Belize & Guatemala Part II

People and Places

People, The Group

Belize and Guatemala happened for me this past January because of adventurers Deb and Bob Stelton, through their mom and pop travel company Mexi-Mayan Travel.

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Deb and Bob Stelton climbing the ruins, Mexi-Mayan Travel

And they really are my mom and pop.

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At the Ruins of Tikal

Forever curious, an inspiration to countless students and seekers, hosts and trip organizers of expeditions since the 1960’s, they are only now at 88 and 91 years young just starting to slow down.

I’ll admit to a tug at the heartstrings.  Climbing around ruins and getting in and out of boats or beat up trucks is a challenge at their age.  I am an arm for my mother to lean on, (darn arthritic knees!) or a cheerleader as she navigates a high ledge, on her butt, backwards.  I am an ear for my dad’s failing hearing, and also sometimes a stabilizer for him also.  It’s not easy for them and sometimes I worry.  Well, enough of that.  You get the picture. We treasure each of these excursions.

It has been an honor and delight to accompany them and sometimes work as guide on many of their madcap journeys.

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Travelin’ in high style!

Talk about gratitude, my life has been rich with culture and experience.  They’ve modeled viewing the world with wonder and curiosity.

Follow their lead, my friends!  Pursue your passions, interests and loves as long as you can!  It keeps the mind, body spirit, strong and supple like a cheetah…

Other than the ‘rents and I there were 12 more adventurers.  All intelligent, mature, considerate, and often hilarious individuals, including 3 archeologists.  All curious about and considerate of the culture of Belizeans and Guatemalans.   Many archeology passionistas who appreciate a cold local beer at lunch.

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The group at the Mayan ruins of Tikal

More People, Local People

A few words about the people of Belize. They are funny, kind, patient, and generous.  Names of businesses and street signs reflect their humor and generally easy-going nature.

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More good natured monkey bizness…

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Out in the jungle some funny guys transformed this tree stump into cigar smokin’ creatures with pebbles as eyes and sticks for cigars, can you see?  Oh, and the tree moss as hair.

Our local guides took care of us like family.  Once even ingeniously packing a home cooked lunch feast (made by one of their sisters in the wee hours of the dawn) which we enjoyed at a ruin in the open air replete with china plates!

I was touched to see a young taxi driver holding my mom’s hand and slowly walk her to his old cab with the cracked windshield and peeling window darkeners.

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A verdant house with a red sofa in San Ignacio?   Yes, please!

In San Ignacio the dogs are plump and adored.  They wander the streets freely and bark all night. All night.  They bark all night!  All.  Night.  Yawn.  Supposedly they are watch dogs, but I think they are more just party animals.

I’ve been to Guatemala about 6 times.  Here too I find the people are kind.  Traditional Mayan spirituality is intriguing and very alive in Guatemala.  If you can experience a Mayan shaman ceremony or visit a Maximon shrine, go for it!.  The shamans will speak directly to the gods on your behalf, building a sacred ritual fire.  Maximon is the saint of drunkards and whores.  He can be bought off with offerings of cash, booze, and cigarettes.  I mean just do it!  Can’t hurt, right?

Places

In San Ignacio we stayed at the Rolsen Hotel.  The Rolsen sits atop a hill a bit out of the hustle and bustle of downtown.  Modest and clean accommodations, very kind and helpful staff.  Nice Pool.  Although the coffee was dreadful, the breakfasts were hearty and the fruit plate was super fresh.  Best thing on the menu – Pork Pibil.  There is a lovely view of the city from the dining room.  And it’s easy to get a cab or tour company and take excursions from here.  We used the dependable and friendly family-run local tour company,

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Restaurant at the Rolsen Hotel (See the green house over there?)

BTW  – we about fainted over the food at San Ignacio’s restaurant The Crave.  So yummy!

Also the Belize Zoo is lovely place, small in size with lush flora.  I am not keen on zoos but this zoo is more of a rescue center.  I petted a rescued jaguar!

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A walk through the Zoo.
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Junior, a rescued jaguar.

In the Peten area of Guatemala we stayed three nights at the remote  El Sombrero Lodge.  Run by an Italian woman who came to visit as a young lady then fell in love with the land (and a man) and never left.  She is assisted by her adult sons.  This lodge was my favorite on the trip.  Outstanding service and delicious home cooked meals (they baked me a birthday cake with only an afternoon’s notice, and served it warm for desert!)  The lodge is tucked in the jungle on a crocodile filled lake (no swimming).  I found the rooms utterly charming – screened-in thatched roof structures.  You will hear the howler monkeys!  Some rooms are more “communal” then others.  You may hear your neighbors!  The lodge generates their own power (which goes off at night unless you make other arrangements), keep their own bees, and serve the honey with homemade pancakes.  Excellent coffee.  The owners are highly knowledgeable about Mayan archeology and offer excursions to nearby ruins by boat, horse, or car.  The road to this place was exceedingly bumpy, but worth it!

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El Sombrero dining room
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Walkway at El Sombrero
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My lodgings at El Sombrero
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The bar at El Sombrero
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The lake at El Sombrero
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The boat we took to see ruins at El Sombrero
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Happy horses

 

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Tree roots in Guatemala

Deb had the brilliant idea to finish our trip at the most luxurious of the three “hotels.”  So we were off by a scenic boat ride to, The Lamanai Outpost Lodge.  Private, quiet rooms, service, food and cultural and ecotourism activities here were first rate.  Hot showers, air conditioning, comfy beds, beautiful landscaping, hummingbirds everywhere.  24 hour coffee is forever in the communal room. Our hosts mysteriously and repeatedly offered drinks on the house.  Was it something about us?  Or is it the norm?  Hard to say…  Regardless, cheers!

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View from the restaurant at Lamanai Outpost Lodge
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Restaurant at Lamanai Outpost Lodge
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Lamanai Outpost Lodge
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Lamanai Outpost Lodge
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Lamanai Outpost Lodge
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Lamanai Outpost Lodge
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Lovely view from my cabin…
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The river ride to Lamanai Outpost Lodge
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The river ride to Lamanai Outpost Lodge

Beautiful Ruins

Finally, we visited many ruins…  I’m sorry the names escape me (there were so many!) but here are a few favorite pictures…

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My feet on the top of a ruin
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Me

Thank you for reading! I’d love to hear about your adventures – please comment!

More Links

Here’s the itinerary for the trip:
Belize and Guatemala – A Mayan Ecological Adventure

Belize & Guatemala Part I

If you’ve more interest in Mayan culture, and scent here’s a little Mayan Story I wrote:
Sex and Scent – A Cautionary Mayan Tale

And here’s another blog about Guatemala and coffee from a previous trip:
Smelling the Coffee, Generosity of Spirit

 

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Me again…
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Free Range Faerie Telepathic Blog

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The Magical Telepathic Blogs

If you’ve used your telepathic abilities you would “know” all of the blogs I’ve been writing in my head (and not here.)  You’d know all of the beautiful and inspiring things I’ve seen and thought as I travel around, wanting to share…  The doubts and revelations…

Michigan

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You’d know of my beautiful Michigan blogs, about where I re-learned to love the quiet of winter snow.  My companions were pines, dunes, Lake Michigan, my perfumery studies and of course, Missy.

(no wifi, which was kinda nice.)

 

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Maya Riviera

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Of surf and sunshine with my dear mom and some little plastic faeries.  Where I realized relaxing is different than just being calm.

No Missy.  😦

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Mexico City
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 I’m sure you loved my pictorial blog about the oodles and oodles of jaw-dropping art and architecture in Mexico City.  A whirlwind tour with my parents and their company, Mexi-Mayan travel.  Mexico City and its surrounding area  is chock full of treasures!

(Too busy for wifi – surprisingly nice!)

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Chicago

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And didn’t you just devour the Chicago blogs? Highlighting more art and architecture.

But most importantly the blog written from my south-side Beverly, artist garret celebrating the completion of my course of study at the Natural Perfumery Institute.  Hooray!

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Finishing two perfumes… Dusk Blossom and Invisioning Roses

(And becoming most shamefully addicted to Game of Thrones… no blogging, urp.)

 

Go Fund Me

AND then the blog announcing the crowd sourcing campaign to raise money for the verdant faerie scent salon start-up!

The world really is full of wonder and kindness and support.  It took me a good 6 months to a year to have the guts to come out and ask for this help.

You know that demon that shouts repeatedly, “NO, YOU ARE NOT DESERVING!!!”  The beastly voice that keeps you from creating and sharing your gifts…  That ogre, claws embedded in my shoulder, mouth hot in my inner ear.  But I kept dreaming and invisioning.  Walking in woods for inspiration.  Yoga for peace and aerial silks for strength.  Visiting faerie realms while drowning the horrid voice in Bulgarian rose absolute.  Enchanting the monster with Sandalwood and tiny dancing plastic glow-in-the-dark faeries.  Washing clean in Lavender and Neroli.

And finally when I was ready, support was there!  And I am grateful and humbled and joyful…  (And still accepting donations.)

Go Fund Me Verdant Faerie

Maryland Now

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 Here I am surrounded by Lulu’s faeries, loved ones, cherry blossoms, Missy and the verdant faerie perfumery.

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Elegant 5 ml bottles for precious perfumes, and dried rose petals, just because….The rest of my supplies will arrive soon, and I will have a thrill of a lifetime blending my perfume formulas.

The official launch date is April 24th at a live event at Invision, in Chicago and with an Etsy store.

It will be a simple start regarding labels and that sort of thing.  But I feel confident in the magical perfume blends and in the quality of the ingredients I will use.

More soon about the opening!  (NOT telepathic.)

Non-Telepathic Blogs

Well, I still hope to write those blogs, and lots more, in case we are not telepathically linked.  And still on the move.  But I am totally open to a rendezvous in the faerie realm as an alternate to blogs or telepathic communication.  Just lemme know.

Dear Reader!  Thank you for visiting!

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Free Range Missy