It was the perfect combination of adventure and relaxation, and reminded me of the value of playtime in the greater scheme of life.
We like to see kids having a healthy amount of playtime, but what about us adults? Two sayings come to mind (if you've had a reading with me, you might have noticed I like idioms, axioms and aphorisms).
The first, I heard from my father: “All work and no play leaves Jack a very dull boy.”
The second comes from Mark Twain: “Travel is fatal to prejudice.”
It's not always easy, or feasible, to take a vacation. But in whatever way you can, find a way to do it. It'll renew your spirit, and give you fresh perspectives.
Perhaps, when we're hammering away at a problem (and feeling unsuccessful), the solution to our dilemma might be found in taking a break from trying!
Before we boarded the boat, we spent a few days in Tikal, in the north of Guatemala. Being in the jungle is not for the squeamish. Shortly after we checked into our lodge, my friend Michelle and I discovered a large furry spider, a scorpion, and a centipede in our room. We also saw, in the woods nearby, two snakes, a foot-high ant hill, and plenty of mosquitoes.
I'd brought along an organic insect repellant, which I purchased in New York for twelve bucks. Twelve bucks for insect repellant, to my mind, equaled EFFECTIVE.
Plus, it was organic, so after I sprayed it on, I proudly turned to Michelle and read her the list of ingredients: “Geranium oil, Rosemary, Mint...”
She smirked at me midstream: “They’re gonna eat that for lunch.”
“Well, I think I’m covered!” I replied.
We got up at 4am, to meet a guide named Juan, who was to escort us deep into the jungle, where we were to watch the dawning of the day, amongst the ruins of the Maya.
20 minutes in, I was scratching my arms and calves. Someone in our group chose this time to mention we were in a “malarial hot zone.”
I said, “Hey, Michelle, you got any more of that DEET?”
In the above recording, you'll hear, in the background, behind the louder colorful sounds, two birds calling to one another in a low key, “Whoot! Whoot! (pause) Whoot! Whoot! (pause) Whoot! Whoot!”
Those are Mot Mots. I never actually saw one, unfortunately, but they are stunning birds! I did see Emerald Tucanettes, a Keel Billed Tucan, a Lineaded Woodpecker, Crested Guangs, and others.
One of my favorite birds was the Montezuma Oropendola. You can hear him about 40 seconds into the above recording. Then again, at 55 seconds. He sounds something like the Hollywood caricature of a native-American Indian from a 1930’s Western. As he issues his call, he bows deeply from his branch.
If you want to see any of the birds I’ve mentioned, google search their names, then click on ‘images’.
For me, the prized sighting of the trip was the Cuttle fish. Two of them floated about a meter away from Michelle and me. They scrutinized us carefully, electric currents pulsing down their backs.
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