Sunday, March 30, 2008

selva, cascadas, puking passengers...

In an attempt to get back in the writing groove I am now attempting to spend 10 minutes documenting each place I go. Ten minutes feels like an accomplishable amount, and enough time to give you all a sense of some of the amazing places that I get to visit. Mostly I am doing it so that when I am not racing around the central america anymore I can read back over this and think of what a crazy time in my life this was.
With that I will delve into today...
Today is Sunday, most days of the week don´t really stand out to me, but Sunday always does. Things are closed on Sundays, and every week I forget this, and every week it throws a wrench in some kind of plan. Today that plan was breakfast, which went from being my planned coffee in bagel (got to stick with what you know sometimes) to jugo de naranja y remolacha (EVA!) and quesadillas. The quesadillas were cooked in a restaurant that was infested with roaches. I had one of those moments of thinking, ¨what has happened to me that roaches in a place that is cooking me food is acceptable?¨ then I remembered that huge roach crawling up the wall of a restaurants in Bangkok which finally fell, causing me to scream, and I realize that maybe my standards have always been low, or maybe roaches are just everywhere. Yuck.
Anyhow I had organized private transport to Palenque so that we could stop along the way and swim in some amazing water falls. The only thing that was complicating this was that quite a few of my charges has over imbibed the night before. All those rumors about the Scots and Irish drinking, I can assure you they are very accurate. My British Isles delegates had done a bit of damage to themselves leading to a somewhat entertaining curvy ride towards Palenque. The whole thing was highlighted by two bags being utilized for barf. Mmmm.
We finally arrived in Aguas Azules and cooled off in the water for a couple of hours otherwise I worry that I might have had a plastic bag filling epidemic on my hands.
Ahhh... well there goes 10 minutes.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

notes from the road

Some other thoughts....
  • grapefruit is fantastic in Mèxico, especially with honey and granola
  • it is best to take Dramamine on the night bus between oxaca and san cristobal
  • bird shit can turn forests white!
  • blisters on the bottom of your feet shouldn`t be messed around with
  • mezcal can be quite delisshhesss, especially when there is an open bar and you`ve just watched a mèxican massaging the smoked fermenting agave pulp (why didn´t i remember my camera?)
  • you need at least a week in d.f. to see, eat, and enjoy enough of the city to say you`ve ¨been there¨
  • siestas are necessary
  • sometimes you think you have scabies and it turns out to be hook worm


under the clouds in san cristobal de las casas

Its late afternoon down south in SCC. The light has that richness from clouds catching the golden rays of the slowly setting sun. I just caught a view of one of the hill churches back lit by the sun, its my favorite time of day to wander the streets with my camera. This afternoon has been on and off rain punctuated by eating soup and writing postcards, a strange contrast to the morning.
I bageled and coffe-ed at about 8 (yes I did say bagel!) and then headed with the majority of my group to Sumidero canyon a ridiculous boat trip along the dammed portion of some green Mexican river. It was pretty amazing, crocodrillos, monos, and lots of ´wowing´gringos. I got to play bird identification (thank you mom and h.i.) and caught some seriously good sun. It was hot on the river like it can get out there in Sac-town, Nimbus flats styles. The kind of heat that can really only by beat by Popsicles and naps.
But now it is cool with post rain fall air, bringing out all sorts of nice smells. I`m getting all sentimental about traveling friends and experiences. I try to remind myself that the feeling shouldn't be sadness, but a happiness for the experiences I`ve had, but sometimes it feels nice to be a bit mopey. Traveling is a lesson in change. You can`t hold on to much, most people are buffeted on by winds or tides, sliding past you in a day, an hour, a week, or maybe if you are lucky a month. The thing that makes it easier is finding joy in the present moment, that way when it is a memory you will know that you appreciated it while it was happening.
Favorite memories of the last week all occurred in front of the Santo Domingo cathedral in Oxaca. Nothing like cacti and religious architecture to inspire enjoyment in life.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

dirty tacos

How is it possible that I spent 6 months in central america craving Mexican food?
Why is it that immediately upon crossing the border to Mexico the food improves? Hasn´t some brilliant Mexican realized they make millions off tacos if they just moved to Belize or Guatemala?
I guess it should go without saying that I have finally made it to Mexico and now I am on a mission to eat as much street food as possible.
If there isn´t a threat of gastric distress is it really worth eating?

And how is it possible not to like Mole?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Well I am back in my favorite of the magnificent central 7, a place where chaos, beauty and struggle are ever present . Even my arrival back here was peppered with a typical guatemalan pincho, stretching what might have been a meager six hour journey into eight and a half. I still swear the driver aimed for the rock in the center of the road as if he knew that not too far down the road was a repair shop (not really a suprise as pinchazos are as common as roosters in Guatemala) as well as a friendly restraunt with a clean baño in which his gringos could rest. Prior to making it to the restraunt we spent a half hour waiting on the road side cutting down and applying aloe to our collective bites and bruises while the driver struggled to change the tire only to find it was a different size. One of my pax tried to explain about a forward axel differential whatever which I sadly attempted to translate into broken spanish. Bad translation or no we ended up at a pinchazo where the mechanics were about half my age and again some how I ended up explaining the about the differential tire size issue. Then we headed down the road in search of sustenance and a place to pee.
An hour later after doing a pepsi coke throw down (coke won) and consuming way too many platanos the driver came to collect us. We took off once again only to be foiled by a semi with what must have been half a metal building strapped to its bed. It took us over an hour to overtake the damn thing because of the narrow roads. By then we hit Guate city traffic and the whole thing turned into a snarled mess of chaotic overtaking mixed in with an unpleasent period behind a truck filled with smoking rubber and a stop for pan dulce and to pee.
Our arrival in Antigua was a welcome one.
Did I mention we had had a flat tire the day before? Life on the road is a crazy one.