Archive | August, 2016


27 Aug

this is a pic from the Chicago questival, a kind of scavenger hunt.  


Slipping and a sliding, all along the waterfall with you….

1 Aug

I always wonder why birds choose to stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth, then I ask myself the same question.

Harun Yahya

Every front door finds me hoping I’ll find the back door open.  There just has to be an exit for the running kind.

Merle Haggard

Well I made it through another year, with just a vacation and not  a temporary relocation.   Since I moved back to Indiana in 2009; I have stayed in El Salvador for three months one time;five months another, and Brazil for three months another time. But the last three years I haven’t packed a bag and left except on vacation.  So I’m getting a little antsy.

This year we chose to visit Tikal, in Guatemala near the Belize border.  Of course nothing can be simple, so the weekend before we are scheduled to leave, Melinda gets so bad sick she has to go to the hospital. Since it was Fourth of July weekend, it meant she couldn’t see the specialist for four days. So… they kept her in the hospital for four days.  So she got out of the hospital on Tuesday, and we left for Guatemala on Thursday.  I tried to get her to delay the vacation, but she was determined.

If you’ve read this blog a lot you know that I like to go salsa dancing. The Saturday we arrived in Guatemala City there was a salsa social.  The nice thing about a social is: the people there aren’t there to hook up; or get drunk; it’s usually a lot of very good dancers, that want to dance with lots of people.  We have been to salsa socials in Michigan, South Bend, Toledo, and danced at lots of different places (Chicago, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Rio, San Salvador, Saint Louis, etc).  The dancers in Guatemala City were the best I’ve ever seen.  It was a small group might be 30 to 40 people, but 75%or more  were  great dancers.  Salsa Rueda is kind of like square dancing but with salsa, there’s a guy calling out moves and the entire group does the moves and is rotating partners and the circle rotating. And this group was doing the wildest moves .  There was one called “ask” and the guys get down on one knee and the girl twirls in front of them.  Was awesome to see but the light was too low to video.

Then we headed out to a place called  Semuc Champey.  We get to a place called the retreat and it was the nicest $14 hotel room I’ve ever stayed in.

retiro retiro2 Then the news comes that the national park that we had come to see is closed due to a strike.  However the cave tour was still available, because it’s on private property just outside of the park. This was the best $20 tour I’ve ever taken.

The tour starts out with a ride in the bed of the truck for about a half hour, there’s rails in the bed though so you can hold on as you’re standing.  This is actually much better than if they would have tried to take a van or a bus, because by standing in the bed of the truck you’re getting fresh air and not getting motion sick from all the bumps and twists and turns.  We read in the guidebook and online to wear Aqua shoes or gym shoes that you don’t care about, and wear a head lamp. They also said to wear a bathing suit under your clothes. If you didn’t have your own light the guide gave you a candle.  I was grateful I had Melinda’s headlamp, she had to hold the flashlight; because Marshall and Babs had given me a waterproof tough camera and I couldn’t hold a flashlight and take pictures.


Before we went into the cave he asked does everyone know how to swim? That would’ve been a bad time if you couldn’t swim, cause you to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do while everyone else went on the tour. I thought he was exaggerating, that there might be some waiting maybe even hip deep water.  Nope, if you couldn’t swim( and didn’t have some lifeguard you were taking the tour with who would drag you with them)  you would have been out of luck.

caveswim caveswim2

Melinda was very grateful that she had a flashlight, instead of trying to keep the candle out of the water while swimming and away from her hair.  Of course everyone who had a candle, had to get their candle re-lit several times. The guide would take the wet candle bite off the top little bit of wax and relight it.  When we got to the waterfall part and the guide says “you can go up the rope or the latter you don’t have to go up the rope.”   If this were in the USA, they would have called that criminally negligent, for not pointing out the danger of the rope.  As I go to try the rope, he says “if you get pushed back, just don’t let go of the rope”.  I think, I was pretty sure that he said that and not “just let go.”   Had I let go, my skull would’ve been cracked like an egg on the rocks below, so I’m glad I went with don’t let go.  I get to the top and can’t find footholds.  I think its no big deal, pull ups are the one exercise I excel at.  Except, the force of the water pounding on my chest and shoulders, there is no clearance to the side of the water, you have to go through the same opening that the water is going down.  I pull my head up high enough to snag the handrail rope that is rigged up for the people who took the ladder.  As I am doing this is realize how dumb it is, because now if slip I’m going to be hanging myself.  However it gave me enough purchase to find a foothold, and everything was good.  Later on in the tour, you could jump from about 12-18 feet up in the cave into a pool.  That was a lot more fun and less feeling of getting myself into a bad situation.  I told Melinda to film the jump, since chances of catching me mid -jump in a cave with a still photo were terrible, but she actually nailed the photo.



After the caves, we swung from a tire swing into the river by Semuc Champey.  Not my photo, battery was dead by then, but this gives you a good look.  My first swing, i jumped to late and face planted.  Was nearly as painful as when me, Alton, and Arrow did our sand belly-smacker contest. (still trying to figure out how to link the slow mo video of that.)  After that we swam near the waterfalls, floated down the river on a tube and people who wanted to could jump in from the bridge.  Again not my pics, but you can get a good idea from other people’s pics.

swingbridge 2bridge

After this we headed off for Tikal and Belize.   I’ll cover snorkeling with sharks and ruins of Tikal in my next installment.