournament started at 9 a.m. Organized by Mike and Jimmy, it brought together cruisers as well as locals. Players and cruisers kept the game moving along by serving as line judges and scorekeepers.
First on the court was Dr. Rolando Wer’s team. The veterinarian squeezed in a quick visit to Happy Times to check on Belle before hitting the sand. He, his son Nicholas and their friends put up a strong showing against the Gallos, one of the teams representing Mario’s Marina. They lost but later made a comeback in the bean bag toss.
Only seven of 13 teams scheduled to play showed up, and three of those represented Mario’s Marina. As usual Rio Dulce’s finest, the Navy, put up a tough fight, but they fell to the River Rats. The first-place winners included Daley, Mike, Marco, Miguel, Jimmy and Mirna.
The volleyball tournament ended at 12:30 p.m. Everyone gathered around the pool and outdoor bar for hamburguesas and perros calientes.
The activities continued after lunch with a number of kids’ games that Willena and I organized with the help of Mikayla, Marco’s daughter Kathy, her cousin Cindy and Paula. By then several families from the nearby village of Esmeralda had arrived, and we had lots of kids to play balloon toss, sack races, bocce ball, sponge relay and lime relay. The sack races were the biggest hit, and the kids ran in race after race as firecrackers snapped and sputtered in the distance.