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Showing posts from 2013

Fight or flight... or both?

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"Fortune favors the bold"
-- Pliny, the elder

Tons of time & thought went into planning my holidays in Belize. I worried about bad weather and lost reservations.I never anticipated the most difficult part would be leaving Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
I arrived an hour early at PIT around 5:30am. The line for US Airways was over a city block long. I tried my hardest -- at my boyfriend's request -- to be hopeful & diplomatic. 30 minutes before the flight departed I was getting antsy & decided to take matters into my own hands.With the encouragement of another disgruntled passenger ahead of me (who had to suffer through the line to check baggage), I snuck around to an over-looked kiosk on the fringe of US Airways’ long counter.  I imagined someone in line or an employee would bust me, and I was fully prepared to give them my sob story, but I managed to slide under the radar.
Tickets in hand, the “alternate security checkpoint” (advertised as less busy) offered lit…

Living dangerously

"In History, stagnant waters, whether they be stagnant waters of custom or those of despotism, harbour no life; life is dependent on the ripples created by a few eccentric individuals.  In homage to that life & vitality... One must live dangerously if one wants to live at all."
-- Herbert Read


The first two weeks after I booked my trip to Belize, I spent most evenings laboring over an ever-changing itinerary.I took particular care when I planned Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday's activities, as these were also the days cruise ships scheduled excursions in the country. Unlike Puerto Rico, email was the quickest & easiest way to secure accommodations, but be warned: internet is shoddy in Belize (the general rule seemed to be I would receive a response anywhere from one to three days).
Like Puerto Rico, some tours & businesses were impossible to track down.For example, Carlos Alaya – publicized owner of Carlos Tours – did not have a website, email address nor ph…

Options

I did not find Belize.Belize found me.

In spring 2009, a skydiving friend took a Caribbean cruise for her honeymoon & -- like most adults these days – posted the photos on Facebook.I glazed over most of them, but the caption “cave-tubing in Belize” grabbed my attention.There stood the newlyweds, in calf-deep water, helmets & lifevests on, and a pitch black opening behind them.
I was sold.I wanted to go.
However, at that time, my life in Australia had just commenced so Belize was swiftly forgotten.Fast forward to summer 2012.My mother & I had some extra cash and since 2013 was a celebratory year for her side of the family (my twin cousins would be turning 21; my aunt & uncle, 50 and I, 30) we began to research a cruise.The majority of the tours docked at Caribbean places I had previously visited.Out of the masses, one company included stops on the Honduran island of Roatan, Cozumel [Mexico] & Belize.
Three years after my original interest in Belize, cave-tubing sou…

Thanks

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“Risk more than others think is safe.
  Care more than others think is wise.

  Dream more than others think is practical.   Expect more than others think is possible.” -- Cadet Maxim Although this is not the end of my web log, it is the end of detailing Puerto Rico.Here are my generalizations to help ease the risk involved when navigating Puerto Rico (and, possibly, the world):
Tip #1Intersections are generally well-marked.All other road conditions: not so much.
Tip #2A somewhat winding road on a map is actually a very winding road.
Tip #3Haciendas definitely were not open in March.
Tip #4Everyone was out to scrape some cash – you may very well go broke 50 cents at a time.
Tip #5Most businesses explicitly refer you to someone else whether you asked for advice or not. For example, when I inquired about El Canon de San Cristobal, one company was happy to also arrange lodging for me at a place where they just so happened to know the owner.  This process defeats the purpose of a genuine recommenda…

Alone

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“The man who goes alone can start today, but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.”
-- Henry David Thoreau from Walden

The hours before my return flight to Ohio were winding down & I had an overwhelming feeling of contentment.True, there were many regions of Puerto Rico I did not explore, but – in my opinion – I could sum up the trip in one word: owned.It was a blistering day, I was full of platanos amarillos a.k.a. yellow/ripe plantains, and had nothing left to conquer.I simply wanted to relax by the ocean.

I remembered my previous vacation to Puerto Rico (which doubled as my first time to the country).My ex-boyfriend and a group of his friends were already headed there for the long, Memorial Day weekend.At 9:00 he invited me along; at 12:30 I bought my ticket; at 16:00 my mum drove me to the airport.  We partied at La Placita (a San Juan hot-spot), toured the Bacardi Factory and milled around the region. I had an absolutely wonderful time playing jet-sette…

Desperation

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"Say that I was starved, that I was lost & weary, that I was burned and blinded by the desert sun, footsore, thirsty, sick with strange diseases, lonely and wet & cold, but that I kept my dream!"
-- Everett Ruess

I was in desperate need of a few things.First, a real shower. I last properly bathed on the second day of the trip (after the bioluminescent bay although I jumped into fresh water at El Canon de San Cristobal on day 4).Since that second day I had been sweating profusely & it was now day 6.So, I flocked east to Playa de Cerro Gordo a.k.a. FatHillBeach which boasted “restrooms, showers, fire pits & other beach amenities.”

Second – and far more important – rest.My body was showing signs of deterioration. On my left leg alone, I counted over 60 mosquito bites. Along with the large bruises from crashing the 125cc in Vieques, at least 10 more bruises decorated my shins & knees.The bumps [which led to the backs my legs itching insatiably] had engulfed the …