Monday, June 10, 2013

No risk, no reward.

When I was in Porto, Portugal, I had a lovely dinner next to a table occupied by two German girls, both of whom worked for Bosch.  We chatted a while, as I helped them try to translate "garlic" from German to Portuguese.

I remember them responding to some comment I had made by saying, in unison, "No risk, no reward !" and then giggling.

Alright.  I get it.

I got up ridiculously early, at O-dark-thirty, this morning.  Made in-room coffee, packed, chatted with Shirley (the hotel owner) for a while, and then caught a taxi (lazy, lazy, lazy) to Caye Caulker Water Taxi, my ferry to Belize City.

Once over to Belize City (and having 95% avoided watching the little kid puking on the boat ride), I grabbed a cab for the bus station, where a direct, "non-stop" was heading to Benque del Viejo del Carmen del Something Or Other, pretty much immediately.

Hopped on, and off we went.

Got dropped in San Ignacio, where it was (wait for it) brutally hot, and -- blissfully for my body, but sadly for my eyes -- perceptibly drier.

Marched up to my hotel, who -- apparently -- had double booked the economical rooms, so -- For A Few Dollars More -- put me up in what's basically their new apartment building, but with a common kitchen.  Beautiful tile, delightfully comfortable queen-size bed, nice furniture and case work, and a veranda with a (iffy) view of the town, and another notable (will cryogenically freeze Ted Williams' head) air conditioner.

And cable TV :-)

It was being cleaned, so I dropped my bags, and marched right up (I can't remember the last uphill walk, but ... here it was) to the San Ignacio Iguana Project.  How could you not ?  How cool does that sound ??

It was big fun.  Pics below.  Met up with a couple of Maryland grandparents taking their young grandsons on tour.  The kids were a blast.

After that, I went to the #1 rated local restaurant and (wait for it ... again) mowed down a double bacon cheeseburger.  If meat's going to help my health, I'm going to give it a head start.

Only guy in the place, so the server and cook and I chatted.  They arrange tours, and are quite knowledgeable.

Here's where "No risk, no reward" comes in.

San Ignacio is really an outpost for a bunch of different adventures, and I've signed up for two.

Tomorrow, I'll (not included in the two) walk farther up the hill to Cahal Pech (Mayan ruins), camera in hand, and explore.

Wednesday, I'll do the "meant to be phenomenal, not to be missed" ATM tour with a guide company whose past tour guide may or may not have raped three British female tourists, and whose owner may or may not be a violent psychopath.

On Thursday, I'll do a half day horseback ride, to and around another set of Mayan Ruins, led by a guy who -- to my knowledge -- has never been accused of rape.

The risk is simple: lose my glasses.  It's really as unlikely as a plane crash, but -- in many ways -- as devastating if it happens.  I have "eyeglass retention straps," but I really don't trust them.  No other options, if I want to do any of this stuff.

And I do.

Backing up a bit ....

My last couple days in Caye Caulker were really nice.  I walked about 3hrs each of the last two days, primarily to burn off all I'd been eating, and ... make room for more.  I caught up with ... everybody (Rusty and Lynn, Hilda and Deanna, Ricardo and Natalia, and Steve and Casey), and we hung out the majority of the day.

Eventually, we all went into town, and had a big dinner at Bambooze.  Aside from continuing to battle Swimmer's Ear, Casey learned that her 60-ish year old aunt passed away.  Good luck with both, Casey.

They all got pics, which I'm hoping to get, but I got a picture or three of Steve taking his introductory kite-boarding lesson.  I'll lob those up onto the Gulag, too, in classic NBeener photo-dump fashion.

The Caye Caulker bunch were really great people.  I want to make a big distinction between being lonely (I don't think I have been, much), and remembering how much I enjoy the company of really great people.

If any of you happens across this blog and this post ... Cheers to you all, for helping to make my Caye Caulker time really, really nice.

And .... yeah ... for all the rum punch ;-)

It's down to 37% humidity in my room -- not a good sign.  Will probably have to keep the a/c just barely on, to keep the suffering to an absolute minimum.

But such are the delicate balances that must be struck ... here in the adventure travel outpost of ... The Gulag.

Rude.  I snuck a pick of this Mennonite gentleman, at the bus stop, in San Ignacio.  Prolly' going to hell for it, but ... cool shot :-)

Wasn't an easy pic to take: me ... feeding the little ones.

I know: hotel pics and meal pics are weird, but ... here are some of the former.....

View from the veranda ... where it's just insanely hot !


  1. No extra retention straps, or extra pair of glasses? Anything I can do to help overcome those obstacles?

    1. Thanks, Bill ! I have two pair of retention straps and two pair of glasses, but the retention straps are anything but secure. An errant bump in the water ... in a cave ... would be problematic.

      I'm going to wear my "over-the-glasses" safety goggles. They have a fierce strap. I'll look like an uber-dork (don't say it !), but ... it should work !

  2. Love the picture of the Mennonite. And the nice looking digs you're staying in (why have I pictured you in those shacks?) Hey, how 'bout you get someone to take a picture or two of you?

    1. Saw a few more Mennonites (haven't seen any Wommenonites) in town, but figured they'd eventually gang up on me if I kept bird-dogging them, photographically.

      I've been in a fair number of shacks. This just isn't one of them :-) That's why it merited pics !

      Yeah. I'm handing my camera off to strangers, in Central America (). Should have bought a point and shoot, for convenience, simplicity, and less worry about invoking others to take pics, but ... I loves me my big, bulky camera.

      I have a tripod. I'll eventually get one with me in it. You know me, though: don't like being in pics very much.

      Doesn't me feeding the iguanas count ???

      They surely thought so !

  3. Double bacon cheeseburger? I'm speechless.

    Great pictures, Neil. The iguanas are awesome.

    1. I've long wondered whether any of my health issues could be from being vegetarian. I doubted it, since ... I was a sickly type long before I gave up eating meat, but .... anything's worth a try.

      And -- if you're GOING to abandon vegetarianism -- isn't a double bacon cheeseburger the right way to do it ?

      Yeah. I miss the iguanas. We iguanabonded.