The past is a place of reference, not a place of residence. ~Roy T. Bennett
With the sale of the family Summer Estate in Central Wisconsin in March of 2018, the second to last vestige of my childhood goes the way of the final Dodo bird clubbed over the head by a sailor for food. Death. Extinction. The last vestige is my childhood home, a red brick bungalow still housing my Mother. It is the saving grace connecting me to my personal history. A place I can visit and feel connected to a youth characterized by reckless stupidity, a youth experiencing more joy than any one person deserves.
This travel blog will be different than most I have written. It is an amalgamation of experiences occurring in chunks as small as one day up through a maximum of two weeks occurring over 45 years compressed into a single offering. It is the story of yesteryear, a memory filled yesteryear with my last memory painted a few yesterdays ago. I am trekking deep down memory lane living mostly in the time before mobile phone, the land before internet, the world before nearly every human was connected by six degrees of separation.
This blog is longer than most and possibly too long to keep the average person’s attention. I am ok with that. I wrote it for myself as both a celebration of 45 years and a cathartic experience to release my pain into the collective consciousness so to begin the healing process.
I close my eyes, only for a moment, and the moment’s gone
All my dreams pass before my eyes, a curiosity
Dust in the wind
All they are is dust in the wind…
Street Food Fit for a Queen or Two US Travelers
Mussels & Clams
At the San Pedro port, there is a Hispanic Mujer, a street vendor who makes out of this world chicken or pork with a healthy serving of arroz y frijoles. Her English is not great so she has bilingual helpers to ease transactions. She sets up her stand beneath a blue, Tyvek tarp. We stumbled upon her by accident (is there really such a thing as accidents or is the universe conspiring to give us what we need?) upon arrival last Thursday. We purchased three meals, two chicken one pork, with mine liberally doused in a locally sourced, habañero based hot sauce.
The first thing we did when arriving at our Inn was to devour the meals. Deliciso! Maravilloso! Our tasted buds danced a Pasa Doble and a Cha Cha. It was a memory, a slowly fading memory we savored for three whole days. It was a taste photograph we were determined to reimage when we arrived back at San Pedro from Caye Caulker. Our stomachs grumbled, our mouths salivated the entire thirty-minute ferry ride. Continue reading
We took the water taxi from the dock at the end of the next door pier to the ferry in San Pedro then ferried to Caye Caulker. We are not a big fan of the ferry system mainly because we are always be stuck in the lower section which does not provide a vantage point where the shades of turquoise are easily studied, where the wind can rub its fingers through my ever whiter hair. Most seats are in the belly of the beast where there are few windows. And because we are shoehorned sardines, there is little space to maneuver for a better view. It feels claustrophobic.
Our return ride, our final ferry ride, was infinitely better. We were able to wrangle two seats on the top and watch the green shores of Caye Caulker fade into oblivion and the palm-lined shores of Ambergris Caye appear magically on the Northern horizon. See the horizon stretch from yesterday into tomorrow, into the soul of a lone rainbow hanging onto Earth’s edge in the East and a gray wall of never experienced rain in the distant West.
Fox the fox
Rat on the rat
You can ape the ape
I know about that
There is one thing you must be sure of
I can’t take any more
Darling, don’t you monkey with the monkey
Monkey, monkey, monkey…
I monkied with Monkey today. I took him snorkeling hoping his fear of water would end up with either Monkey drowned or on life support. Not a good swimmer, he curled up inside my head and looked at the sea from his hidey hole. I was tempted to grab an eel and stick it in my ear to ferret him out but the eels were too big. I tried to terrify him by swimming with sharks. Tried to appease his insatiable appetite for new things by showing him rays and sea turtles and swarms of fish swimming within in fingertip reach, fish playing in a coral haven, more heaven than haven. We swam in the midst of fish with large black eyes, eyes that held light with the ferocity of a black hole that, if stared at for too long, would have pulled my soul into its depths leaving me as much of a shell as the massive lobster we feasted upon for dinner at Ajit Bistro. Continue reading
A gentle breeze again greets me as I walk from our inn, barefoot across the white sands still wet from the predawn shower, and take my customary morning seat at the edge of the cushionless wooden lounge chairs. A solid wall of low clouds lines the horizon extending high into the sky, and overhead. There will be no visual color this morning. But, there is an abundance of auditory color. So, I lay back and close my eyes. It takes a couple of minutes to adjust to the auricular world.
The strong ocean breath colliding with the palm leaves sings a song indistinguishable from heavy raindrops dancing on Earth. I am reminded of my time in Joshua Tree on a hot August weekend, a dry heat couple of days. The gentle breeze would dance with the silvery leaves of a giant Cottonwood and the absolute silences in the desert were replaced with the sing-song of a babbling brook. A mirage. Were I not resting in the shade of Cottonwood, I would surely have set out to search for the rivulet. Continue reading
Heron Full Length
The first question of Belize Vacation is, “How long will it take my monkey brain, aka Monkey, that generally passes days slam dancing to Punk Rock inside my head”, he is partial to the Dead Kennedys especially ‘Holiday in Cambodia’, “to chillax into Island rhythms predicated on the ebb and flow of the surf during a lazy afternoon while birds are floating effortlessly in a lightly clouded sky?” The second question is, “Is it even possible?”
Our time (me, my wife, and Monkey) in Belize was an experiment in personal travel aesthetics. Our typical travel modus operandi is to bunny hop from place to place grazing on the countries unique offerings, sniffing at the elegant flowers without taking the time to learn the secrets of the leaves, stem, or root system. It has the benefit of allowing us to see many amazing attractions with the drawback of not knowing any of them deeply. We make acquaintances, not friends of countries. Our previous holiday in India, we averaged 1.38 nights per city.
Travel, for me, is a soul-edifying activity. Every place I visit alters my spiritual DNA by which I assimilate the world. I want to understand the essence of the alteration so I engage in writing meditation, time-intensive writing meditation allowing me to study my alterations through many facets of a diamond. Bunny hopping can be frustrating when I am unable to carve out the time necessary to properly reflect and tease out the fingerprint the adventures imprinted on my soul. I do reflect. I always reflect. The challenge is the time horizon and the exponential decay of experiential memory.
A painter once told me that I’m like the Khajuraho, which you see once but which remains with you forever. I thought that was exquisite. ~Vidya Balan
No Time To Center
I planned time for soul reflection in India, the country I consider my second home. I figured a large block of meditative time at Bodh Gaya sitting in the cooling shadow of THE Bodhi Tree deep in the aura of praying Buddhist monks and nuns. But Air India shit on that plan. Varanasi, the holiest city on the holiest river in India, promised to be a place of profound reflection. The city was an onslaught of sensory stimuli from every direction, a whirlpool of insanity in which I barely kept emotionally afloat induced an agitation in my spirit I preferred to ride than to soothe.
The result of not having reflective time, I was riding an emotional bicycle precariously hovering between balance and crashing. In the real world, aka home, I write at least 1/2 an hour every weekday to maintain cognitive equilibrium. Since our visit to the Golden Temple, where I was able to sit for a spell and experience Sikh spiritual energy, I found myself unable to float in the river of universal consciousness flowing through India, my second home, let alone find a tranquil oasis to refresh my soul. Continue reading