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30 trees (in Guatemala and Belize)

2011 May 7

GETTING THERE: Belizean Bush Hunter and father of three Ernesto Blanco drives us to San Ignacio. He once scared a jaguar into a tree with a pack of dogs.

JUNGLE LOVE: There is a walkway 30 feet above the forest floor to get to our jungle bungalow. At night, it’s pitch black, and the jungle noises are so loud they wake everyone up at night. Once, Ryan shined his flashlight out the window and saw an armadillo.

‘OFFICIAL’ TOURS: A guy picks us up in a truck that doesn’t start right away. He doesn’t tell us who he is or where we’re going. We pick up a lady and a guy on the way, and the guy jumps in the back of the truck and bangs on the roof when he wants to be dropped off. After about 15 minutes, the driver guy pulls over to the side of the road, jumps out without explanation, and is quickly replaced by a merry guy who says the first driver was his brother. Every Belizean in San Ignacio is out on the road waiting for a bike race to come by, so eventually we pull over and watch hundreds of bikers fly by — they’ve just ridden across the ENTIRE COUNTRY. One of them was another of our driver’s brothers. He was in 16th place. We eventually got back on the road and were dropped off at a store on a side street somewhere. This was where we met up with our cave tour.

MAGICAL CAVES: The Mayans believed caves were an entrance into the underworld and that taking hallucinagenic drugs could help you to have religious experiences. Directions: take a 45 minute ride on a dirt road, hike/cross rivers for another 45 minutes, find a blue jungle pool with an hourglass cave entrance, jump, swim in, and swim/hike for another hourish, climb up a rickety ladder held on by a single rope. At the top is the crystallized skeleton of a woman archeologists (or at least tour guides) think might have been sacrificed in a plea to the gods in a moment of desperation. Eerie, sad, and amazing.

CREOLE: Many of the cool folk we met in San Ignacio speak English, Spanish, and a Creole that one of the guys driving us around described as “crappy English” — basically they just cut off significant parts of words and use, according to him, truncated sounds and body language to communicate with each other. They said their American teachers in school could never figure out what they were saying.

EASTER: Everything in Belize shuts down for Easter, and people party all night in San Ignacio at their carnival. We stopped by for some rice and beans and chicken. The R & B was amazing, the chicken was a little gross. People off work all day hang by the river, so we did that for a little while after cavin’.






















POST-HIKE VERANDA HANGIN’: Open air, twilight, kinkajous, jungle sounds, Belikin, and a bunch of people hanging out in wooden chairs every night.

BREAKFAST: Warm bread, fresh mango and watermelon, fresh juice, and black coffee every morning in a screened room with a bunch of people from all over the world.

GUATEMALA: Just crossing the border made me think of Jutiapa, Antigua, and all of you I met last time I was there. I thought of you when I had a Gallo post-Tikal, and I told the story about the time we stayed so late in town that they literally ran out.  There was nothing like carrying cinder blocks and mixing cement all day, taking a shower, and heading into town for some Guacamole and imprompu dancing and karaoke (Carley and Nora, I think that was you). Guatemalan nostalia!

TIKAL: The second largest Mayan civilization in Central America was just chillin’ below some dirt until somebody dug it back up. Almost as cool as our guide Hugo.

Thanks again to my high school friends Tom and Jess for all of their travelin’ ideas. It’s fabulous how someone you haven’t seen in 10 (11? 12? ) years can drop back in for a second. Great to hear from both of you!



And then I came home and went to the Lady Gaga concert. Oh, life.

3 Responses leave one →
  1. Jen permalink
    May 8, 2011

    Wow, just…wow. 🙂

  2. Kathleen permalink
    May 14, 2011

    Way too cool!  Aunt Kathy

  3. Anonymous permalink
    May 30, 2011

    Thanks, ladies!

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