From Garbage Dump To School In Guatemala

Vultures circling above, garbage trucks roaring in, our 12-year-old daughter’s eyes were opened. Concerned, she watched as men, women and sometimes children chased each truck into the Guatemala City garbage dump to claim the trash inside. Rifling through the rubbish, the people begin their daily routine of sorting, lifting, guarding and selling trash so it may be recycled and they, in turn, can eat. Years ago, more children worked and fewer went to school. Today, more go to school and fewer work. Thanks to one woman, Hanley Denning, an American who made a difference.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Hanley was first introduced to the slums adjacent to this garbage dump during a tourist visit to Guatemala. Upset and determined to support the families and children working in the dump, she sold her car and her computer to begin Safe Passage (Camino Seguro). Today 600 children and 100 mothers receive educational and social services support to improve their living and working conditions. Sadly, Hanley was killed in a traffic accident but her dreams and goals continue today as Safe Passage continues to grow.

This half day tour was the best part of our family trip to Guatemala. After visiting the garbage dump and driving in the impoverished surrounding area, you arrive at Safe Passage where both children and their parents receive classes and training so they can rely less and less on a life involving the garbage dump. After touring the facilities and eating a lunch of tortillas and beans with the students in their cafeteria, we left Safe Passage feeling a little lighter, happier and more optimistic about the world around us.

This experience will remain with you long after you return from Guatemala. Much longer than any other sightseeing endeavor.

I is for Imperfect

Our family is known for having at least one crisis on every family trip. I have a friend who calls them Cheryl stories.

These crises range from a sandstorm in the Sahara , to arriving in a tiny village in Peru late at night to discover our hotel room taken to the volcano fiasco in Guatemala. These are the imperfect travel moments that our kids relish and retell. These are the ones that stand out and make us laugh; after they are over.

We were in Antigua, Guatemala. Check guide book. Follow book. (well not really) The beginning of the going wrong part.

Walking, looking for the tour company recommended by our guide book, we get side tracked; in fact completely derailed. We just don’t know it yet. A guy comes up and says he does tours to climb the Pacaya volcano. We think he sounds fine, looks fine, why not go with him. This is Mr.El Barco.

Next morning, after a lot of waiting, Mrs.El Barco shows up to say they overbooked and we need to go the next day. A little put off, we agree; uneasily.

Next morning, we actually go. The van is full of gringos; of the much younger and robust variety than us. Jammed on top of each other, like cattle being sent off for slaughter; we are at the mercy of the tour “leader”, a term loosely used.

Upon arrival at the base of the volcano, all erupts. Touts galore vying for our attention scream, gesture and push to get us to take their horse up the volcano. A horse? We paid to walk up this thing and that is what we will do. Jade is younger, 12, and a little out of sorts. We think it is the chaos; maybe the competitive feel set by our fellow tour members: the who will outrun the others to get to the top first. We don’t know.

We begin to climb. We are at the back. It is not looking good nor feeling good. Jade says she feels sick. I look at Chris and question. We have only just begun. We head back to the base. We look for the El Barcos, our stellar leaders who brought us here. This is how it goes down.

Hello. Our daughter is sick. Is there any chance we could get a lift back to town? 

No. 

Oh I see. Well how long will it be until this is over and we can return?

About 3 hours or so. 

Well, as you can see, our daughter is sick. Could we stay in your van while we wait?

No.

What?!!! Looking around, there is nothing to sit on but some rocks in the open sun.

Lawyer me steps up to the van, supremely irritated. I set off a Spanglish stream of words and they relent. Not too happily.

Jade and I creep into the back of the El Barco van, a little nervously. Not feeling wanted; the El Barco clan continues on with their morning fiesta listening to their (not appropriate for 12-year-olds) English music, gorging on fried chicken and ignoring us. Drafting an evil TripAdvisor review in my head, we sit and wait forever… or so it seems. Us in the stinky loud van and Chris on the rocks; separated but together in misery.

Finally, the gringos return, announce nothing but fog so overall a non-event for all.

Relieved to be returning to hotel sweet hotel, Mr. El Barco, drunk on greasy food and pop, blows a tire going down a hill.

Waiting now on the road while Mr. El Barco "repairs" the tire.

Waiting now on the road while Mr. El Barco “repairs” the tire.

Now the waiting is left to the side of the road. And everyone is less than pleased. Not just us. I greedily anticipate many lousy TripAdvisor reviews as a result. (travel revenge… not a pretty thing)

The El Barcos finally deliver… as we enter our hotel room. Walking through the door, we replay the El Barco fiasco/fiesta and the laughter begins. Imperfect can be funny; when it is finally over.

Follow along with the Family C as they head from A to Z. Interested in reading more on imperfect?

(Cheryl and her daughter will be moving to Egypt in August where more El Barcos await, or otherwise known as Cheryl stories.)

Do you have an imperfect travel story (an El Barco of your own) that you would like to share?

The Guidebook Says We Need Alcohol and Cigarettes

So we are pretty much a non-drinking and definitely non-smoking kind of family.

We try to be positive role models for our girls but sometimes these things slide; especially when “guide pressured” by that oh so famous Lonely Planet.

You see we were in Santiago Atitlan, a small indigenous village on the shores of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. We had just begun backpacking and we were already tired. We were in an adventurous spot where you could kayak, horseback ride, swim, zipline, climb volcanoes and then climb more volcanoes. And we looked at each other with fatigue in our voices and said:

What else is there to do? We have Jade with us. We have to do stuff on this trip! (unlike our previous trip to Mexico where we camped out in each and every plaza and solely people watched).

So opening up the guidebook, we were informed that we must go find a man who smokes cigarettes and likes to be surrounded by alcohol. The clincher is the man is not real; he is a statue. Apparently from the little I gleamed from the somewhat eerie experience is that villagers very much believe in his powers and he is therefore well protected and guarded by the locals. So carefully cared for that he is moved each year to a new location so the privilege of his upkeep is spread around the village.

So we made the move and grabbed our 12 year-old to search for the smoking man himself, Maximon. In a hush-hush tone, the tuk tuk driver set off for the secret location.

Now one does NOT arrive empty-handed to visit Maximon. One must bring alcohol and cigarettes to appease Maximon and his security guards. Buying our cheapest options, our daughter looked at us like we had 3 heads. Guatemala was already off to a strange start.

True to his word, we arrived, obediently followed, quietly walked in, heads down and then looked kind of blankly at Maximon and his caregivers. The party had definitely started without us; leaving us hesitant and way too sober to figure out what to do next.

Shifting, trying to do that “quick English so they don’t understand”  we forked over our gifts to the men who were breathing as opposed to Maximon who was smoking. Rapidly lighting a cigarette, Maximon was blessed with one of our cheap ones. Watching him smoke away, I rapidly took a photo and we hustled out of there.

I am sure it makes a lot of sense. I am sure if we had read more or asked more questions, we would have felt more comfortable.. .well maybe.

Oh and remember Jade. Say no to alcohol, say no to smoking. As your parents, we highly advise against it; unless you are visiting a statue who loves to do both in Guatemala.

Loving Laundry: When It Is Not Mine

When I look at my more recent travel photos, I notice a few things.

  • I still can’t take good photos 🙂 but I try (an “A” for effort, a “C” for results)
  • I take photos of everyday things, in fact, things I would never take photos of in Canada – doors, people cycling, people walking, people talking, people eating, us eating, and yes, even laundry
  • I take fewer photos of the regular “touristy” things like ruins, forts, museums, statues and on and on…

Having grown up with a historian as a father, I think I have rebelled. There is something about being “dragged” to every fort in Canada, that makes me, well, a little less engaged in that side of life, and more inclined to the present everyday kind of life.

So this is how it came to be that I have recently started taking photos of laundry, other people’s, of course. And oh how I wish, that I had done so, when I was younger and travelling more, but well… in those days… my focus was more on me, how I looked, who I met, and where to have fun. Any recent photos of me travelling indicates this is no longer the case!

Yes, things change even as a traveller. So here’s to me, now, a somewhat older traveller, who loves laundry, when it’s not mine.

How it all begins.. sometimes in a lake (Lake Atitlan, Guatemala)

How it all begins.. sometimes in a lake (Lake Atitlan, Guatemala)

Laundry in Venice (of course, it looks beautiful)

Laundry in Venice (of course, it looks beautiful)

Laundry in Chefchaouen, Morocco (everything in Chef is gorgeous)

Laundry in Chefchaouen, Morocco (everything in Chef is gorgeous)

Laundry in oh so sweet, Isla Janitzio in Mexico

Laundry in oh so sweet, Isla Janitzio in Mexico

Laundry in Ollantaytambo, Peru ( a bit more on the rustic side)

Laundry in Ollantaytambo, Peru ( a bit more on the rustic side)

Laundry in Jardin, Colombia

Laundry in Jardin, Colombia

Laundry in interesting shapes

Laundry in interesting shapes

Even backpackers have to do laundry, but it is never as pretty as the locals' laundry

Even backpackers have to do laundry, but it is never as pretty as the locals’ laundry

And, oh I know that the anticipation is almost too much to bear, but more laundry posts – Middle Eastern style – are on the horizon. I can’t wait 🙂

What Travel Colour Are You?

Snce I was little, I have always wanted a Volkswagen Bug; not because I like cars much but because it seems to come in such fun vibrant colours. I go back and forth about which colour I prefer. I simply love most bright colours. They just make me happy.

So when I began to travel in Mexico, Central America and South America, I was stunned and excited by the wide range of colours used to decorate their homes, their businesses, their water fountains, their everything. It was like anything goes; no worrying about what the neighbours think or by-laws that reign in some parts of Canada. So since we are now onto our dreary 3rd or 4th month of winter here (think primarily white, grey, and muddy – I am making that a new colour) I am longing for some colour in my life.

As you can see, I am not scared to paint bright walls in my house.

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So which colours do you prefer? Are you more of a subtle kind of colour person?

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Or do you like this range of colours?

Or are you passionate about purple?

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Don’t Try This At Home – Dying For Fresh Air on the Chicken Bus

There is a good reason why a chicken bus is called a chicken bus in Guatemala.

Because said buses carry chickens and any other live or dead animals people can carry with them onto the bus. Chicken buses originally come from the United States… they are old school buses that have worn out their welcome in the States only to find a new life in Guatemala. So when you get onto a chicken bus, think old school bus, lots of animals, lots of produce, lots of people.. you know those rules like 2 to 3 to a seat… NOPE… not on a newly reincarnated chicken bus… anything goes.

This is where Guatemala has a lot in common with India.

So after spending all day on a chicken bus to climb up a mountain and then another on the way to Todos Santos, you are not a pretty picture at the end of the trip. What to do when you have to get on that bus all over again to go back?

Well you decide that it is a brilliant idea (you know those ideas when you are in the 20s and nothing will ever happen to you) to avoid the inside of the beyond crowded smelly chicken bus and sit on top of the bus with all the bags instead. And no.. the road is not smooth, flat, properly paved… it is a road (loosely used term again) that winds through the mountains on some pretty intense curves. So at 4 am when the chicken bus arrives in Todos Santos, I hop onto the top with my backpack, sit on who knows what, try to find a spot to hold on and wait for the ride.

How did it go?

It was dark, freezing cold, scary, exhilarating and at the end, I probably thought (with the eyes of a 20 something) that I deserved some kind of Brave Backpacker Badge instead of the (with the eyes of a now 40 something) Brainless Backpacker Badge. You have to remember, these were the days before zip lining, drunken tubing in Laos, full moon parties in Thailand and who knows what else is hot nowadays… but back in the day… way back… this was all we had.

The Super Model of Swimming Pools Goes to South Africa

Seriously, would you ever return to a country for a swimming pool? Especially when swimming is not really your thing?

Well… some swimming pools are so beautifully situated such as the one shown above in Graskop, South Africa (Panorama Chalets) that yes.. I would consider dragging my family to South Africa to experience this pool, situated on the edge of a cliff over looking the Graskop gorge. I have been twice and this pool, stands out as one of my top memories of South Africa and that is competing with charging elephants in Kruger Park, Table Mountain in Cape Town and the oh so cute penguins on Boulder’s Beach outside Simon’s Town. That says a lot for a simple swimming pool.

When we were on our honeymoon, it was a pool at IL Poggio dei Pettirossi, on a hill overlooking the valley of Bevagna in Italy that made us miss our kids the most. We couldn’t even enjoy it knowing that they would have died and gone to heaven if they were swimming in it overlooking the Umbrian valley and all its sparkling lights at night. Chris honestly said we had to go back to Italy so they could swim in it… and yes, see Rome and Venice and a million other sights but that pool… again stands out.

We didn’t have Abby with us in Guatemala and we missed her the most at the Jungle Lodge in Tikal National Park when we floated in the pool watching and listening to the spider monkeys above in the trees.

So seriously… a pool can definitely play a part in a family’s travel experience when backpacking. I know of some “beyond brilliant ones” in Bali too… another reason to return there as well 🙂

Why Imperfect Trumps When Travelling

It started a long time ago for me and has continued now that I travel with my family. I am a “buck the traditional” kind of woman (“maiden name” – ridiculous words… but I still have mine; quit “traditional” law the minute I became a lawyer; had one daughter and ended up with four daughters (happily); changed careers many times and probably will once more. So needless to say, it is not a huge surprise that my favourite cities are NOT Paris and London as I much prefer grittier Amsterdam. When choosing Spanish language schools in Guatemala, Quetzaltenango beat out perfect Antigua so it was not too shocking that as a family we preferred Lake Atitlan villages again over Antigua, the “jewel” of Guatemala. After visiting Mexico, Chris declared Patzcuaro over San Miguel de Allende, another “expat haven” which is “perfectly aesthetic” but less us, I guess. Hands down we loved Essaouria over Marrakech and Fez in Morocco, strangely for some but again that is how we roll. I do have to admit that I love Bangkok but not for its touristy temples or other “must see” items. I prefer to wander, explore, people watch and get lost. Phnom Penh is my idea of perfectly “imperfect” but that was years ago, and I fear that it might have changed; as most places do. And I know I am very odd… but Cape Town was not a favourite for me; it was beautiful but not me. I much preferred the wild scenery of Lesotho, Swaziland and parts of Kwazulu Natal. When I look at my pictures, I gravitate to the regular, to the gritty side of life. Maybe that is why I am so obsessed with India because it has both; perfect and imperfect; all at the same time. Soon two of our blended family may be headed to a new city (one that when we tell people, the response is usually… umm) so granted to say, it is no Paris, no Vienna, no Florence, no Singapore. But because it will most likely be “perfectly imperfect” , we are not worried, we will be content and of course, find things to love.

According to Jade, Guatemala Was Better Than Disney World

Are you thinking about a first trip (or a second) to a very special place that is close to North America that is family friendly, wallet friendly, and provides major bang for your buck?

We strongly think Guatemala is that place. This is our trip report from ThornTree (Lonely Planet on-line resource).

We went on an amazing three-week trip to Guatemala with our 12-year-old daughter. It was her first time outside of Canada/US and she has now fallen in love with Guatemala, as we have as well. Although it was my second time there (last time was 18 years ago) it felt just as wonderful as many years ago.

We arrived late in Guatemala City and had made earlier arrangements with our hotel (Dos Lunas) to have their driver pick us up at the airport (included in hotel price). Victor was a wonderful sight to see as we tiredly left the airport feeling very secure and safe with him. We arrived at a gated community 5 min from the airport to meet the amazing couple, Lorena and Henk. They made us feel at home right away. I can’t recommend this hotel enough as a great start and end to a trip. The next morning Lorena made arrangements for a shuttle to take us to Panajachel.

Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan

My daughter’s eyes were wide open as we drove on the road to Lake Atitlan (her sitting in the middle front seat of the shuttle). We arrived in time to eat at the Sunset Cafe ( beautiful location at the end of Santander Calle) and despite no sunset, it was still ideal and worthwhile. Jade really enjoyed Panajachel as she found it an easy place to shop without a lot of the hustle/bustle of a busy market.

We then took the public boat to Santiago Atitlan where we stayed at Posada Santiago. Our decision to stay at the posada was a difficult one (I had been thinking of many including Casa del Mundo) but it turned out to be the best choice for our family. I loved having the convenience of staying at the Posada which was a short walk down the road from a community where we could walk around and enjoy everyday life. The food/lodgings at the Posada are amazing but what was most amazing was its pool/jacuzzi set right by the lake. I spent a lot of time in the pool/jacuzzi watching the lake activities and men fishing in their cayucos. We would wake up early in the morning and walk down the road (2 min) to watch the women washing their clothes in the lake and gather water. While sitting in the restaurant in the Posada, we could observe men carrying large bundles of wood walking between the villages. Women and men in typical clothing for their area were everywhere and my daughter’s eyes were wide open all the time.

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While at the Posada, we visited Solola market and had been warned that many pickpockets (women and children mostly) would be around. Both my daughter and my husband had their pockets searched which did worry my daughter a bit. It is a very busy and at times, tight market which can become a bit claustrophobic. My daughter needed to take a few breaks from all the activity which was easy to do a block or so away from the market. Overall it was a positive experience and I enjoyed it much more than I had Chichi 18 years ago – just don’t take a day bag and wear a money belt under clothes. The chicken bus up the twisty and winding road to Solola was an adventure in itself but both my daughter and husband enjoyed it.

Solola Market

Solola Market

We also spent one day in San Pedro where my husband got his hair cut. Our daughter enjoyed watching it as this has become a bit of a tradition when we travel. Each haircut experience is always different. We enjoyed San Pedro and liked the feel of the village up the hill. On the way down the hill, we saw a white church (not Catholic) and we were given permission to climb up to the top of it where we got amazing photos of the surrounding area.

We then went to Antigua where we stayed at Posada Juma Ocag. Although it says in the LP that you can’t book ahead, we did through its website. It was a friendly, cheap and secure place to stay right across from the market. We loved it there! My only note to mention about Antigua is not to use El Barco Travel Agency. I always follow posters’ advice and my guidebook but this time did not and we paid for it. We were tired and hungry and just stepped foot into the first agency (thinking that all Volcana Pacaya trips must be the same). They scammed us twice (yes… not good) and we ended up going a day later than we wanted in a 12 person van filled with 20 adults. On the way back, a tire blew going down a large hill and so we were happy to finally return to Antigua. So a word of warning… avoid El Barco at all costs.

Antigua

Antigua

One of the best things we did on our trip for our daughter was to do a tour with the NGO, Safe Passage (Camino Seguro). We arrived at their office in Antigua and they drove us to their work in Guatemala City. I had found out about the NGO on a family blog site and this NGO has strongly impacted my daughter’s life and her vision for her future. They took us to the Guatemala City garbage dump where we learned about the families who live around the dump and try to make a living off of it. We learned what the NGO does for the families encouraging kids to stay in schools and participate in before/after school activities. Watching the vultures fly over the dump and witness the women and men running along side the garbage trucks vying for a great position to sort through the garbage is something we won’t forget.

We then flew to Flores ( in the evening) and stayed one night at Hotel Santana which is beautifully located on the lake. We took a shuttle to Tikal the next morning where we stayed at the Jungle Lodge. I would recommend the Jungle Lodge for one main reason… each day at 4 or 5pm. the spider monkeys come out and you can swim in the pool and watch them as they play in the trees hanging over the pool. My daughter was in heaven. Our favourite thing on our trip was the sunrise tour (an absolute not to miss event) of Tikal which I remembered clearly from 18 years ago. We went with our guide Carlos (thru Jungle Lodge) and he was amazing. He is a very educated man who made Tikal come to life for our family. As Carlos can’t walk well (moto accident) we took a truck into the jungle at 4:30 am. Standing in the back of the truck holding on for dear life, listening to the howler monkeys wake up… was “better than Disney World” said my daughter.

Even the trees are spectacular at Tikal

Even the trees are spectacular at Tikal

After we went to Finca Ixobel in Poptun. This is the only time that it rained during the day in our 3 weeks which put a damper on the Finca for us a bit. There is not a lot to do there when it is raining. Despite the rain, my daughter and husband decided to trek to the Ixobel cave... a major up and down hike in the jungle for an hour. I am happy they did not do the longer trek to the river cave as this would have been too long to go in the high humid and wet jungle. Although they enjoyed the cave experience (seeing bats, spiders while holding flashlights and candles – with no holders!) my daughter said she wouldn’t have done it again. They were beyond wet and muddy when they returned. Initially my husband wanted to wear his sneakers but luckily they convinced him to wear rubber boots as his sneakers or hiking boots would have been totally wrecked if they had been worn in mud up to their knees. Finca Ixobel does have amazing food but we felt a bit out of place there (staff was so so friendly and not many other tourists around except American “military” maybe). What I dislike the most was their mosquito nets which were covered in large patches of blood!

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We then went onto Rio Dulce where we had arranged through Hotelito Perdido to pick us up and take us to their jungle bungalows. They were very well-organized and met us at the exact time/place they said they would be there. Aska the owner ( whom we had made the arrangements with) no longer lives at the Hotelito but she does have hosts who manage it for her. Daniel and Margid were excellent hosts. We were the only ones staying there… it is the rainforest and it is isolated. My husband found it a bit claustrophobic so our 3 nite stay changed to a 2 nite stay. It was extremely humid and hot in July (like nothing I have experienced before and I have lived in the jungle in Cambodia and Suriname before). There were a lot of creepy crawlers around including a spider much larger than my husband’s hand in the shower. Our daughter staked out her place in a hammock while she read (it was safe from the creepy crawlers there ) and loved the Hotelito… while my husband went around removing insects that would worry her 🙂 An army of red fire ants moved us out of one bungalow to another. The bungalows are beautiful but are very much open concept. They are not completely screened in at all so many insects do find their way in. Overall, we enjoyed our time there despite the high humidity. The food was amazing… Candy the cook can cook many fantastic vegan options! Dining together at nite by candlelight with the sounds of the rainforest is truly memorable.

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We spent one night at Posada Delphin in Livingston which surprisingly was a real highlight. The pool was situated right on the water and it was very refreshing to have the breeze while swimming and watching boats coming and going. The best thing about the hotel were the hammocks at the end of the pier where we hung out at night watching the lightning show. (every night in Peten and in Rio Dulce area we had rain, thunder and lightning).

Jade hanging out like she always loves to do when we travel.

Jade hanging out like she always loves to do when we travel.

We took the first boat out of Livingston to catch the early Litegua bus from Puerto Barrios to Guatemala City.. was a double decker deluxe bus and therefore a relaxing 6 hr trip back.

We had a wonderful memorable trip to Guatemala – a perfect choice for a family with a tween/teen looking to experience a different culture and way of life.

The C Family and Caves/Mines – Why We Don’t Mix Well

My first blended family experience was really at the Cape Breton coal mines. We were all sitting there waiting dutifully for our tour guide. I am not much of a tour guide kind of person and this was probably pretty obvious that day. I was with Chris, Abby and Allyson (formerly known as Ally and now really known only as Al to me but I will be formal this once.)

So Mr. Tour Guide needs to break the ice with our group and starts doing the go around and asking us where we are all from. Now, you need to know, we look like a family, we are a family but we are no ordinary family. It is too late to get our story straight and I am freaking out about this as he already knows that we are from PEI sort of and NB sort of so it is really hard to change our story on the fly. When he comes around, we give it a go and say we are from NS instead only to have him quiz us about our particulars. In fact at that time Chris was from NS, I was from PEI and the girls were from NB.

To an outsider, we looked completely dysfunctional and it appeared that the girls were parenting themselves since the “parents” didn’t even live in the same province either.

To make matters worse, we entered the coal mine only to have one of our mining helmets fall off and roll down the ramp, making a lot of noise as Mr. Tour Guide was giving his spiel. Well… I was toast… once I started laughing… I couldn’t even stop which of course made us look even more dysfunctional.

Barely surviving this experience, we of course felt bad that Jade hadn’t been able to come, so later on Chris and I took her back.

This is what you do as a blended family… you keep on doing stuff until everyone has had the chance to do it!

Of course this also reminds me of my lovely planning of our cave visit in Guatemala, which Jade just reminded me was her least favourite place on our trip. Oops, I recall her mentioning this… this had been majorly hyped up as a huge deal on Trip Advisor so of course, we had to do it – the royal “we” of course.

Did these other people on Trip Advisor go to the same cave as Jade and Chris did???

Did they actually walk through the sludge, the mud, the wet, the jungle, the ” I am sure there are snakes in this grass” stuff as Jade and Chris did?

Because if they did, kudos to them for ranking it high on their lists because I was most definitely informed that this was NOT high on the Jade/Chris list.

Apparently the guide spoke no English, walked incredibly fast and Jade and Chris thought they might either lose their boots in the mud, die of thirst, or kill me when they got back.

Luckily none of those happened.

In fact inside the cave, Chris held a candle (complete with wax dripping onto his hands) while Jade horrified, noticed a huge spider almost going across her rubber boot. I guess there were some pretty stalagmites and other cave like stuff… but this is not what they remember today.

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