Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Awesome, Part Uno

OK, so I totally would have gotten to this sooner, but I was distracted the awesomeness that is the Midwest Teen Sex Show and the stupidity of The Biggest Loser. Why (oh why) for all the crying? I cry a lot more when I'm putting on weight. God.

Anyhoodle, the trip, she was great. Meet our cast of characters:

l to r:
Lou -- American expatriate now living in Guatemala, owner of truck and canoes, and maker of many a delicious meal in the jungle. He leads tours of the local flora and fauna and works frequently with Chantal.

Chantal -- Tour company owner and our fearless leader. Originally from Holland but has been living in Guatemala and Mexico for many years

Sassmaster -- wishing she'd worn something slimming

Mario -- Friend of Chantal and native Guatemalan, visiting from Vancouver. He joined us for just part of the trip.

Dennis -- Chantal's brother, visiting from Holland.

As perhaps you can tell, I was the only client booked for this tour and in fact the first person who'd ever signed up for it. It was a relatively new trip on the company's roster. Chantal said they thought about canceling with only one booking, but I'd signed up so early, she decided not to.

You must also meet Ismeal:

He's on the right there with Dennis. He's originally from Cuba, co-owner of the tour company, and married to Chantal. After I met these two handsome devils in Playa del Carmen, we bussed it to Bacalar, Mexico, near the Belizean border. From that hotel balcony they're standing on, you could see this:

The Laguna Bacalar. Presumably there was bathing to be had in the laguna or even the pool, but we spurned them both and spent a lovely afternoon at the Cenote Azul, eating seafood on a cool patio and swimming:

Cenotes are sort of sinkholes, formed by the collapse of underground caves. They basically go straight down with no regard for one's need for gradual entry into the water. They are beloved by divers, apparently.

Later, we sampled some facts at the Museo del Fuerte de Bacalar (the Fort of San Felipe) -- an old fort built by the Spanish in 1733:

Apparently, the prirates, buccaneers, and privateers couldn't get enough of Bacalar. And who could blame them! But the Spanish weren't having it, because, duh, they wanted all the loot for themselves.

After a lovely night in our hotel -- there were two geckos in my room chirping at me -- Ismeal escorted Dennis and I to the border, explained how to navigate the border crossings, and put us on a bus to Guatemala. Several hours later, we arrived in El Remate, where Lou and Chantal met us and whisked us off to lunch at this Italian restaurant, minus any red-and-white-checked tablecloths and chianti:

Lou and I quickly bonded over, you know, America, and I had bruschetta for lunch. Afterwards, we walked across the road to Lake Peten Itza and went for a swim; Ismael had helpfully warned us to have swim suits at the ready.

I don't think I'll do the whole trip in one epic post, so more later. Next up? Tikal!


Night Editor said...

I'd been waiting for you to write this! You were like royalty--a tour set up just for you. Sounds amazing!

mully said...

looks so cool, ever so jealous i am. can't wait to hear and see more!

Anonymous said...

Oh, mc, that looks divne! I am so happy you put those photos up! I look forward to seeing you and hearing more about your trip soon!

Boomer said...

I cannot believe you were the only one smart enough to grab up a deal like that. That is the coolest. Love the pics. Welcome back and all that!