Teotihuacan – Mexico

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We stood atop the Pyramid of the Moon at the far end of the 2.5 kilometer long Avenue of the Dead and gazed down the long wide boulevard at the hundreds of people and the deep gray storm clouds roiling over their heads.

“I mean, people would be moving a little quicker if they thought it was gonna rain right?”
“I don’t know. This is Mexico. I don’t know if people are ever in a hurry.”

We watched families mill about the ruins, posing on the high altars and slowly tromping up the steps of the smaller pyramids as the feathery blue clouds transformed into a thick steel.

“Well we should probably move.”

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One at a time we ambled down the steep steps of the pyramid, stopping to watch grandparents ascend on all fours as little kids bounded down, seemingly unaware that one misstep meant a flight to the bottom. We crossed the big courtyard and went to the Northern exit, 2.5 kilometer from where we had come in to ask about a bus back to the city.

“Nope, gotta go back to the other end to catch the bus to Mexico City.”

We laughed and turned around to a sky looming more ominously overhead. We had already trekked the length of the site for an entire day, climbing over crumbling ruins, up and down countless pyramids, and through the walls of 2000 year old homes. Now we scurried along the wide central boulevard as tired vendors held up jade masks and jaguar whistles. People were still queueing for the towering Pyramid of the Sun as we tramped by the massive base shooting towards the darkened heavens.

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“I think we’re good.”

The most ominous of the clouds seemed to be looming behind us and we only had to pass the expansive citadel before we were back at the parking lot in line for a bus. The wind blew through the dry shrubs and thickets of prickly pears that burst in flowery red blooms from their mittened cactusy hands as we made our way out of the park turning to look back down the slowly ascending stretch of the giant Aztec city.

A bus rolled into the lot and we clambered aboard, taking the few open seats that were spread about next to already slumbering locals. We started off as a movie dubbed in horrible Spanish roared back to life from tinny speakers. I pulled back the curtains to look out over the sprawl encroaching the ancient city as a light rain began to cover the dirty window.

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San Blas – Mexico

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I leaned back against the backpack I wore like a turtle shell and rested my head on the dirty wall of the truck bed, staring up at the canopy of trees that streamed past in a green blur overhead.

“Over there is a mango tree…and those, those are banana trees.”

I could barely hear her over the whipping wind as we flew around broad sweeping turns under a furiously bright sky.  Teresa was being the good samaritan and nodding along as the old woman described every bit of passing flora and fauna.

“And that, hmmm, thats another mango tree.”

She was barely pushing five feet tall and dressed in layers of bright colorful throws and dresses that caught the wind and trailed behind her long dark hair in the breeze.

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Ten minutes earlier we had gotten out of a different pickup as we hitched our way up the coast and saw her standing on a dusty street corner playing a version of that childs game where you flick a ball on a string into a cup.

“Your going to want to wait here, theres nowhere to stop up ahead.” She called out to us as we stood in the middle of the deserted road contemplating how we would hitch our next ride. She flicked the wooden ball and smiled at us, the huge plastic red flower pinned to her purple dress glared as brightly as her blush smothered red cheeks. “Im going to Platanitos. I work there dancing on the beach. My names Maria”

She ignored the wooden toy in her hand for a minute and demonstrated a little cumbia two step before resuming her spot on the corner under a glaring sun.  The waiting game looked hopeless as the empty streets yawned and kicked up dust, soulless during the hottest part of the day.  I leaned back against the peeling paint of a quiet two shelf store and stared down the silent streets as the old woman continued her game.

Slowly a huge dusty pickup bobbled down the dirt road and came to a slow stop in front of us.  An old leathery cowboy leaned across the baby toting woman in the passenger seat and blankly called out to Maria. “Where you going?”

“Platanitos.”

He nodded and slowly resumed his spot behind the enormous wheel.  Maria threw her canvas bag over the wall of the truck bed that towered above her head and began crawling up the step in the back.  We stood there dazed, unsure of our luck until Teresa leaned towards the open window. “We want to go to San Blas.” The woman and her little child in the passenger seat looked at us blankly as the cowboy stared straight ahead and nodded his head. “We can take you to the entrance of town.”

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The three of us lounged in the dusty truck bed as we spun down the road past fields of abundant green.

“There guayaba.” Her small tanned hand pointed off the side of the road behind my head at a tree that disappeared into the distance. “Those are all papaya.” I smiled as she continued explaining something in Spanish that got garbled by the wind.  “How long are you going to San Blas for?”

“Just for the weekend.”

“Well when you come back through town you come to my house for a meal. I can show you all of the food.”

“I dont think were going to have time.”

“Okay then next time.”

“Gracias Maria.”

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Tequila – Mexico

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“So, which came first, the name of the town or the name of the drink?” I asked my new friend Juan Luis in Spanish as I sat shotgun in his impeccably clean Jeep. The dusty roads and muddy tracks that led into the rolling blue fields of agave were the antithesis of his brand new Cherokee and I wondered if he also owned a car wash.
“I don’t understand. The town has always been called Tequila and the drink shares its name because many of the distilleries began here.” He fiddled with the temperature controls and blasted more AC, turning and nodding to me approvingly. I had told him I was living in Colorado before traveling and he was either trying to make me feel more at home or show me that his car could also double as an icebox in a pinch. When he looked away I closed my vent.
“Well, sometimes governments will change the names of places to try to boost tourism.” I couldn’t think of any examples and now I was just beginning to feel stupid for asking the question.
“No, siempre Tequila.”

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I had arrived in the little town as the sun was beginning its descent over the hard scrabbled peaks and the midday heat was still hiding its cowboy residents. I strolled down the main drag, deserted except for a few girls in trinkety storefronts who called out to me in the blazing sun.
“You wanna try?” She was pointing to a lineup of tall clear bottles perched on the upturned end of an old barrel.
“Sureeee.”
“We have these with flavor added or you can try just Tequila. Or you can try them all.” She picked up a shot glass from a counter behind the register and led me to a row of twenty or so bottles of varying stages of emptiness. Either this towns really hurting for business or she’s bored or maybe the tequila really does flow like water. I tipped back a shot of the bottle she recommended and thanked her as she expressionlessly resumed her spot under the shady canopy.
Back on the street the sun resumed treating my head like a punching bag and I strolled halfheartedly until I saw the hostel sign I was looking for.
“Pretty quiet.”
“Yeah you are the only guest aside from six construction guys who are living here temporarily.”
“How far is it to walk out to the agave fields like those ones?” I pointed to the impressive pictures of big blue agaves amidst burning red sunsets that had been printed on canvas hanging on the yellow wall behind the desk.
“I’m going there right now, I’ll take you.” The young Mexican guy leaning against the stairs called over to me.
“How much?”
“No. Free my friend. We just have to go to the store and buy a bottle of tequila.” I was wary of anything free especially when it was coming from the mouth of a slick looking young guy who looked like he always had business on his mind. “My names Juan Luis.”

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We bounced up into the hills past farmers on horseback, their dark faces peering out from underneath cowboy hats pulled low while ripples of heavy clouds began to move over the reddening sky.
“Perfect day to take pictures, especially for this client because they want to have a darker image for their ads. Usually everyday is just sun, all day sun, everyday.”
“Ohhh they’re your client?” I turned the fancy bottle of clear tequila over in my hands.
“Yeah. I am a photographer. All of the tequila companies contract me if they want pictures with the agave plants or the fields or town. This one they are a bunch of guys in LA starting a new tequila company. Popular these days but all the tequila is made in the same distilleries anyways. See this number?” He reached across and pointed to a number near the bottom of the label. “That tells you what distillery made the tequila. Cuervo and Sauza make tequila for most of these small American companies that try to be fancy and sell for crazy prices. They tell me this bottle is eighty dollars in the states.” He tossed the bottle in his hands and smirked.
We pulled to the side of a muddy track and parked the Jeep in front of a huge gate. Skirting the entrance I followed Juan Luis over a shorter fence of piled stones and dropped down into the fields of blue agave.
“This is no good. Usually the fields are trimmed and it’s only the agave.”
We looked out over the field of spiky blue plants that was choked with weeds and tall grasses down every row.
“Oh well.” Juan Luis shrugged and I followed him along a gravel trail until we came to a sprawling overlook with rolling hills in every direction. As he fiddled with his tripod and little tequila display I wandered into the blue hills, the fields clotted with blowing pink grasses and the pointy chutes of plants that would one day be incinerated and fermented into the potent liquid.
On the way back down into town Juan Luis told me his life story. He had gone to film school in Guadalajara and then traveled and lived in Spain and Andorra for several years after school. Eventually he returned home to the sleepy town of tequila and started his own media company. “I do photos for companies, weddings, portraits, commercials, whatever. I also have made two movies and I’m working on a feature length one. Its cheesy horror stuff with a Mexican flavor, I love Hitchcock. I also own and manage the hostel and I own my own real estate business.” He was also married and had a young son. I asked him how old he was. “Just turned 28.”

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We slid back into the cobblestone streets of Tequila under the cover of a rare cloudy night sky that hung like wet cement over our heads. The taco stands were starting to be wheeled out to the central plaza where a small stone church stood watch over the hushed town.
“Have you been to la Capilla yet?”
“No, what’s that?”
“Its a bar in town. People come from all over the world just to go to this bar. Some website ranked it in the top twenty for best bars in the world.” We pulled over at a little corner and parked. “There it is.” He pointed to a pair of wooden blue doors in an otherwise nondescript white wall where a few people were milling about. There were no signs or names outside, just an ad for a random tequila company spray painted across the grimy white stone. We walked in and sat down at the only table, a cheap wooden affair covered with a smattering of newspapers and wet napkins ringed from drinks already downed. Juan Luis ordered two drinks as I looked around the room. The walls were lined with faded pictures of anonymous men and dull landscapes wrapped in shabby wood frames that teetered at various angles. Exposed bulbs dangled from overhead and gave the tiny room a harsh blue glow. Above the door for the bathroom, a small shelf was overflowing with medals and enormous soccer trophies perched on the edge of collapse. Juan Luis walked back over to the table.
“You have to meet Don Javier. He is the reason this bar is what it is.”
I followed him across the room to where an old man was perched with a smile atop an unraveling wicker chair looking like a man waiting to tell my fortune. I extended my hand and he wrapped it up loosely.
“Mucho gusto.”
He responded in a rush of whispered words that I could barely hear and even less understand. I smiled and nodded and he laughed. Probably the millionth gringo who has stood in front of him and beamed in non-coherence. Juan Luis picked up the conversation with Don Javier as I studied the newspaper articles over his head. Stories in various languages with the Don in exactly the same chair he was in now wearing the same white button down. A life filled with the endless repetition of drinks and stories. After a minute we ambled back over to the table with our Batangas, the drink that Don Javier created himself in the 50’s, a stern heaping of tequila with coke and a big slice of lime and salt. A recipe simple enough, but made magical by the knife that Don Javier has used to slice limes and stir Batangas for years.
“You know, he has been working at this bar everyday since he was fourteen years old. Last week they just had a huge 90th birthday party for him. Can you imagine.”
Juan Luis shook his head and kicked back his Batanga.
“You hungry yet? I’m going to get you the best tacos and tostadas in town. But first you probably want a shot of the best tequila we have, right? When in Tequila.”

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Chichen Itza – Mexico

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I was warned about showing up late, “even by ten its gonna start looking like Disney World”, so I dragged my lazy bones out of bed at seven to catch the first bus to the site. Inevitably, the parking lot was already piled with tour buses by the time I got there, day trippers who had walked zombie like from cruise ship to bus at four in the morning for the three hour trip from Cancun to the site were now adjusting their monogrammed sun visors and nifty fanny packs as they followed their umbrella toting guides like lemmings around the site. I pulled up my shorts and tucked in my shirt as I joined one of the half dead processions ambling out from under the shade. As we walked, hundreds of vendors were wheeling carts seemingly out of the jungle, appearing through thick green walls with identical stacks of carved obsidian jaguars and trinkety painted skulls. If this many people could make a living from souvenir sales than the Disney World prediction couldn’t be far off. We strolled out into the huge field and got a first glimpse of the towering El Castillo temple that sat front and center in the massive complex. It wasn’t even nine yet and already sweat was pooling on my chest and carrying the sunglasses from my dripping bridge. All of a sudden our group stopped and the immaculately fluent Mexican guide turned and looked at me, I figured I was outed and I’d have to take the walk of shame away from my new sun block smattering family.

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Instead, he leaned across and placed his hand on my shoulder, “Imagine your a Mayan farmer and you’ve been traveling for days from your tiny plot deep in the jungle to arrive in Chichen Itza on the spring equinox.” This speech felt awfully familiar. “Now you’ve never seen an opening in the jungle this big in your life with so many people crowded in together. A quiet life in the jungle is all you know but now there are thousands of people all quietly chanting. Kukulkan, Kukulkan, Kukulkan. The sun is about to set and suddenly a sharp burst of light hits the side of the temple. The light hits the huge steps just right so that the shadow creates the serpents body on the side of the staircase. This marvelous event can only happen two times a year on the equinoxes. Now everyone is chanting louder, Kukulkan, Kukulkan, and looking towards the top of the pyramid. The sky is glowing red with the fiery sunset and just then the King emerges wearing a massive headdress of Quetzal feathers. He raises his hands over his head like this and delivers a massive clap.”

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The guide raises his hands in the air like a Mayan King and motions for us to follow. Clap, clap, clap. The group of thirty or so claps in unison and the sound that reverberates off of the staircase in front so us is like nothing I’ve ever heard before. It sounds like a muffled bark or some squaking animal. “Now thousands of people are clapping louder and louder and the King is raising his head to the heavens. The sound of the clapping is identical to the call of the quetzal bird, the God of the sky world, and we have the illuminated serpent who is the God of the underworld. And finally there is the God of this world, the King, who steps forward and brings all three worlds together with a bloodletting from the top of the temple.”
The guide stops talking and stares up at the temple, imagining the otherworldly scene or most likely just trying to get a break from the relentless heat. Eventually the group meanders away and I’m left in front of the temple stairs, clapping to myself in awe and listening to the Quetzal call back to me.

Check out the birdy sound.

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Valladolid – Mexico

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I sat on the top bunk and watched the huge blades twist over my head, their gentle whooshing punctuated by claps of thunder from the darkness beyond the little white walled room. I was tired of reading and didn’t want to walk around in the rain so I let myself drift off in the empty space. When I came to everything was still and the steady dripping from the eaves ushered in a crisp night. I awkwardly climbed down from the ladderless height using a wobbly dresser cluttered with another guests things then crossed the room and peered into the little niches where the twelve beds were arranged. In a corner I must not have noticed before a little guitar was hung from the wall, its strings rusty and short a high E but when I brought it down it still sung out in perfect tune. I took it over to one of the lower bunks and with my eyes closed lazily strummed a few tunes, passing time in the quiet night. I got absorbed in the steady rhythms as the rust clung to my sweaty fingers and the sounds reverberated in the little wooden body held to my chest. I slowed the picking down and was startled by a little clapping from the doorway.
“Nice kid, bring that outside. We’re singing some songs and having some drinks.”
His paunch tugged at his loose pastel shirt and his gray hair hung over a dark face hardened by years of sun. He disappeared out into the garden and I followed as he weaved through the dense palms and hammocked paths. I sat down at a thick wooden table across from him and a dreadlocked girl who was strumming and singing quietly in her German accented English.
“I can’t sing in English it’s too embarrassing.”
“What are you talking about, you sound beautiful. But sing in German if you like.” He accepted the guitar being passed back to him with one hand while pouring a tall glass of rum with the other. “Alright kid play us something.”

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I fiddled around with some chords while they took sips from their sweaty drinks.
“There you go keep doing that. If you ain’t gonna sing I ain’t afraid to.”
He beat a steady rhythm with the palm of his hand as he crooned into the clear night sky.
She walked up out the room, and beat on down the road. The car came to a stop and out he hopped, unlucky girl cause her gun wuddnt load.
He howled in his raspy voice and a few more backpackers appeared out of the jungly yard to take a seat at the table. He sounded like a mix between Jonny Cash and a chain smoking convict with a head full of smiles. When the song was over the German girl looked over at him astonished.
“That was amazing but that was some dark shit Walker. How does that get in your head?”
He leaned back in his chair and laughed. The bottle of rum on the table was draining fast and his cheeks were flushing under the strain of hard liquor on a Mexican summer night.
“I taught in a penitentiary for years and I had some hard guys come through my classes. Lot of stuff gets in your head when you hear guys telling gruesome stories without a hint of remorse in their voice. Had one guy killed an entire family when he broke into a house figuring no one was home. Talked about it like he was discussing the weather. Finally after a year got up the courage to ask him if he regretted what he did, if he felt sorry for takin so many lives. He looked me dead in the eyes and said not a day in his life has he felt bad about it. There’s some sick puppies out there, guys that aint human. Had to quit that job, wears on ya like nothing else. Now I write crime novels six months of the year and travel the world playing songs the other six months. Still got those guys in my head though and it comes out in song.”
“Wow, okay. Walker that’s insane.” The German girl was staring across the table slack-jawed.
“Sure is. You ready for another one, your gonna sing this time and I’m gonna back you up. Belt it out girl.”

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His names Walker Newton. Check out his books.

Tulum – Mexico

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“I’m telling you, you should go early, like when it’s still dark out kind of early. Then you get the sunrise and the place all to yourself.” The Irish girl was emphasizing the point with flailing arms as she stuffed the last bite of taco in her mouth, her pale skin an uncomfortable looking palette of reds under the naked bulb of the taco cart.
“What time does it open?”

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I had planned on taking it easy, getting up when I got up and leisurely making my way to the Mayan ruins with their powder blue beachfront views, not drowsily sneaking around world heritage sites in the dark. But supposedly a full parking lot of tour buses with their fancy earpieces, synchronized tshirts, and sweaty dumb faces would most likely be accompanying the site by then.

“That’s the best part, it’s still closed so its free too, you just gotta hop a few old stone walls and your in.” She was looking at us with an exaggerated smile like she couldn’t wait to hear our story about running from the Mexican police through crumbly ruins then swan diving from jagged cliffs into the clear blue seas on our escape.
“When did you go?”
“Oh I haven’t gone yet love.”

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Placencia – Belize

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I woke up with a start and stared out the slats of the wooden window next to my bed. The fierce light from an overhead sun was trying to fight its way thru the chipping paint on the old yellow boards and I couldn’t place why the morning felt so strange. The fan next to my bed was rotating painfully, like an old man trying to boogie, and just barely keeping the heat from swallowing the room whole. The other bed was empty, the sheets still a tangle from the Dutch guy I had shared a room with. His five am escape to catch the once daily bus out of town had been silent and now I was coming to at eleven am in a quiet room. Too quiet. It took me a few minutes to place it but then I realized I hadn’t slept in a room by myself in over three months. I was so used to people rustling through bags, talking, and slamming doors all night long that the tranquility I woke up to tripped some switch in my brain and told me to be on the lookout, something is not as it should be.

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I took a shower in my own private bathroom and got ready in front of my own mirror and sang loudly to my tinny iPhone speakers in my own kitchen then I went and laid in the hammock stretched across my own private little patio. A group from the boat that I had just spent the last few days on walked by and invited me out to lunch. I held up the box of barbecued chicken from my hammocked lap in a silent nodded response. Two hours later they walked back in the other direction and just laughed. The little guesthouse was mostly empty and as I swung I listened to the waves lapping the beach and drifted off. Minutes or hours later, can’t be sure since the keeping of time by any means other than the suns position is outlawed in Belize, I was awakened by a gentle shouting. The girl from the little office was hanging her body out the door and calling over to my porch as Bob Marleys gentle warbling floated out from behind her. In my headphoned and dreamy state I thought she was telling me to do less and I thought, No, not possible. I pulled the little buds from my ears and leaned out of the cloth cocoon.
“If you wanna stay another night can you pay now. I’m closing da office.”
I had been planning on maneuvering my way out of the little beach town that night and moving further up the coast but this kind of calm was tough to find.
“Alright let me get my money.”

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The Ragga Queen

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The water was smooth as glass and from a mile away we could see fish breaking the surface as they played life or death games of cat and mouse. We were well into the third day of the trip, the sun already at its domineering apex, making every inch of shade on the boat a precious commodity. Bodies were huddled together in the tiny cabin, their backs an autumnal display of vivacious reds and peeling skin as the speakers made another pass of an old Marley record. The wind was dead so our sailboat motored South, tracing a path between the second largest reef in the world to our East and the string of offshore islands to our West. Every now and then we slid past another tiny uninhabited isle and the shallow white sands sparkled under the high sun. Sitting on the starboard rails I dangled my feet over the azure waters and let my mind slip away. Out of nowhere the boat made an abrupt 180 and killed the engine. The captain yelled to his two mates in frantic Creole before all three threw themselves off the other side of the boat into the sea, leaving the unmanned vessel lolling aimlessly. Everyone scrambled to see what was happening and called down to the crew but they were in the silent world beneath the surface, their spear guns glinting in the light. I clambered to the roof of the cabin and squinted into the water just in time to see Shane from the crew dragging an enormous monster to the surface by the three spears dug into its flesh.
“Issa biggun, gimme a hand wit dis man”, he was breathing heavy as a group of four guys helped him hoist the leviathan out of the water and onto the deck.
“We keepin dis guy. Ragamuffin crew gonna hab a partay.”

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I was feeling a bit melancholic, I had come to Caye Caulker looking for a relaxing island paradise only to find an island wide party that had the music turned up past ten so that it drifted into every nook and cranny making it impossible to ever relax. It didn’t help that every day was cloudy, that the island was overrun with people, and that there were no real beaches, just the sandy spit at the tip of the island that was dominated by another music blasting bar. The friends I had found had just left so I wandered the sandy lane alone watching the sky shift thru a kaleidoscope of orange wondering what my next plan of attack would be. Just then, like a sign from the gods, a huge sign stood in my path, ‘Three day sail! Tuesday morning at 7! Only a few spots left!’. I had heard about the sailing trip from other travelers I passed, every one of them saying its a must if I had the time and money. I wandered inside the little Ragamuffin shack and asked about space.
“We’ve got eighteen people on the list so far but we’ve always got space for one more. Be back here at six in the morning to load, that gives you about nine hours to get yourself ready.”

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We set sail under cloudless skies, the tall white sail filling with the warm winds of the inner passage. Everyone crowded for space on the top deck, slathering sunscreen on their white skin and unfolding their limbs to get the most of the tropical sun. I stood under the shade of the massive sail and watched another traveler reel in barracuda after barracuda from the lines trailing in our wake, their menacing teeth gnarled in a confused rage. We puttered
down the coast stopping every so often at some far flung reef or deserted isle where we filed into the sea like drunken penguins to flap about in the clear waters and play follow the leader through the massive coral gardens. At one point the captain hit the brakes and rushed everyone into the water, “Manatee, go, go, go”. Everyone fumbled over each other on the deck as they fought to come out of the trance induced by the gently rolling waves and infinite sun. I threw on my flippers and leaped off the cabin roof with mask in hand, almost landing on someone swimming out from under the boat. In the water the manatee flapped about, impervious to our arrival. She was fluffing the sea grass at the bottom with her big round tennis racket hands and in the quiet of the watery world I could hear her munching heartily on her afternoon snack. The true cow of the sea. Everyone slowly tired of watching her graze and swam back to the boat where the ongoing flipping and diving contest proceeded off the top deck, only ending on the third day when one guy took home gold with a rum assisted running leap into ten foot belly flop onto sunburned belly. As the sun began its horizontal approach we motored into a tiny uninhabited island with a smattering of crooked palm trees.

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“Okay tonight you have Rendezvous Caye to yourselves. You can pitch your tent anywhere on the island then swim around or lay on the beach while we prepare your dinner. Please don’t forget you have already paid for all the rum with the cost of your trip and whatever you guys don’t finish we happily will.”
The tents and sleeping bags were piled on the weathered dock next to two enormous water coolers full of rum punch and everyone’s tents slowly went up in disastrous drunken fashion. As the sun descended into an orange orb I waded into the sea amongst walls of conch shells and five foot rays, kicking through the maze of shallow reefs as I circumnavigated the island. Back at the makeshift dinner table the barracudas and lobsters we had caught over the course of the day were brought out in a mango curry sauce and presented with oohs and ahhs. Everyone’s faces glowed red from the relentless sun and rum punch and in short fashion tired bodies disappeared into the dark of the island.

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The next two days were more of the same, swimming, snorkeling, sunning, and snoozing. The thought of buying a boat to sail around the world started to sound pretty good. We passed more manatees and giant rays and even hooked a six foot snake that was passing between two islands. The captain pulled him out of the water and when we threw him back in he chased after the boat like he had beef to settle. On the second day the rum punch was unleashed on us even earlier and by lunch time we were let loose into the sea with cups in one hand and spear guns in the other. Miraculously, the only things impaled were barracudas, lobsters, and a heaping pile of lion fish whom the crew pursued relentlessly thanks to their invasive status and tendency to murder the indigenous fish. Poisonous, their bodies were left in a heap on the ocean floor as a warning to other lion fishes that might pass by. Back on the boat we devoured ceviche and stared off at the empty horizon, our frames filled entirely in shimmering blues. The crew was singing along to every reggae track and flipping over our heads from the top deck. In a lull between tracks a girl called out to the dread headed first mate in the water, “I don’t think anyone would mind if we just kept sailing right on down to Columbia.”

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BW NZ II

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Just the rocks and the trees in my lonesome dreams
And a road that don’t never end – Lord Huron

A Little Story I Stole

The businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The businessman complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied only a little while.

The businessman then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The businessman then asked, but what do you do with the rest of your time? The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos; I have a full and busy life, señor.”

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The businessman scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and I could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats; eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the processor and eventually open your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City where you would run your expanding enterprise.”

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The Mexican fisherman asked, “But señor, how long will this all take?” To which the businessman replied, “15-20 years.” “But what then, señor?” The businessman laughed and said, “That’s the best part! When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.” “Millions, señor? Then what?” The businessman said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

– Author Unknown

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