Friday, July 27, 2007

A-OK in the USA

I'm back in SF, and I am thrilled...

I have much more to write about regarding reflections from my trip, but not now!


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I survived a 10 meter jump and all I got was...

Hey bloggers...

In a word, Semuc Chempey was totally freakin' bodasciously gorgeous. Ok, that was more like 4 words, if you count bodasciously as a word...Regardless, pictures should be posted by tonight or by the latest when I return to the USA.
But for now, turn off the music you may listening to, stop your work for a second (ahem! If you are reading this at work please note that this is by no means an invitation to shirk your responsibilities, shame shame), close your eyes, open them, take a breath, and let me recap my adventure...

Semuc Chempey is a cluster of water pools that emenate (I think) from a rather large water fall or certainly a water flow. The water, due to restrictions on usage and likely due to the ever flowing of water AND to the surrounding jungle it is nestled between, is a hue of blue green. There are smaller little waterfalls that divide each pool, and the water feels great. So if you are scoring at home, there are a lot of beautiful pools of blue green water, in the middle of the jungle. Ok? Ok.I decided to go as part of a tour, while pricey, and was by far and away a great choice. It started off innocently enough...climbing up to the top of the jungle to get an aerial view. Working up a sweat, we jumped into the water and swam. All the while...the ominous 10 meter jump (30+ feet) was on all of our minds. Yes, this was optional, but essentially, it consisted of climbing down a rope ladder to jump some 30 odd feet into the cool water.

I was totally up for it. At least mentally. About 10 of us decided to go for it, and we started by climbing up the side of a cliff for a mere 6 meter jump. Only 3 of us did this, your humble narator (yes, from A Clockwork Orange, I know) being one of them. Man...Rene, our guide went first, and did a beautiful headfirst dive into the water. Um....ok. I was up next. I didn´t want to do knees were shaking, but that was the only way down. It wasn´t pretty, but I jumped and landed. WOOOOOOOOO!

So that was the easy one? Crap! We kept going, did another crazy jump and finally got to a cross-roads. Take a funky little rope ladder down to go further. Alright, I´m in. Kids, this was scary, at least for me anyways...we scaled a shear cliff on nothing but a little rope ladder. AWESOME. After that, we were surronded by rushing water and a high cliff. Time to jump? Nope, not quite yet. We then lassoed a rope around rocks, ducked our heads and climbed down into a cave. This was AWESOMER! The cave walls on one side looked like petrified wood. On the other side it looked like a big melted wax candle. Freakin´cool man. Never have seen anything like this, truly special. After soaking (literally) the cave up, we headed back up the rope and to the last cross-roads. 30 ft jump?

Did I ever mention that I´m a teency bit scared of heights? Yah, ferris wheels kinda give me the willies. And during ropes course stuff, I´ve done it, but if I jump off that pole thing, the whole pole is shaking.

Oh, and this one time...

Oh wait, sorry, back to the story.

Hell yes I jumped! Apparently I didn´t jump that far out...but I set a good example for the other jumpers so they could try and not make it as close to the side of the cliff as me. Hey, I got style...or actually, nothing like it. But I did it. And I had fun. And I pushed my boundries. So now I can salsa dance, cliff dive, and understand spoken spanish pretty well.

During this little adventure I befriended two Canadiens and an Austrailian who might crash at 406 Oak once he makes it to SF, thanks roomies! They are super nice, and it felt good to share the adventure with them if it couldn´t be Roni. Speaking about Roni, she is doing well, Adam misses her a ton.

Now I am in...Flores. Again. Why? Because it was really hard to get to Rio Dulce from Coban. I mean, I chickened out from taking two chicken buses on long trips by myself. Whatever. I hope to get there tomorrow and to Livingston. This will be the carribbean leg of the program.

Then to Antigua by Thursday night, then back home to SF Friday. All in due time. This might be the last posting before I come home, so Guatemala, thank you!

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Hey there,

I made it safely in Coban and am off on a two day tour of Semuc Champey and Lanquin. It should be awesome.

I know it seems like I have nothing better to do but play on the internet, but I actually wont be able to post for 2 to 3 days, amazing I know. So don´t get worried if you don´t hear from me.


Friday, July 20, 2007


Here´s a scary thought...Adam plus Salsa = a great experience!!!

Man, I´m dizzy after my first salsa lesson, but I think I kinda got the very basic steps and turn down.

Whew. Now if you´ll excuse me, I´m going to go throw up.

Just kidding. I hope.

And away we go...

Well, I will at least.

I leave Antigua tomorrow morning for Coban, a mountain town that is near the luscious and prescious Lanquin and Semuc Champey.

I´m sad to leave Antigua, as I have really come to appreciate it, it´s setting betwixt the volcanoes and highlands, and it´s historic feel. Yet, evenings have been lonely and I think that starting up with travelling again will help finish my last week in style.

To continue a bit from yesterday...raise your hand if you´re currently reading something extracuricularly. Ok good. If you didn´t raise your hand, do me a favor and start reading. Something. Anything. Thanks.

And now I´ve included pictures of myself with Irma

And here is one of me and Antonio
Yes, the beard is back. Watch out. Although I look a bit messy these days.

I truly enjoyed my homestay and my Spanish lessons and if anyone else ventures as far south as Antigua, I will gladly hook you up with Irma and Antonio.

Oh, and they have a turtle, so what the hey. Go ninja, go ninja go.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Preachy Part

Traveling in Guatemala is not all about fun and games. Hopefully some of you did a little research about some of the recent history here, I am no expert and wont claim to be one, but if anything I want to comment about is the complicit role the United States of America played here, sometimes sponsoring coups, sometimes cutting off aid.

From my understanding, the US lent $$$, arms, and planes in order to help quel Guerrilla insurgency that at times took on a Socialist ring. Sound familiar? It should, the US did it for years in what were then considered third world countries, countries that by definition had yet to allign themselves with Western Capital or Communist Ideals. The civil war that took place in this country was brutal and very divisive and its effects are still felt today.

No, Guatemala is not the only country to receive US dollars they could never repay for a underlying US´s just one of many. I recently finished reading Confessions of an Economc Hitman, now a few years old, but still VERY relevant. I highly encourage those who haven´t read it to read it. Once again, it details in great detail the measures businesses and our government went to to secure oil, capitalism, and unpayable debts from the developing world.

Why do I mention this? Well, I think that Americans from the United States don´t have a clue for the most part, and well, that´s the way it´s designed. Mainstream news channels and textbooks don´t give us underlying stories and currents of what is really going down. So it´s not your fault, but I think it´s time you start doing some research. Part of informing yourself is by travelling, by exposing yourself to different lifestyles, different cultures, different ideas. I´ve found that we truly live in a big bubble of US idealism, closemindedness, and ignorance. It´s sad, truly sad. It´s a VERY big world out your eyes.

Yet, even if we begin to lift the blindfold and inform ourselves, what then? The grip on power, money, and influence and such is soooo insidious that I don´t envision many changes. Democrat and Republican make little difference honestly. Is anybody better than Bush? Really? To some degree yes, but Obama-Clinton aren´t the be all fix all solution either. They will succumb to similar pressures if and when they are elected.

Being in Guatemala and talking with Antonio illustrates that despite our relative comfort and weatlh in the USA, we have a world of problems internally and abroad. Those that know me well know that I wanted to take on healthcare...but I think I´m losing the spirit for that fight. So long as our country views healthcare as a profit commodity rather than a civic service, I don´t see a point in getting involved, I think I´ll burn out. At least San Francisco has the right idea. That´s why I live there.

Chew on this...the US government does indeed spend a freakin´boat load of money on public healthcare...Medicare and Medicaid. But what do Medicare premiums really get you? Free care for elderly? No freakin´way. In fact, in order to reap the most from Medicare eldery people are encouraged to ¨spend down¨. What does that mean? That means you spend away your money freely (no doubt fattening the pockets of the wealthy even more) until your poor enough to get cheaper medical care. This makes a ton of sense for the baby boom population....not. IMagine you work hard all your life, save away, contribute to social security,but then have to pay a crap load of money for pills and copays. Great system America. Glad to know we spend a crap load of money on a flawed and inherently contradictory program. That´s not nearly as bad as spending a crap load of money to bring democracy to Iraq.

Yet, I am an American. That´s where I´m from, its what culture I relate to most, so I don´t see myself moving. It´s just part of life I suppose. Nothing is perfect, countless things are far from ideal, and what choice do I really have.

The solutions are a simple and healthy life. Be good to your friends, better to your lovers, and kind to the people that annoy you. Smile, smile, smile. It works wonders.

I´m stepping off of my pulpit now. This is my last preaching post I promise.


Just a quicky...

Stomach issues all cleared up, all hail the magic of Cippro.

I will blog more later.

Healthy and Happy!