Monthly Archives: March 2007

Zentraveler argues with himself!

Two gentlemen were arguing over the fact that each was more agreeable than the other. They fought with fisticuffs, swords, and eventually shot each other in a staged dual of honor. That gentlemen’s argument resulted in two grave stones. The only winners here were the grave diggers and funeral homes. The next time you want to argue you may want to choose a different approach. Let’s say someone cuts you off almost hitting you. Would you be anymore right than he or she if you pulled a gun out and shot the person? Think about it the other person may have a gun and may shoot you just for arguing and maybe you are right. Being right in the line of fire is no subsitute for simply ignoring the other person and praying they two could learn this procedure. It takes two to argue!

“People change when they sit behind a steering wheel. The meekest, mildest individual becomes a hissing, spitting ball of rage, pounding on the horn, swerving from lane to lane, mouthing obscenities and making rude gestures. Everyone but you is a terrible driver. So, when you’re cut up on the interstate, or someone pulls out in front of you and then slams on the brakes, or you spot that bloke driving down the passing lane of the marked highway for no apparent reason, what should you do?

I just take a deep breath and drive on. I also try to avoid listening to aggressive music (or music with an aggressive beat) as that tends to make my temper worse, for some reason. And if it’s something I can’t change, like a traffic jam, I just put a comedy tape or classical music and concentrate on that. That said, sometimes a really good scream helps, too! Best to make sure your windows are closed, though.

That’s it! Release that pent-up rage in a controlled way, otherwise you could find yourself spending a night in the cells or worse!” ——BBC h2g2

Have you ever wandered why people argue and who wins. The answer may suprise you! THE BUDDHISTS use argumentation as an art form and as part of their spirtual teachings and rituals. Attorneys are famous for arguing a case and families living all over the world argue from time to time. You can argue in a college debate, you can argue in a group, or you can argue with yourself. If arguing isn’t your cup of tea and you have nothing to prove then try using these principles to avoid arguing.

“In this Collaborative Entry, h2g2 Researchers share their tips for how to avoid blowing up when you feel the red mist descending upon you.

Patience is a Virtue!

Sometimes saying nothing is far better than arguing – with anyone. I do that with my Mom. When she gets me nuts, instead of getting all bent out of shape I just say to myself, ‘Have patience… She’s old… And senile…’
A good way to keep your cool when the fire is hot is simply to have patience. Training in the martial arts can be a good way of acquiring mental discipline.” ——BBC h2g2

Great argument uses no words! “Suppose you and I argue. If you win and I lose, are you indeed right and I wrong? And if I win and you lose, am I right and you wrong? Are we both partly right and partly wrong? Are we both all right or both all wrong? If you and I cannot see the truth, other people will find it even harder.

Then whom shall I ask to be the judge? Shall I ask someone who agrees with you? If he already agrees with you, how can he be a fair judge? Shall I ask someone who agrees with me? If he already agrees with me, how can he be a fair judge? Shall I ask someone who agrees with both of us? If he already agrees with both of us, how can he be a fair judge?
Then if you and I and others cannot decide, shall we wait for still another? Waiting for changing opinions is like waiting for nothing. Seeing everything in relation to the heavenly
cosmos and leaving the different viewpoints as they are, we may be able to live out our years.” ——CHUANG TSU

QUOTE: “Be wiser than other people if you can, but do not tell them so” – Lord Chesterfield

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: A grasshopper needs a minimum temperature of 62 degrees Fahrenheit in order to be able to hop. ——greatfacts.com

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: The Red Wolf! The red wolf is classified as a member of the order Carnivora (Carnivores) and is a member of the family Canidae. The red wolf is classified as a critically endangered species due to the estimation that its population consists of less than fifty mature red wolves. ——endangeredspecie.com

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Argue with yourself and at least walk away a winner!

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Zentraveler Chelates himself!

The word Chelation comes from the Greek word to claw or grab. After researching chelation I decided for me the best thing was to go on a liquid chelation program. The three main ways of chelation are to use an approved I. V. chelation doctor which may run from $7,000 to $15,000 dollars depending on your circumstances and your wallet.

The other two methods are either taking pills or using suppositories and the costs vary but are generally more costly than liquid chelation. I like liquid chelation because you simply ad fifteen drops five times per day and then use a spoonful of liquid vitamin c and vitamin e. The program I used lasts nine weeks. It goes like this: week one and two cardio restore five times per day plus vitamin c and e., week three essential restore (mineral replacement) one teaspoon per day, weeks four and five cardio restore five times per day plus vitamin c and e., week six essential restore one teaspoon per day, week 7 and 8 cardio restore five times per day plus vitamin c and e. and week nine essential restore one teaspoon per day. After the program is over you can continue on a maintenance program which Cardio Restore also carries. The cost of the nine week Cardio Restore program is $178.00 which you can order online at http://www.cardiorestore.com

By using a liquid chelation program you are using chelation to clean out any heavy metals plus clean out your veins and arteries. I feel this is the least expensive and most effective maintenance program you can do on yourself. There really aren’t any side effects and the only minor inconvenience is drinking a lot of water— at least ten glasses per day, which for a male my size, that is what I am supposed to drink anyway.

Cardio Restore offers you a complete and effective oral liquid chelation therapy program. Chelation therapy reduces calcium and other minerals and metals from the body that can build up and cause circulatory problems. By cleansing your veins and arteries you can receive numerous benefits from our chelation therapy program including:

* normalize blood flow
* provide additional blood flow to the body
* boost energy levels
* enhance memory
* improve vision
* increase mental alertness

Benefits of Cardio Restore’s Oral Chelation Therapy

Cardio Restore only offers oral liquid products. Liquids have been shown to provide up to 10x the absorption rate of pills & capsules and are more convenient & affordable than suppositories and I. V. chelation therapy treatment.

To recap I felt this was a very good program and easy to do and I was glad I did the liquid chelation. I feel more alert and less bogged down. The toxic metals that we accumulate along the way need to be removed from time to time to give us a healthy chance of beating the odds against crippling diseases.

Disclaimer: Since everyone’s body and circumstances are different if you need answers to your medical questions it is always advised to check with a medical professional. This bloggers information is simply what I did and wrote about and nothing more.

QUOTE:”The present moment is filled with joy and hapiness. If you are attentive, you
will see it.——THICH NHAT HANH

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:’Then it was springtime in the cloudy Himalayas. Nine hundred feet below my cave rhododendrons blossomed. I climbed barren mountain-tops. Long tramps led me to desolate valleys studded with translucent lakes . . . Solitude, solitude! . . . Mind and senses develop their sensibility in this contemplative life made up of continual observations and reflections. Does one become a visionary or, rather, is it not that one has been blind until then?’

Alexandra David-Neel (Magic and Mystery in Tibet, 1932) —–mysteriouspeople.com

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Siberian Tiger SIBERIAN TIGERS are endangered in the wild. Only about 350 – 420 survive in the wild (perhaps as few as 200), and 1,000 live in zoos around the World.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Drink at least 10 glasses of water per day!

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Zentraveler meets tiny angel on Costa Rican bus trip!

On the road again— man I like that feeling. There is a song with the lyrics called: “White Line Fever.” I must of caught white line fever at birth. I have always liked to travel. There are worse addictions— at least you get to live out your fantasies as you spin around the earth searching for adventure and the unknown x factor.

It was a sunny day as we pulled out of San Jose en route to Golfito on the Pacific coast. I had the window seat on the right side of the bus. It’s amazing what you can see if you concentrate at looking. To me it’s a challenge to take in as many sights as I can. While the bus driver shifts to a lower gear we begin the long climb up the mountain. Right now we are in the perfect altitude for growing coffee. You can see the ripe red berries glisten against the bright green leaves superimposed against the bright blue sky and if you look backward you can still see the outskirts of San Jose. Because of Costa Rica’s diverse temperatures and climates they have some of the best mountain coffee in the World.

The bus driver shifts into another lower gear as we began to climb even steeper terrain. With my head against the window I am able to see hundreds of wild orchids imbedded in the trees —some more than a hundred feet in the air stretching out their multi-colors as if to flag the world and deliver a signal— showcasing what nature and beauty is really about. The bus driver shifts to a lower gear as we continue our mountain climb.

Hanging on the cliff the bus-driver pulls into a rest-stop restaurant overlooking a huge valley. As we step off the bus the temperature is in the lower 50’s which you don’t expect, since when we left San Jose only three or four hours a ago, it was a balmy 80 degrees. The restaurant had native brook trout on the menu. The waiter told me they were caught fresh today from one of the small mountain streams. Wild colorful birds took flight pass our window while we finished with a cup of Costa Rican Mountain Coffee.

Back on the bus we continued to climb until we reached the summit mostly straight up the mountain. After a few hours of descent we reached the fertile farming valleys outfitted with cattle, horses, gauchos, banana trees, and pineapple plantations as far as the eye could see.

Groaning to a stop after about an eight hour bus trek we arrived in downtown Golfito. If I had to describe Golfito— some said it was the end of the world made up of xpats, Europeans, misfits, thieves and characters. There were more bars in the town than houses. Everyone had a pitch. Everyone was selling real estate or had a secret gold mine. In addition to its great fishing, rain forests, and ecotourism on deserted islands– teaming with wildlife and birds, Golfito is the preferred route for the drug trade, so you can imagine what kind of characters either floated through Golfito or just landed there and became a part of the mix. Golfito borders Panama and is the most southwestern town in Costa Rica.

I made friends with a Chinese man who owned the local Chinese restaurant. He took me up river to look at a piece of real estate. Man it’s hot in Golifito in the summer months. Someone said it was at least 112 degrees today. A tico commented to me: “Your not from here are you! Do you know how I can tell? Instead of waiting under a huge shade tree for the buses like the natives do —you stand in the hot sun melting away. Take some local tico advice during the hot of the day— try to find some shade my amigo.”

After swapping stories with the misfits, natives, and touristas I started on my return trip to San Jose. At about the halfway point I stopped off at a Costa Rican mountain town and took a room for the night. Have you ever been somewhere and it didn’t just feel right? This seem to occur all at one time. A young person spun his motorcycle around in front of the hotel’s desk and then what looked liked street gang members pulled down a locked metal gate to the outside. I felt like I was being trapped. Since my room was on the second floor I was even paranoid about a fire– thinking I wouldn’t be able to get out of there. I asked for my money back and ran down to the bus station with my backpack bouncing off my back hoping to catch a bus to San Jose.

While jumping on the last bus heading to San Jose I couldn’t have felt better about leaving my hotel. I would soon be back to San Jose where I knew my way around. I couldn’t wait to check out the vegetable and fish market, head to the main post office where they make the best coffee drinks in the world and do some serious people watching at the town’s square. You can get your picture taken with a flock of pigeons and wonder who really is the pigeon.

Just beyond the town square I always have lunch at the Gran Hotel which looks like a scene from one of Hemmingway’s novels. It is the jumping off point for most eco-adventures and the place to stay in San Jose. The luncheons are to die for with fresh vegetables, salads and fish entrees. What a street scene with well dressed waiters and waitresses serving your ever wish and Landrovers pulling in and out loaded to the gills for your tico adventure trip.

East on Av 2 is the Gran Hotel, set back from the street in a paved plaza, Costa Rica’s grande dame of accommodations. In the tradition of Central American town planning, the center of a city houses a “grand hotel,” usually the oldest and most prestigious. El Gran has a small, popular casino, and its inside restaurant is quite good. But the outdoor Café Parisien – open 24 hours – is San Jose’s best place to sit and eat or have a drink while the world passes by your table. That world might include European backpackers, vendors of painted feathers, Cuban cigar sellers, ochorena players, well-dressed theater patrons, provocative prostitutes, young language-school students, lovers young and old, camera-toting tourists, government officials, shoppers, large families, beggars – and you.

The tables have white tablecloths with fresh flowers and you can smell the aroma of steaming hot coffee as the waiters and waitresses whisk by. It’s just a great place to watch Central America come alive. You can watch well dressed businessmen from Central and South America, the fully outfitted safari traveler, local ticos talking up a storm, beautiful Central American women and some xpats with their beards, scandals and colorful shirts. Here you are also at the cultural center where you might take in a museum, a flamingo guitarist, a dance troop or the latest in global sponsored singing groups. If I won the lotto I would like to take a room here and finish one of my unfinished novels. Maybe that’s all I need to hit the mother-lode. Dream on!!!

The good feeling soon left as the bus-driver told me I would have to stand up the entire trip, except for the fact, that I was on the conductor’s stool until we rolled out of town. Rolled out of town we did with gears changing as we began our climb up the steep mountainside. Everyone was in a good mood. In fact everyone was singing as the bus driver came to an abrupt stop. The conductor ran toward a small tienda and came back with several quart bottles of beer in paper bags for the journey. As we crossed the first mountain summit I had that pit-less feeling in my gut. Trying to calm myself I told myself the bus-drivers do this mountain drive every day— they are professionals there is nothing to worry about.

Roaring through the summit we headed straight down the mountain at breakneck speeds. Was it my imagination or was I smelling burning brakes? I looked over at the bus driver and saw beads of sweat rolling down his neck. He struggled to shift from fourth gear back into third gear. The gears were grinding followed by a huge popping sound. The bus started freewheeling down the mountain. The driver took the inside lane and was brushing against the branches in order to slow it down. Everyone was still singing and didn’t even seem to notice.

The bus-driver told me to lay flat on the floor. What a feeling! I am on a runaway bus without brakes and we just popped third gear— we are actually picking up speed. At this point my only real worry was if we plunged some three or four thousand feet over the side and no-one ever found us. How would my family ever know what happened? The worst fear was lodged in my brain. I couldn’t remember even one switchback or reverse mountain road on the entire trip going the other direction. Dios Mio this is the end I thought as I whipped off a few quick prayers.

Out of nowhere a small girl in a white dress reached her hand down and grabbed my hand. Then as if the miracle was already written in stone the bus miraculously roared up the only switchback on the mountain and we came to a stop in front of a restaurant. Dressed in our t-shirts and shorts we almost froze as we retrieved our luggage. Finally inside the warm restaurant I was able to give my thanks for my safety.

I looked around in the restaurant to thank the little girl dressed in white for holding my hand during eminent danger. I even found the older woman who was previously on the end bus seat and enquired about the girl in the white dress. “What you talking about mister there was no little girl dressed in white even on the bus.” Oh sure I thought while everyone was singing and drinking beer the angel flew through the open window on a bus traveling over a hundred miles an hour going down the mountain without brakes or gears and steered it to safety.

I know know miracles do happen I am here to tell about it.

QUOTE: “By the same token, if you feel some sense of delight—if you connect with what for you is inspiring, opening, relieving, relaxing—you breathe it out, you give it away, you send it out to everyone else.” —–PEMA CHODRON

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Mothman – Alien from another world, or a being from the spiritual realm. Mothman remains one of the most paranormal of all the creatures of Cryptozoology. ——Buzzle.com

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Blacknecked Cranes The most endangered of the world’s 15 cranes, the blacknecked crane is seen on an eight rupees stamp to help preserve this species.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Keep the faith miracles do happen and when you least expect them!

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Zentraveler struggles to keep on the path!

“We are not in control and never will be. The only struggle is to stop struggling.” —Wes “Scoop” Nisker. Everyone talks about walking the path or taking the path. There is a Zen koan that talks about walking down the railroad tracks as a means of direct concentration.

“Taking a path is different from driving down a highway to work. A path has something personal about it; it implies choice or even mystery. To choose one path is to reject another. A path is a meandering walkway—-you do not rush or even drive down a pathway. A path is not goal oriented. A path is the way itself, and every moment on it is a holy moment; a sacred seeing goes on there.” —–Mathew Fox

Zen is a personal practice of Self-discovery.

“The trouble lies in your not believing in yourselves enough. Because you don’t believe in yourselves you are knocked here and there by all the conditions in which you find yourselves. Being enslaved and turned around by objective situations, you have no freedom whatever, you are not masters of yourselves.” Chan is a path that leads to freedom, individuation, and, ultimately, to salvation. It’s a practice that requires great faith, great doubt, and great perseverance. In short, it requires, in Lin Chi’s words, believing in ourselves.

And with that, may our journey begin . . . Chuan Zhi Shakya

“The Apollonian way is the path of the sun: bright and clear and straight. It is the way of most world religions, with particular attention being given by its followers to the details of correct behavior and attention to the small details of life. It is the noble way, the path to the mountaintop. Here we have precepts, liturgies and priestly practitioners guiding communities.

The other way is Dionysian. It is the way of the moon: intoxicating, crooked and dark. It is the way of the shaman and all those who would steal fire from the gods. It is the way of negation, and forgetting, the path down into the abyss. It is the way of the solitary meditator in the mountains or desert.

But let’s go to the heart of the matter. As I said the Diamond Sutra is a core text of the Prajnaparamita cycle, the path of the perfection of wisdom. This is a Dionysian wisdom, one that steals our delusions from us with all the subtlety and skill of a master pickpocket. One day we’re rich, comforted in our certainties. The next moment we’re bereft, deprived of every soothing lie we’d embraced as truth. This is the path of the Prajnaparamita, the way of the Diamond Sutra. And as Zen students, this is our path.” ——James Ishmael Ford, Sensei

I’m on the road to nowhere that’s where I’ve been. I’m on the road to nowhere that’s where I’m going. Lyrics from a song in my head. If you want to get on the path and keep on the path look for a pathfinder— it’s never to early or too late.

QUOTE: “We shall know each other or exterminate each other.” —–CARLOS FUENTES

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: “The sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick” is said to be the toughest tongue twister in English.”——greatfacts.com

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: The Otago skink (Oligosoma otagense) is an endangered species of large skink native to the central Otago region of New Zealand.——wikipedia.org

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Get on the path get off the path it’s your path to discover!

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Zentraveler walks away from back injury!

After spending the night in a lazy-boy chair because I couldn’t get up to go to bed my mother summoned a passerby the following morning to pull me out of the chair and deliver me to the chiropractor. The chiropractor did a good job of getting me back on my feet, but my lower back was still killing me and I could barely walk. After about six sessions I was felling a bit better but it hurt every-time I took a step.

Warp speed to the my last visit when I enquired about a walking program. The chiropractor
told me I would probably incur more injuries and recommended that I stay off my feet and continue my visitations until I had more closure. The following morning I was lacing up my tennis shoes when my mother reminded me that I wasn’t to walk until the healing was completed.

As if struck by lightning and oftentimes it takes a jolt I decided right then and there that I was going to try walking if it killed me. I walked about three hundred yards up to the firehouse and back. From then on it was all down hill. I eventually walked a block, then three blocks, then one quarter of a mile, one-half a mile and then a mile. Each time reminding myself and thanking my lucky stars that I could walk. I also remembered my chiropractor weighted in at around 400 hundred pounds and was he the guy that was going to determine my life. Many times you must go against the grain and do what you think is the right thing. As we all know we didn’t come with an operating manual.

My Uncle Lewis had disc surgery on his back and was never the same again. My personal belief is if you have a one in a million chance of allowing your back to heal without the surgery take the chance. There are some recent stats floating around that indicate as high as eighty percent of the back surgeries are unnecessary. However, which ever way you go you are not off the hook. If you decide to not have back surgery then you will need to make a tremendous effort to establish a walking program that will fit your body and personality.

The easiest method is to purchase a calendar and write down your walking on a daily basis.
You will be amazed by just establishing your goals and writing down the mileage you are ahead of the game. Since I started my walking program I have walked a minimum of one thousand miles per year over the last 5 years. An average week might go something like this: five miles on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday which is 20 miles per week times four equals 80 miles per month times 12 equals nine hundred sixty miles. If you make it that far we will bonus you the extra 40 miles. Just another reward for starting a walking program. Another way to measure your five mile effort— it takes approximately one hour and fifteen minutes with a rather quick pace.

Start with a five minute walk and increase the minutes until you reach your desired goal adjusting the program to fit you. Repetion is the key. The key is repetion. I need to repeat my steps. Don’t fall off the watermellon wagon after twelve steps. You certainly can do better than Brittany Spears and George Bush. Go ahead take that thirteenth step you are on your way my friend— keep walking and never look back

Oh great just another program. I don’t think I have walked five miles in my entire life. The thing about a walking program— you can do it anywhere and you can get started with one step. All you need is a pair of walking shoes or tennis shoes and you are off to the races. The key is to decide that the benefits are stacked on your side and get started. It wouldn’t surprise me if someone decides to walk around the World. So if that is your goal better start walking or I will commit you to life in your lazy-boy. It’s your choice and now you can make this a part of your operating manual that you never received at birth. WALK -A-BOUT ! By cracky is that Ayers Rock in Australia I just passed. Me thinks this walking is the way to go— see you in Tasmania mate and don’t forget to keep track of your tracks.

QUOTE:
To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself…Anybody can have ideas–the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph. —— MARK TWAIN wisdomquotes.com

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Mungo man- Although resembling modern humans, Mungo man appears to have been a separate species. His unique DNA has been used to challenge the ‘out of Africa’ theory of human evolution. convictcreations.com

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: The Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) is a lemur native to Madagascar that combines rodent-like teeth with a long, thin middle finger to fill the same ecological niche of a woodpecker. It is the world’s largest nocturnal primate, and is characterized by its unique method of finding food; it taps on trees to find grubs, then gnaws holes in the wood and inserts its elongated middle finger to pull the grubs out.
——Wikipedia

ZENTRAVELER SAYS always park your motor car so far away that you and your friends will think you are hiking to the nearest restaurant, mall, or venue and may need a travel guide to return. Now that’s walking!

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Zentraveler tracks rare dinosaurs in Guatemala!

I love Guatemala it’s so dam crazy it’s hypnotic. Pagans in the villages mixed with the High Priests and the most colorful handicrafts in the World. I entered Guatemala by mistake. I was stranded in Belize during a tropical hurricane. There were no buses running in either direction, no flights in or out and all the water taxis were broken down. It was a freaking mess with trees down and the electricity out– I was concerned we would run out of food.

Drowning in rain and maybe my beers a young military man and his girlfriend invited me to go by Naval launch to Livingston, Guatemala. En route we went up one one of the tributaries appropriately named The Monkey River where we witnessed many huge Iguanas leaning over the water stretched out from the trees. They were bright red and orange and some over six foot long. I have often thought this might be the place I eventually hang my hat. Can you imagine my address Zentraveler Monkey River somewhere in the Americas.

Leaving Livingston we headed up the Rio Dulce (sweet river) in a tuc-tuc- native mahaghony barca. The riverboat operator told me this was the original site for the first Tarzan movies. Miles and miles of jungle cascading down to the rivers edge with monkey families hopping through the trees foraging for fruits and berries. All we needed was some grapevines and the lines “me Tarzan her Jane” to finish the jungle movie set as we cruised up river taking in the sights and smells. Talk about a jungle cruise it’s sweet, sweet, sweet.

After spending time in one of the river hot springs and going through a natural preserve we arrived at the yacht basin for xpats and anyone who wants to keep a low profile from the hustle and bustle of city life. I left my barca wood transport, climbed up to the bridge, and hopped a bus to Guatemala City. If you were missing the hustle and bustle you can definitely get your belly full in a hurry as you arrive downtown Guatemala City. Horns blowing, people carrying things and moving in every direction. The entire street is moving— it reminds you of an ant factory. You can’t help but wonder where everyone is going and what they are doing. Keep moving or you will get swept off your feet or at least asphyxiated by the bus fumes as they roar through town with people on top and hanging all over the buses and out the side doors. Talk about being centered this is a good place to keep your wits about you. Keep moving is the best advice anyone ever gave me when entering a strange city for the first time. You can always head for a first class hotel to get directions and get your bearings plus Central American coffee is to die for.

I checked into our American Embassy and gave them an itinerary just in case some monsters and such carried my carcass away without telling anyone. From there I met with the Guatemalan Tourism Department and submitted a book outline on the fishes and ecotourism guide to Guatemala. I love this crazy Country so much I was trying to extend my stay for a few years. While in the Guatemalan Tourist Office the telephone rang about every 30 seconds. The tourism director would limp up to the big desk and talk rapid espanol. He was very animated and seemed disturbed. He would come back down as I was trying to pitch my book outline. I finally said is this a bad time?

Moments later he told me to grab my passport, book outline, and move toward the third floor elevator. He grabbed me by the arm and rushed me into the elevator. On the way down he explained we would be getting into his bulletproof BMW and exit most rapido.
With machine guns lined up in the ready position we screeched and sped onto the main avenue. As he proceeded toward the outskirts of Guatemala he informed me he used to be in charge of Transportation and Finances and froze all of the government employees salary for three months. With a sly snickered black mustache he indicated he was glad they didn’t capture us because the last time he went for a month with just a little ground flour and water and was holed up at gunpoint in the basement of the Federal Building. I always wandered why I was a hostage or did he just want my good company. Dios Mio who knows!

After dropping me off at the outskirts of Guatemala he handed me a card of an x-american who worked with the Guatemalan Tourist Department in the past. I took a taxi and arrived at one of the small mountain villages unannounced. Dressed in a dapper kaki outfit with a pith helmet he invited me into his study where he had his maid servant bring us each a glass of brandy. I proceeded to show him the book outline and he swore a blue streak. “Are you telling me they won’t provide a vehicle for your photographs or at least give you travel vouchers between here and the states. You have put a tremendous amount of work into this and you don’t even want paid. Hell they gave someone $300,000 last year for a feasibility study on walnut trees. I wish I was well— we would both tackle this project it’s so important for the tourism of Guatemala. I wasted my life writing books you know there’s no damn money in it. At least I get to spend my golden years in the tropics and that’s something some of them fat cats will never be able to do. I got my reward after-all I love Guatemala it grows on you. Viva la buena vida mi amigo!”

As the sun set in the west he started showing me his fossil collection and told about a Natural Sciences Museum that he and his friend were outfitting in Honduras. When the sun ducked behind the trees he looked at me and asked me If I was interested in dinosaurs.
“If you really want a story I can tell you of a place that still has living dinosaurs in the lost mountain range of the Rip Valley. If you are up for it we will leave bright and early in the morning. I see you have a camera what kind is that?” It’s a Nikon 35 mm black cased professional model with a wide-angle and telephoto lens and plenty of film. He laughed like a little kid. ” I can’t wait until we break this story this will give those pseudo-scientists something to chew about.”

Winding through the mountains in a black 1949 Studebaker I wandered If he was just plain crazy or just a little eccentric. He broke into a loud Italian opera voice as we rolled upward through yet another switchback. He pulled directly into the Jungle along a river tributary. We traveled another three hours along a washed out mud road until we arrived at a stone chapel with a connecting guest house set in the middle of nowhere. Just then a High Priest came out and warmly greeted us both. Just in time for “Monk’s Stew” even though I am not a monk I make everything myself. I am totally self-sufficient. I mostly rely on the coconut, some planted yams and wild berries. I also catch my fair share of wild game and fish. I wouldn’t trade this life for all of the money on Wallstreet.”

“Shall we give our guest our special rocking chair while we chat?” Walking out the door to the outside patio there it was the largest rocking chair I had ever seen. I believe it would have held two tandem giants with room for a few grand-babies. The arms were over nine feet long and the rockers at least 15 feet. “Do you know what the rocking chair is made of the High Priest enquired?” I answered Petrified Wood. “Not a bad answer. The answer my amigo is this is the only dinosaur rocking chair in the World. One of my parishioners told me about it and sure enough one day it just arrived. There is a lot of mystery in these mountains. You know we are just outside the Dinosaur extinction belt which wiped most of the dinosaurs out in Central America. Here in the Rip Valley I have seen many dinosaurs over the years and so has my friend Levy. Levy tells me you bought your camera equipment. I hope you are shooting some ultra fast speed film because these dinosaurs almost fly. You have to be crazy fast or extremely lucky to even see one yet alone capture one on film. If you are ready we will venture into the valley. Here take that walking stick you will need it.”

Holy batman look at these animal trails they are 15 foot wide and looks like a herd of elephants have been rummaging through here for years. Look at the tracks imbedded in the rock formations they must be thousands of years old. Do the dinosaurs make a noise I enquired? “Oh yea you will hear them soon. They start off with a loud growl and make a high pitched shrill sound when alarmed which can be heard from miles away. Going under a limestone cavern we entered a grass plain that looked like it was out of Africa. “There don’t move a muscle I see em feeding at the watering hole through the thick grasses.” Just then they scented us and bleated like a raped donkey. I grabbed my camera and tried to focus as they disappeared into the jungle. They were about three times the size of an elephant, grayish brown with camouflage patches of color, short pointed ears, and about thirty feet in length with a long bushy tail. You could hear the jungle erupt as they stampeded up the far side of the Rip Valley. I shot three quick shots hoping I at least captured their hind-ends if nothing else.

Days later while exploring the town of Antigua Guatemala I picked up my roll of photos only to see a grey blur superimposed on the sun. I might as well have tried to photograph a ghost as trying to capture these creatures. Maybe they know something we don’t. At least they have longevity on there side. While exploring Antigua Guatemala I visited several historic cathedrals, the Ruins of the Convent of Santa Clara and toured the cobblestone streets marveling at the excellent spanish architecture. The food and restaurants are some of the most wonderful restaurants I have experienced anywhere. One restaurant run by a German tour-guide had black rabbits and peacocks waltzing around the courtyard as he served piping hot homemade German black bread with cheese.

Based at the foot of a Volcano the air is pure and the sky is blue. I could definitely see myself hanging here for quite a while. From there I went to the colorful crafts market and took the bus to the third deepest lake in the world Lake Atitlan. I ferried across the water to the San Pedro Volcano where I met several different tribes with multi-striped pants and small black felt hats. Each tribe has it’s own language and cannot communicate with the other tribes. I had my Fenwick pack-rod and caught quite a few large bass on a fly-rod fishing out of a rowboat. (maybe a first with the fly-rod. It definitely caught the native fisherman’s attention) Just reflecting in the small town I saw a parade with Jesus on the cross coming right toward me. Was this a sign? Dios Mio I’m out of here!

On the ferry ride back I could only imagine what kind of large creepy, crawly, creatures could be lurking in Lake Atitlan and then I dozed off in the sun as we headed toward the town of Panajachel nicknamed “Gringo Heaven” by some of the locals.

If you like a country full of contrast, characters, colorful scenery, volcanoes, Mayan ruins and the unknown—- Guatemala might be just the place for you!

QUOTE: EXTINCTION IS FOREVER!
——Unknown

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:
” After exploring and studying Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, Auburn University geologist says he’s convinced that dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago by a giant meteorite that struck earth.

David King Jr., an associate professor in the Department of Geology, is among those scientists who believe the collision in Mexico –which spewed gases and debris throughout the atmosphere, causing wildfires and choking off the sunlight — directly lead to the dinosaurs’ demise.

“There were a lot of changes happening on the earth 65 million years ago,” King said. “Different animals were under a great deal of stress from these changes. One of the changes was that this meteorite struck the earth, threw a lot of debris into the atmosphere, made it much colder for a long period of time . . . caused acid rain, wildfires. It was the most catastrophic event that the earth has experienced at least within the last 65 million years.”

The collision also caused an earthquake that would today register about 13 on the Richter scale, King added.

“That’s something we (humans) have never experienced,” he said. “The energy released at impact is estimated to equal 114 million megatons of TNT — which accounts for the spread of ejecta for hundreds of miles.”

The debris crater being studied by King and his colleagues through the Planetary Society of Pasadena, Calif., is located in Belize, Central America. The crater is about 200 miles from the actual site of the meteorite’s impact, King said. But it is the largest known crater on Earth — and the largest to have formed in our inner solar system within the past three billion years.

Scientists estimate that the meteorite was about six miles in diameter. At impact, it created a crater some 115 miles in diameter.

“Ejecta deposits once covered much of the Yucatan region of Mexico, northern Guatemala and Belize,” King said.” —— auburn.edu

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: HABITAT LOSS

“Habitat loss is recognized as the greatest threat to most plants and animals on the list of threatened and endangered species. Many people are also aware of other activities that directly harm listed species, such as killing and over-exploitation for trade purposes. Unfortunately, these are not the only dangers. With human assistance, species from one part of the world are invading other regions that have no defense against them. These invaders can be as large as a snake, as small as a bacterium, or as seemingly harmless as a wildflower. Other threats, such as contaminants from industrial and agricultural sources, are often unseen until they cause fish die-offs, malformed frogs, or thin-shelled eggs. This edition of the Bulletin takes a look at these lesser-known threats.”

——ENDANGERED SPECIES BULLETIN U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERIES

Zentraveler says if the travel gets to rough get some travel insurance you might need it!

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