A mixture of dissimilar ingredients
Hodgepodge #6 Dec. 21, 2004
by: Annie C.
After leaving Texas we headed for Alaska via
Arizona. We stopped in at D&R (see Good Guys) to get another set of solar
panels and two more batteries. Ron had to make a new bin for us to
accommodate the batteries. He did a fantastic job. The color and style
are perfect. He also installed an additional water tank. Perfection as
usual! Not only did Ron work on our rig and do a good job, but he also
worked on other customer's rigs, answered numerous phone calls AND still
managed to hand feed an undersized kitten.
After leaving Ron's we headed for Las Vegas.
While we were in Mexico we met a couple from Canada, (Hans & Therese) who
taught Frank and I how to play poker. The guys would go snorkeling in the
early part of the day while Teresa usually painted if she didn't go
snorkeling and I would work on a quilt or read. Sometimes I would get brave
enough and go into the water waist deep. At 4:00 p.m. sharp, Hans would give
Frank & I our poker lesson. We had maybe 5 or 6 lessons under our belt by
the time we left them. I loved the game so much that I bought a book on
how to play Texas Hold'em. I made Frank practice with me and just about
drove him nuts. S-O-O-O-O when we got to Las Vegas I spent hours watching
people play. It took me days to get enough courage to play and I probably
never would have played if it hadn't been for a woman named Beverly.
Beverly's husband managed to get a seat at a table but Beverly had to wait
for another table to open up. While she waited for a table, we started
talking. She asked me if I was going to play and I said NO, that I just
started learning and I didn't really know what I was doing. She said that
that was all right, she had played only a few times, didn't know what she
was doing either but everyone is very nice and they are willing to help
you. Like telling you when it's your turn to bet, if you are going to. I
still wasn't convinced. I believed everyone was very nice but I was sure
everyone knew far more than I did. About this time a table came open and
Beverly had to go, leaving me wishing that I had the nerve to play also. A
couple of minutes later one of the dealers came over to me and said there
was a seat open right next to my friend, did I want to join her? Someone, I
don't know who, opened my mouth, used my vocal cords and said, "I'd love
to!!!" I got my chips, got my seat and had a wonderful time. Beverly
wasn't kidding. Everyone was very nice and she really didn't know how to
play very well. At one point she leaned over to the guy next to her, showed
him her cards and asked if she should play these. That may have been okay
except he was also playing for the same pot!!! After playing for a couple
of hours I was very tired so I called it quits. I wish that I could tell
you that when I cashed in I was up a couple of hundred dollars but alas I
was up only 75 cents, which I gave to a beggar just outside the casino.
Thanks Hans for teaching me how to play poker.
From Vegas we went to California to visit
Kathleen & Russ. They are a lovely couple that is buying an Xplorer
Motorhome. They are also having their rig made according to their needs.
They are planning to travel to Central and South America. Kathleen will be
building a website and when it's ready I will let everyone know the
address. We spent a really nice day with them. They looked at our
motorhome from stem to stern, had a hundred questions and then took us for a
walk along the beach and then out for a fantastic dinner. Thanks Russ &
Kathleen, hopefully the next time we see you it will be on the road!!!
We then went to Crater Lake in Oregon. Very
beautiful, and a must see. There was still a lot of snow (end of May) so
there was a section of road that was closed to us but we still got to see a
lot and had a good time. The gift shop was covered in snow, so I climbed to
the top of the roof and slide down the side on my butt. It was good fun
even though I ended up with a wet butt! That's the nice thing about
traveling in a motorhome; I had clean dry clothes to change into.
On to Washington State, British Columbia, (my
favorite province), Yukon, the Artic Circle in the Northwest Territories
where we met our favorite couple from England. We first met Mike and
Liz in Mexico. They were on their way to Central and South America.
We have been in touch with The Gray Nomads for the last two years. They have been a wealth of
information, and a tremendous help with our adventures. Anyway, we had been
trying to get together every since they came back from South America. We
finally, of all places, were able to connect in Inuvik, NWT. We spent about
a week in Inuvik and then we traveled down to Dawson City together where we
had to say good-bye. They were headed to Calgary for the Stampede and we
were headed for Alaska.
Hodgepodge #5 May. 18, 2004
by: Annie C.
What can you
expect to find here? Almost anything, from photography, to what itís like
to travel around the world in an RV, to recipes of foods that we have tried
along the way, great campgrounds, interesting people we have met, how to,
etc., etc.,. Whatever strikes my fancy and hopefully yours. So here goes!
Last time I
said we planned on getting a stronger lens for our digital camera. Well, we
looked into how much a 600mm lens would cost. At $6,000.00 we wonít be
buying one! We are now considering a lens multiplier. We can attach the 2Xís
multiplier to our 300mm lens and it will allow us to take pictures equal to
the 600mm lens but the quality wonít be as good. Thatís all right with us,
as we are not planning on selling our pictures to publications.
Mexico, is near the town of
Bahia de Huctulco. This whole area has become a resort spot. Cruise
ships pull into Huctulco on a regular basis and there are all-inclusive
hotels along the beaches. The Churchís book, ďMexican Camping,Ē gives
directions where to camp for the night in Huctulco. We have been here before
and it was not one of our favorite places. It was very pretty there but we
had to park on the street with the buses. It was on black top, noisy and
very hot, but it was free and it was the nearest place for us to spend the
night after a long downhill drive through the mountains from
arrived in Huctulco, it was after
We went for a short walk, and had dinner at one of the restaurants along the
beach. After dinner we decided to move The Rig to a different spot, as there
was a very unpleasant odor where we were parked. We drove around the corner
and ran into some people we had met in
We told them our problem and asked them where they were parked. Thatís when
we found out about Tangolunda, about 4 miles away. They were staying in an
ecologically protected area with parking spaces and a campground. There was
water, a dump, but no electricity to the sites but there were electric
lights that we could turn on at night as long as we turned the lights off
when we all went to bed. We were allowed to wash our laundry by hand and
hang it out on lines, but only if we hung the lines next to the fence. We
were also allowed to hang out our hammocks under the palm trees. This was
much better than parking on the street! It still wasnít wonderful but it
definitely was better. In the morning we were told about a path that goes
through the reserve to the beach. This sounded great to us so we decided to
have a look before we left for Puerto Escondido. We couldnít believe our
eyes. Not only was there a pretty beach but also there were several lovely
all-inclusive hotels. The weather was beautiful and the water inviting, so
we decided to spend the day. One day lead to another and before we knew it
we had spent 16 days in Tangolunda!
many places to explore in the area, nice drives and a great place to go
snorkeling with brilliantly colored fish and schools so large that you could
follow their movement from the lookout point above.
While we were
in Tangolunda, Trudy started, once again, to have problems with her front
leg. We decided to take her to a veterinarian that a fellow camper
recommended. This veterinarian said we needed to take her to Puerto
Escondido to have her x-rayed, which we did. The veterinarian there took an
x-ray and felt that an insect had bitten Trudy and the bone had now become
infected. He put her on antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs. We stayed
in Puerto Escondido for a couple of days to make sure all was well with her
before moving on.
Mexico, is approximately, 25 miles north of Melaque and 125 miles south of
Puerto Vallarta. We met some people on the road who told us about Tenacatita
and they said, so far Tenacatita was their favorite place. We decided to
give it a try and we were not the least bit disappointed. It has also become
one of our favorite places. This is a boon-docking spot right on the beach.
Actually, it is a spit of land between two beaches. There is rough water on
one side, (not a good idea to swim here) on the other side it is perfect for
swimming and snorkeling and there is a reef that almost comes all the way in
to shore. The water on this side is so clear that just wadding out to waist
deep I got to see some really pretty fish. It cost us about $2.50 per day
and that was voluntary. The money went to a local man who took our garbage
away and kept people from walking on the reef.
spending the day sunbathing, swimming and snorkeling we would cross over to
the other beach to watch the sun go down, cross back again and watch the
moon come up! Itís a tough life but someone has to do it!
much in town, just a few seafood restaurants and a few shops where we could
buy some very sad looking vegetables. However, about 5 miles away is a very
nice small town, where we could get supplies and we were able to use the
internet in an American ladyís home. She and her husband, a Mexican, bought
land in this small town with the intentions of spending the rest of their
lives there. Things didnít work out for them. He is back in the States
trying to become an American citizen and she is in Mexico trying to become a
Mexico, is a small fishing village located approximately 80 miles south of
Mazatlan. It is, perhaps, my very favorite spot in Mexico. We have stayed at
one of several campgrounds along its coast in the past. The one we stayed at
this time is new and it is called Villas Onac. Villas Onac has cottages to
rent, (starting at $400.00 a month!) a campground ($6.00 a night!) with full
hook-ups and a huge swimming pool. For me, the price, full hook-ups AND a
swimming pool is enough to get me to stay. Throw in perhaps the best baker
in all of Mexico, miles and miles of beautiful beach, near perfect weather,
fresh fish and shrimp, friendly people, (not necessarily in that order) and
I had all the ingredients needed for murder when Frank said it was time to
visiting a few other places we arrived back into the States on March 31st.
We went straight to San Antonio where Trudyís veterinarian is located. The
news wasnít good. After looking at the x-rays from Puerto Escondido he told
us that Trudy had a very aggressive form of bone cancer and that we had only
a very short time left to spend with her.
We took Trudy to an
Escapees campground in Hondo, Texas where we spoiled her every chance we
got. We had only 11 days with her and then we had to say good-bye. She had
been our friend, protector and companion for over 13 years. She is sorely
Hodgepodge #4 Feb. 26, 2004
by: Annie C.
We get many e-mails asking us advise on
purchasing a motorhome, what has worked for us, what we would do
differently, what do we think is an ideal height, what about length, etc..
I wish we could say one size fits all, but
unfortunately or fortunately, that is not the case. I also wish that
we could tell you there is a perfect vehicle out there but we don't think
there is because like everything else in life, compromises have to be made.
For us, we think we have come close with our rig but there are still changes
and additions we want to make to her. There are things that Frank would
change but I wouldn't and vise a visa. Two people one motorhome.
We have tried to be specific with our answers
to the e-mails we have received. This vs. that, that vs. this, and
this has worried me a bit. There is more to life on the road than the
perfect vehicle. Is traveling something you both really want to do? Make
real sure that it is as we have seen relationships end because one
wants to travel while the other is very happy with their home and where they live.
Compromise. Travel 6 months, live in your home 6 months. Don't
think you can see every thing you want to in 6 months? Probably can't,
BUT you get another 6 months. The cookie jar isn't half empty, it is
always half full, for the both of you!
For Frank and I we knew that we wanted to
travel the world. Well, not all of it, but most of it. This meant
that our rig was going to be our home as well as our means of travel.
We also knew that both of us liked to do the tourist thing but we also liked
to get off the beaten track. That meant 4 wheel drive, high clearance and a
solidly built vehicle to accommodate "off the beaten track".
For the inside, a well built and well laid
out kitchen was a must for me. The people at Xplorer Motor Homes made
an L shaped kitchen with the refrigerator on the opposite wall from the
stove. For those who don't know, you never put a refrigerator next to
a stove. The heat from the stove and oven causes the refrigerator to
work harder especially in hot climates. We often have to live off our own
power so we need things to work efficiently.
Frank wanted a couch and a dinette. I
wanted a rear corner bed instead. I gave in and I am glad I did. The
couch and dinette have worked out better than I expected. There is lots of
storage under the couch, it's great for stretching out on, it opens into a
double bed, and because it is across from the dinette it allows us to have
people over without feeling crowded.
We both wanted a bed that was made all the
time with sheets and blankets instead of sleeping bags. That meant a cabover
bed or a corner bed. Since we decided on a sofa we had to go with the
cabover bed. I have a slight case of claustrophobia so the ceiling had
to be high enough so I didn't feel trapped. We have the height I need to
sleep comfortably but that means the outside is higher than what Frank would
I wanted automatic leveling jacks, Frank
wasn't so sure. He relented and Xplorer put them on where they were
advised to by the leveling jack people. Frank kept saying the front
jacks were going to be a problem and sure enough they were. Our first trip
off road (Mexico) took us over a cattle guard and wouldn't you know it, the
front jacks got stuck in the grate! We managed to get free and when we
returned to the states we had Xplorer removed just the front jacks. We
left the rear ones as they are well placed and help raise the rear end of
the motor home enough for Frank to get the tires off without having to use
the manual jack that comes with the truck! Just push a button and
Viola! the rear end is up, the tire comes off or the stone is taken out from
between the dualies. Push the button again and Viola! the vehicle is
back down on the ground and off we go. W-E-E-L-L-L Frank doesn't think
it's quite that easy but you get my point!
A back-up camera was a must. We don't
need to be backing up onto kids, adults, animals or other vehicles! It
also works like a rear view mirror allowing us to see what is traveling
The one place I wouldn't compromise is on a
digital camera. Figure out what you can afford to spend and then buy
the next most expensive. It will pay for it's self in no time.
We have taken over 3000 pictures and haven't had to worry about the cost of
buying film, developing, wasted shots, blurry images, film caught in the
camera and where to store all those images. We just delete the ones we
don't like and never give a thought to the cost. With over 3000
pictures the money we have saved on the cost of buying film and developing
has more than paid for the camera.
We brought the Canon EOS 10D with
interchangeable lenses. We have a 28-90mm, 75-300mm with an image stabilizer
(the stabilizer is fantastic) and a 50mm compact-macro lens. When we get
back to the States we plan on buying a longer lens and a wider wide-angle.
I said I wouldn't compromise on a digital but
in fact we did. We waited for the Minolta to come out with their
digital camera that would have interchangeable lenses, as I already had
Minolta lenses and loved their cameras. By the time we were ready to
head for Central America, Minolta still hadn't come out with their version,
so Frank talked me into a Canon. I'm not the least bit sorry that we
brought the Canon.
World travel can be done in just about
anything. From backpacking to traveling in a Unimog. Know what
suits you and the lifestyle you would like to maintain. Just remember,
no matter how you do it, you will have to make compromises.
Hodgepodge #3 Dec. 28, 2003
by: Annie C.
I want to tell you about fences. Yup, thatís
right, fences. Farmers take these pieces of wood, sticks, poles, branches
(?) and put them in the ground, string barbed wire and they have a fence.
No big deal. Itís a fence, a crude fence, but nevertheless a fence.
The first time I noticed one we were in Mexico.
The first few times I saw one I didnít pay very much attention, after all it
was just a fence. After a while something didnít seem quite right
about the fence. I noticed that the farmer, very cleverly,
incorporated a tree that was growing right in the path of his fence.
He didnít waste time cutting it down he just used it as part of his fence.
Then I noticed that this was happening very frequently. It was
happening too frequently to be a coincidence. I started paying more
attention and I started disbelieving what I was seeing. These poles,
sticks, branches, pieces of wood (?) were growing! Nope, not possible,
a living fence?! I didn't say anything to Frank, not yet anyway.
He would have thought that I had been out in the sun too long!
It turns out that I was right. The fence does
grow from what appears to be a dead piece of wood or branch, and in fact
some donít grow. However, those are very few and far between.
The majority do grow and they grow into lovely tall trees that provide shade
for the farmerís cows. The trees also grow quite wide so that a person
could get through only if they walked through sideways. This is also a
plus because the cows can and do get through the barbed wire but they cannot
fit between the trees.
Not all farmers let the fence grown into trees.
I have seen a few cutting back the branches with their machetes. I am
not sure why and it seems like a lot of extra work, because no matter how
much they cut it back it just keeps sending out new shoots. Some
farmers do use the branches they have cut from their fences to expand their
fence or to replace the part that isnít growing. A full grown fence is
Okay, enough about living fences. Life on the
road can be and is wonderful, exciting and absolutely amazing.
However, normal everyday problems still crop up. One morning we noticed that
Trudy was having difficulty walking. She was very shaky and her front
left leg seemed to be useless. We thought she may have had a stroke
during the night. She is 13 years old and that is old for a
Rottweiler. We asked where the nearest veterinarian was and that was a
mistake. They sent us to a place that was unbelievable! I have
never seen a place that filthy before. We got out of there as fast as
we could and hoped that Trudy hadnít caught some horrid disease from that
We decided to drive back to a really nice place that
we had stayed at called Finca Ixobel. The first time we were at Finca Ixobel
it was just a great place for us to unwind. We just sat back, relaxed and
ate like kings. The food is out of this world and it's an all you can eat
buffet, and believe me we did. I gained a pound a day! (If you get a
chance read the article in Lonely Planet's Guatemala entitled "The
Murder of Michael DeVine".)
The woman that owns Finca Ixobel, Carol, (Michael
DeVine's wife) had two very healthy looking dogs and we knew she was
an animal lover. It meant a 4 hour drive back, but Trudy seemed to be
happy enough, she just couldnít maneuver very well.
When we told Carol the problem she telephoned her
veterinarian right away. He wasnít able to see Trudy as he was in
Belize (we were in Guatemala), but he would come see Trudy the next day.
True to his word he came and checked Trudy out. She had a very bad
case of arthritis and a possible shoulder strain. He gave her an
injection and we had to take her the following day to his place to get
another shot. The town he was from, Flores, was very difficult for us
to drive through as the streets are very narrow, so he agreed to meet us
outside town at the Mayan International Hotel, in Santa Elena which was
approximately an hour and a half away from Finca Ixobel. He gave Trudy
another injection and he showed Frank how to give her one for the following
day. Our time was up in Guatemala and we had to either renew or cross
the border the next day. I give Frank a lot of credit; I couldnít have
given Trudy a needle. He didnít like doing it one bit but he did it
and Trudy is fine. She is now our weather forecaster. I know to add a
quilt to our bed when I see her limping around!
The bill for coming out to see Trudy at Finca
Ixobel, the visit at the hotel plus the injections cost us almost, but not
The other time Trudy had to see the veterinarian was
in Paamul, Mexico. She tangled with some fire ants and lost. She
developed hot spots on her face where they bit her. The veterinarian
shaved her face gave her some injections and told us how to treat it at
home. Trudy has had a bout of hot spots one more time since then.
This time we knew what it was and we were able to treat it ourselves.
For those of you who want to know the treatment it is as follows:
Soak one Chamomile tea bag in 1/4 cup hot water. Swab the hot spots
with half the quarter cup in the morning and the rest in the evening. Make a
fresh batch of tea the next day.
Then mix together equal amounts of Cortizone 10 Plus and Bacitracin, enough
to cover all hot spots. Apply after the Chamomile tea has a bit of a chance
to dry. Repeat in the evening. Do this until the hot spots clear up. I am not recommending this treatment, I am only
telling you what worked for Trudy.
Before we crossed into Guatemala Frank said we are
off to see Tikal. Oh No! Not another ruin! It was not on my
must see list but it was on Frank's. I am very glad it was.
Tikal is one of those places you always see, hear or read about. Over
done can disappoint, but not in this case. There is a special feel to
Tikal and it was everything we had hoped for and more.
Museo de Palaeontologia, Arqueologia y Geologia, in
Estanzuela. Such a long name for such a small museum, but well worth a
visit. Lonely Plant's Guatemala describes it as "An interesting and
startling museum filled with dinosaur bones, some reconstructed and menacing
looking." I couldn't have said it better. It has a reconstructed,
giant ground sloth that is 30,000 years old. There is also a
prehistoric whale and giant armadillo. It was kind of fun to see
prehistoric animals that were not the usual dinosaurs bones. Lots of
other interesting things to see like Mayan artifacts and well worth a visit.
The price? Free!
Copan Ruins - Honduras: This site is
impressive for a number of reasons. The first is the Hieroglyphic
Stairway. It is the longest Mayan hieroglyphic inscription that has
been found so far. It tells the history of Copan's previous rulers.
The Hieroglyphics is not completely understood because they are still trying
to put back the pieces that have fallen away. Our guide told us that
once the stairway is rebuilt, they believe that it will be the key for
learning about the history of other Mayan sites.
Another reason is the must see Museum of Sculpture.
It houses a complete replica (true scale) of the Rosalila temple. The
temple was discovered in almost perfect condition with it's original paint
and carvings. The original Rosalila temple is below Structure 16 and
you can see the front of the temple via a tunnel.
When we walked into the museum and saw the Rosalila
temple it knocked our socks off. All other temples have had little
splashes of color and large chunks missing. Much was left to the
imagination, but not so here. Just to see the Rosalila was worth the
trip. But the museum doesn't stop there. The sculptures are
magnificent and so undamaged that they are a delight to look at. The
photos here are just a sampling of what can be seen at the museum.
We were told, that Tikal is considered the New York
of the Mayan world with it's many tall structures and Copan is considered
the Paris of the Mayan world with it's many beautiful sculptures.
Hope you have enjoyed the trip so far. Frank
and I would like to wish everyone a happy and prosperous NEW YEAR!
So much I still want to share with you but I will have to wait until next
HODGEPODGE #2 -
October 15th, 2003
Horse carts, donkey carts, bicycle carts,
trucks, cars, buses, people, shops, very, very rough water filled pot holed
road - Missed our turn, went down a one way, the wrong way, donkeys
falling down! A-a-a-h-h Mexico! Good to be back.
We have crossed at Pharr, Texas before so we
have had some idea of what to expect. It is still a hair raising and a
bit disconcerting place. If you have never crossed into Mexico with an
RV before, I would suggest crossing at a smaller border crossing and one
that doesn't throw you almost immediately into a good size town, for two
reasons. First, you need time to adjust to the road and the driving
conditions. Second, you are going to be nervous, excited and looking
at all the new sights and sounds that you are not going to be able to do the
first very well. Even with experience we went up a one way the wrong way!
We have crossed into Mexico at a few
different places, large and small, and we have found the officials to be
friendly and helpful. Take your time, try to relax, and you will be
through it fairly quickly.
When you get about 100 miles into Mexico you
are going to find a very different Mexico than what you found at the border.
It is going to take a little getting use to. It is not all Puerto
Vallarta and Cancun, especially if you travel the Libre (free roads) like we
do. You will see a very different way of life, some things will
surprise you, some things will sadden you, some things will delight you but
one thing usually stays the same and that's the people. They are warm
and friendly. Always ready with a smile, a wave and are there to help
The road, in places can be difficult, narrow,
winding, pot holes, no shoulder and drop-offs. Other places, the road
is as good as what we have in the U.S. We have traveled with a big rig
and a tow and we did just fine, but I tell you, we are thrilled with our new
rig. We don't worry when we miss our turn, we now can turn almost any
place we want. If you're towing you may have to drive quite a ways
before finding a place big enough to turn. Time consuming, nerve
racking, and just plain aggravating.
Military Inspections - Accept them.
They are just part of Mexico. They are looking for drugs and guns.
If you don't have either, you don't have a problem. The guys are very
friendly and respectful if you treat them with respect. They are just
doing their job. They also just like to look at the inside of your
rig. Some of these young men have never seen the inside of an RV and
they are just as curious as you are when you go to an RV show. They
wipe their feet before coming in, they open and close cupboard doors far
gentler than I do. Some have asked me who the people are in the
photographs on the walls. They always get a big smile on their faces
when I tell them this is my son and his girlfriend and this is my daughter
and her husband on their wedding day. You will find the Mexican people
are very family orientated, and some of these young men are missing their
We had a flat tire on our tow last year, just
outside of Lake Chapla, near a military inspection site. One of the guys
came over and changed the tire for us. Scary huh?!
Fruit & Vegetable Inspection Stations and/or
Eggs and Meat Inspection Station - These are located at state lines.
Some times they are manned and some times they aren't. If they are manned
and you have oranges, limes, eggs, pork or poultry (you are never sure
exactly what they are looking for) you are going to have them taken away.
Some places will spray your tires and the underside of your vehicle.
Again people are friendly and are often apologetic for having to take food
away from you. An American border crossing guard suggested we either eat it
before crossing or give the food to some of the local people. They
would appreciate the windfall.
The Police - Never had a problem with them.
The ones we have spoken to have been very nice. Never been harassed by
one and never got a ticket by one, knock-on-wood. One year we took a
wrong turn and got stuck on a very, narrow street with our big motorhome and
tow. Cars couldn't get past us and we could just barely make it down
the street. A local police officer walked in front of our motorhome
and led us to a street with two way traffic AND led us in the direction we
wanted to go. No ticket, no lecture, he was glad to have been of help.
A really bad guy, right?!
Federal Police - Never had any thing to do
with them. Asked directions once. Very polite, somewhat aloof.
Green Angels - Volunteers that drive around
in green trucks. Will help you get going again if you break down.
If they can't fix the problem, they will arrange for help. This is
strictly volunteer, so if they have helped you, please help them with a
Hopefully, I have helped alleviate some of
your concerns about traveling in Mexico. The only real caution I have
is don't tell people you plan on visiting Mexico. If you do, be
prepared to hear horror stories. When you hear one, ask, "when did this
happen to you?". The usual answers are either "Oh, about 30 years
ago", or "Oh, it didn't happen to me. A friend was telling me about this guy
who it happened to". Listen if you want. We did and we almost
didn't go. What a mistake that would have been.
THE BELIZE ZOO
Lots has happened and Frank will tell you about that, what I am excited
about is the Belize Zoo. I hate zoos and love animals. This zoo
is different. Footprint's travel guide says "Highly recommended, even
for those who hate zoos.". Okay, seeing is believing, and I didn't
think I would be believing. So, off we went. I loved the place.
The animals are in large enclosures, with native plants and trees. The
park tries to make it as close to the animals environment as possible.
The zoo was started in 1983 (the new zoo opened in 1991) after filming of
a natural history documentary. Since then the zoo has grown and has over 100
animals, all indigenous to Belize. Many of the animals are endangered
and many have been injured and cannot be released back into the wild.
There are fun signs throughout the park, geared towards the children of
Belize, explaining why it is wrong to hunt these animals. Some of these
animals are taken to the schools so all the children of Belize can learn
about the very special animals they have in their country and how they can
help protect them.
As far as I could tell, most of the animals have names and many of them
come when called, like the Tayra. One Scarlet Macaw frantically
climbed over the back of the other one so it could get a better look at the
us and the camera. The Coatimundi's are very tame (a lot of people keep them
as pets) and are very intent on finding some bugs to eat. The Toucan hurried
over to get his picture taken and the Jaguar was way too hot to be bothered.
They also had a Black Jaguar that was cleaning itself in the dense brush.
We could just see him and we didn't get a very good picture of him. It kind
of made the hair on the back of our necks stand up just thinking about this
perfectly camouflaged animal walking around the same jungle we have been
walking around in.
Just a couple of miles from the zoo is JB's Sunset Bar & Restaurant. It
is run by a South African family and we have been enjoying South African
style food, which we haven't had for more than 30 years! They make
Belizean style food as well and they also make the best French fries.
They could give MacDonald's and Burger King a run for their money. (Really
Alex! It's the only French Fries I have seen Frank eat AND enjoy).
JB's is fun and friendly and if you get a chance to come to Belize sit
and talk with Henry. You'll be in for a treat! Henry has had a
very interesting life and he knows how to tell a story, he also plays a mean
We were able to hook up to electricity and they have an internet
connection. We have pretty much used JB's as our base camp. By the way, did
I mention drinks on the patio, enjoying the ever changing misty mountain
view while talking quilts with Karen? What more could I ask for?!
We are off to Guatemala in a couple of days. If anyone has been
there and has suggestion as to what to see and do, please feel free to
e-mail us with your suggestions.
HODGEPODGE #1 - AUGUST 31, 2003
by: Annie C.
What can you expect to find here?
Almost anything, from photography, to what itís like to travel around the
world in an RV, to recipes of foods that we have tried along the way, great
campgrounds, interesting people we have met, how to, etc., etc.,.
Whatever strikes my fancy and hopefully yours. So here goes!
We are always asked why we are going to
travel round the world in our RV, and arenít we afraid.
The answer to the question ďwhy? ď...
because we think the world is a beautiful and fascinating place and we want
to see all of it or as much of it as we can. As for the second question
ďarenít we afraid?Ē.... the idea of it scares me a little, but the
experiences we have had so far has taught me I that I am wasting my time
being afraid. We have been to Mexico and some parts of Africa and the only
time I have been afraid, was when a herd of elephants stampeded and we were
in the middle of them in an Isuzu Trooper. After it was over and all
was well, it was just incredibly exciting!
While traveling in a foreign country we use
the same common sense that we would use here. We donít go to certain
places after dark and we stay away from certain places during the day.
If an area is starting to look rough, we turn around. We ask people if an
area is safe or should we stay out of there. We keep our wallet in our
front pocket and we donít carry a lot of cash on us. We are respectful to
the people we meet and enjoy our differences. There are more good
people in this world than there are bad, so thatís why we get out there and
enjoy the world and what life has to offer.
Right now we are in Livingston, Texas getting
last minute things done. We will leave for San Antonio on Sept. 2nd.
to get more last minute things done. Hopefully that will be the end of
the last minute things and we can be on our way to Mexico. We were
planning to cross into Mexico by Sept. 1st. but that isnít going to happen.
(Patience is a virtue, so Iím told!)
We plan on traveling the east coast of Mexico
to the Paa Mul campground. (Paa Mul is approx 50 miles south of Cancun).
This is a great campground on the water with snorkeling for Frank. It has
full hookups and room for large rigs. There are about 120 sites.
The first time we went to Paa Mul we planned
on staying for just a couple of days and ended up staying about 10 days.
We would have stayed longer but we needed to get back to the States to help
our daughter plan her wedding.
From Paa Mul we plan on going to Belize for a
couple of weeks and then we will cross into Guatemala and visit the Mayan
city of Tikal. After that, ???????