Monday, August 31, 2015

Lamanai Landings; Crocs, Crops, other words...

Lamanai Orange Walk Hotels Lamanai Jungle Mayan
View from my was a rough few days ;)
Let's start today with a little lesson in Mayan language arts.  Thousands travel to Lamanai annually to explore this amazing ruin site - however next to no one knows where they are.  "Lamb-in-eye" as everyone says it means 'city of much insects' in the Mayan language.  But they didn't name the city after insects (side note - not one bite that day!) they instead named it after crocodiles...submerged crocodiles to be more accurate - "La-mon-eye-een" is the city of submerged crocodiles.

Its great to get away.  Everyone needs a few days every now and again to get a bit of a recharge in the system, and even if you do have to work a bit each day - the change of scenery and a few new experiences makes a world of difference.

Balcony = Croc spotting station
My most recent trip to the "center of hell" (according to our Accounting Manager) turned out to be so lovely that 2 night easily became 4 nights.  Lamanai Landings was a great little unexpected bit of paradise in the middle of what I thought was going to be a buggy, sweltering, suck fest.  To be completely fair I found the entire area district of Orange Walk (that I saw) to be really very nice.  The hotel is 3 miles outside of town, and situated on their private lagoon.  All the rooms have patios over the water, so you get a wonderful cooling breeze.  Best part is the crocs in the lagoon!  Killed a lot of time staring at crocs.

Lamanai Landings Mermaid Restaurant Orange Walk Belize
Being a family business guy, and general supporter of most things Ecological, Lamanai Landings had many practices that I really appreciated.  One being they grew the blackberries that were in my blackberry Mojito, The other being their dedication to the village they are in and supporting the residents of that village. Tower Hill Village is comprised of about 165 residents - and somewhere between 30-40 of them work in some capacity on the Lamanai Landings project; be it in construction, cleaning, guest service, etc.  Every Thursday is kids movie night too; all the village kids are invited to come in and enjoy a nice AC filled room with movies playing; great opportunity for local fellowship., Claudia, and that other girl
perched atop the tallest temple. Sorry "other
girl"...I'm sure you have a name.
We of course went up to Lamanai and did that tour - it was fun - but Lamanai Landings has many unique tours and offerings that make it a special place and separate it from the pack.  Since the hotel just opened in July many tours are still being tweaked and brought together to create the best experiences, and given the personal attention from Blanca and Enrique you're sure to enjoy them.  Perhaps the most unique (so unique that most Orange Walk residents don't even know it's there) is the cenote tour.  It's a private cenote - so you've gotta go with LL.  They offer many variations of the tour; you can get a quick dip, or relax on a private floating dock (being constructed now); nothing like enjoying a private lunch in your private cenote, listening to only birds and monkeys and things.  Then perhaps getting a massage from their massage therapist as the water calmly laps beside you.  Good day. scaling her
way down to the cenote
Lamanai Landings private cenote
Other fun stuff includes exploring the lagoons - soon to be opened up in a bird watchers parades (another LL exclusive to the area), tours of the rum distilleries, enjoying Orange Walk town and their amazing tacos.  Croc spotting while on a night river safari was super fun...I did get to wrestle a mighty croc, and I won.  Course he was only like 3 feet long, so he didn't stand much of a chance.  FYI - before you spam me for being insensitive to creatures you should know this - I'M JOKING.  I wrestled zero crocs.

I wasn't going to mention being scared out of my mind - but I suppose I should.  I rode in a real car, on a real road for the first time in nearly a year on this trip...scared me to death.  Seriously.  I can only wonder how I handle driving in traffic and such again some day.  I jumped at the chance to ride in the back of the truck one day - I handled life much better back there.  Also rode a bike with gears for the first time in forever - I'm out of shape.

A few more random pics:

Llamanai Landings Hotel, Marina, and Smokey Mermaid
Spider Monkey Belize Lamanai jungle river
Spider Monkey

Llamanai Landings Hotel, Marina, and Smokey Mermaid
Llamanai Landings Hotel, Marina, and Smokey Mermaid

Sunset Orange Walk Belize Horse Village Western Country
Sunset - Town Hill Village; Orange Walk, Belize

We were so lost till we found this sign

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Things I Miss

Camping river Colorado
Okay, to properly get into a frame of mind close to where I am - maybe that will make this post better - you'll need to crack a Shock Top, or a Blue Moon, or even a PBR...ah...a PBR.  When I land (whenever that happens) in the states I'll be buying a case on the way "home".

Home.  Where the hell is that?  I typed it up there, then had to go back and put the quotation marks around.  Like it was a solid place in my mind...'home'...was a solid place.  But it isn't.  I'm in the middle I'd say.  Between here and there.  I loved it there.  I love it here.  Very different reasons for both - and likely nothing that can ever be combined into one place.  Has anyone found that one perfect place?  Does it exist?  Maybe for them.  Not for me.

ANYWAY - enough of that...have you cracked that beer?  Now turn on your preferred music player service; Pandora, iWhatever, Amazon Prime for me (thank you Amazon for a decent player that works in Belize and doesn't suck up hardly any bandwidth).  Plug in one of the following stations - John Denver, Mumford, no...make it John Denver; but the Amazon one is better than the iWhatever one.

There needs to be a strong point made right here - no people are being mentioned in this post.  Not because I don't miss anyone!  I miss loads of people terribly.  But there's simply not enough space on blogger to describe all the people I miss and all the ways I miss them.  So don't be offended that you aren't listed - cause you ARE MISSED.

BMW Rally Racd
Big Red Racing - Rally Colorado
A rally race weekend - Man o man.  What an amazing time those are.  Road tripping with the boys (sorry...NO NAMES!!); even towing disasters lead to plenty of cool experiences and adventures.  A couple days of driving, a few days of mad wrenching and racing and running all over the place. Basically no sleep, little food, some beers here and there, lots of sweat, some tears (from knuckle busting usually), and endless good times.  Must do that again.

Long camp trips - totally unplugged.  It was awesome...I'd tell people "I'll be checking my phone at least once a day here and there over the next week or so till I get back" and I fully intended to.  Then I pulled off onto the dirt, and by the time I was 10 miles from nowhere and even farther from electricity and cell service - that phone sat in the console for the next week.  Oops.   Time with the people on these trips was some of the best time I ever spent in my life.  One year I spent 3 days alone in the bush before they arrived.  I went to "stake" out a campsite and was more than happy to spend a bit of time naked in nature.  I hunted my dinner and scavenged my lunch...scavenged out of the cooler and hunted steaks from the icebox.

I wonder if I'll die if I go too long without looking at the world from the top of a mountain.  Seeing peaks upon endless peaks.  Wondering how a world with so many people on it can seem so vast and empty.  Feeling the chill of the mountain breeze work it's way throw your layered clothes and onto your skin.

Mountain biking, sledding, hiking, road biking - even though I tended to keep to the bike trails as I didn't want to get run over.

Sitting on my patio.  Thunder storms, chasing tornados, rain, hot chocolate as the snow falls...

A dear friend once called me a Hobbit.  As I look at the adventures of life, and the things I miss...I realize more and more she is right.  I'm a Hobbit.  Even my feet are hairy.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

I Can Hear Them, Crawling On The Floor At Night

The following is based on real events.  No names were changed as no one is innocent or in need of protection.  The pictures that follow are artist renderings....and I use the term artist EXTREMELY loosely.  

As of the writing of this entry I am simply lucky to be alive.  I hope what is being recorded in the following passage is not the final thoughts and writings I’ll ever record…but if they are; it’s been a good life.  This fear of impending death consumes me as a result of an altercation I had in the hallway of my apartment building, and two subsequent events. 

Returning home the other day, late…like 9pm…I was in a tired haze when I saw him.  I live on the 3rd floor and our paths crossed as I came off the stairs onto the 2nd floor landing.  He was huge, a hulking figure so large that it took my brain more than second to process what I was truly looking at.  Was I imagining it?  Did I get beaten and mugged and this was some sort of dream as I lay dying in a puddle of blood and wash water?  No…it was really happening.

The biggest spider I’ve ever seen staring me down.  Though I heard no voice I know he issued a telepathic threat.  His un-wavering stance made his intentions very clear; he would not yield.  I knew he was going to follow me, into my home, into my bed, and eat me.  There was only one logical option – a preemptive strike.  The first salvo fired was my foot in an attempt to crush him; but I was half too slow, and half lost my nerve when I realized that as my foot was going down his legs were still on either side of my sandal (see my highly skilled drawing just left).  I was sure he’d pick me up and throw me like a lee rag doll (lee – Creole for “wee” or small). 

He jetted to my left seeking refuge between the floor and a railing.  I took off my sandal and quickly fired a second salvo – once again too late as he slipped under the railing and out of sight.  Since then two of his cronies have made feeble attempts on my life. 
They were much smaller, but gray and hairy and had ferocious fangs…so still imposing (pictured just right).  The first attacker died at the hands of my body guard, Gaylynn.  His assault was made in broad daylight at the dive shop; I cried, Gaylynn squashed him with her bare hand ninja action…laughed at me and called me a baby.  The second was bigger than the first, today it came at me, once again in the shop…no Gaylynn here to save me, and he got away from my pathetically thrown water bottle, stealthily disappearing in the cracks of the wall. 

He’ll come again.  I’m sure the bounty on my head is high; perhaps 3 flies and cricket I’ve heard some say.  But it matters not – they’ll never find my treasure. 

Some ask how I sleep at night knowing doors don’t stop these fiends – well I’ll tell how…in the dark, my eyes closed, hugging a body pillow.  

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Ramblings of a Fool

Belize chalk party
Gaylynn and Eric after
chalk party @ Caye Caulker
Lobster Fest 2015
Well hello again.  Suppose I've been away from this a bit long...I looked through my "drafts" and realized I've started a good many blogs and not completed a one - so I elected to crumple them up and throw them all in the bin; such as it is anyway.  Kinda anti climactic to just delete a draft really.  I was seriously tempted to print them, crumple them, and chuck them in a bin.  It's always looked so fun in the old movies...just another item lost to technology I suppose.

So what have I been up too?  Crap tons really.  Since we've spoken I've done lobster fest in San Pedro and Caye Caulker, 4th of July, my good friend Kira came to visit, BTB Awards dinner, got voted on the Belize Tourism Industry Association crap tons.  The real issue is I got kinda bored talking about doing cool stuff.  It become mundane pretty easily really.  I mean Jake from State Farm hula hooping with a rip in his pants so 'mini Jake' is on display is something everyone wants to read about...but I just got tired of writing about it.

beach lobster dinner belize
Sue, East, Eric eating lobster @
San Pedro Lobster Fest 2015
 I wrote a lot of blogs, well 1/2 blogs that I crumpled for the bin, on the more emotional/thoughtful side of life - you know...what this blogspot was originally intended for...but never took the effort to really sit down, finish a thought and put it out there. Here I sit a year out from leaving my job, almost a year out from leaving Colorado, and 11 months out from leaving the US behind. I have no idea where that time has gone.  Time flies.

The older you get the faster time goes, but my God...if it continues at this pace I'll be dead before I know it.  Last night at the BTB Awards they gave some special acknowledgements to Celi Nunez McCorkle for all she's done for San Pedro.  It was astonishing to see what she had done over the course of her life; the community that came up around her efforts, love, and dedication to Ambergris Caye.  Many times I look at my life and realize I have no idea where 36 years has vanished, and I have a real fear the next 36 (okay I'd be lucky to get another 20) will be gone tomorrow with nothing to show.

Then I realize that maybe I don't need anything to show.  What does one really need to "show" for their life, other than a life well lived?  I think perhaps this will be another blog post...

Good night.

Firework from Caribbean Villas 4th of July
PS - The 4th of July party needs a mention oh wow you put on a show Peter and Caribbean Villas.  I mean holy cow you blew my socks off.  Bit of genius maneuvering there near the end as well.  The fireworks were supposed to kick off at 730, but "the boat captain was late" (year right) so the show didn't start till much later - but I didn't notice.  I easily had 4 more drinks and hung out with numerous friends and didn't even really notice the delay.  If the entire couple hundred people had a few more drinks too - then that was a very profitable "delay".  Though a show like that could not be cheap - I've heard rumors of $10K (not sure if BZ or US); but the show was PHENOMENAL.  For a Brit to throw a party for the US Independence day and come out of pocket for that many explosive on.  Go to Pedro's and congratulate him on the show in the best way possible - ringing that damn bell.