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I’m Back!

January 11, 2013

Dear Reader,

I’m back from my journey to the south and east, which took me from freezing Illinois all the way to Roatan, Honduras, with many stops in between.  Because I am so bad about taking pictures, preferring to experience life through my own eyes instead of a viewfinder, I made a conscious effort this time to take some pictures to share with all of you.

The trip overall was only tolerable.  I was gone 14 days, you see, but only had positive things happen 4 of them.  The other 10 were a trial.  However, the 4 that were good were quite good.  Well, most of them were.  Two of them, at any rate.

The first was in Honduras, where my wife and I went to swim with dolphins.  We got a half hour in the water just meeting a dolphin, getting to pet it, etc.  Then we got a half hour with a satan pipe, which some people call a snorkel, to swim around with a lot of dolphins.  In the first half, I was able to snap a few pictures, despite the fact that I am normally lousy at it.  Here’s one mid-flip.


Here’s how we were getting to interact with the dolphin; we got to pet her several times.


Afterwards, we swam around with a snorkel.  I’m a good swimmer, and I’ve been scuba diving before, but I haven’t snorkeled.  It seems to me that the snorkel is a device designed by cruel Poseidon to allow his salt water unfettered access into your lungs.  When I swim, I can simply hold my breath and have unlimited mobility.  When I scuba, I can breathe freely and have unlimited mobility.  When I snorkel, I have to be conscious every second of my position or end up choking on salt water.

To add to that, dolphins have a sadistic sense of humor.  We were warned that some of them liked to approach swimmers and open their mouth as if they were going to bite them, or, alternatively, actually clamp down “gently” on a person’s arm or foot.  They did this, we were told, to get a scared reaction.  We were warned not to react if they played this trick, as it encouraged them and other dolphins to continue to torment you.  That actual prank wasn’t presented, but I noted that the dolphins were masters of swimming at exactly the depth at which one’s snorkel would go under water, causing inexperienced snorkelers to get a lungful of brine.  Dolphins and I have something in common, it seems.

The brochure for this sea encounter explicitly promised that we would be allowed to “kiss” the dolphins.  I found this odd and made many sexual jokes about it.  However, despite all the pain and suffering upper respiratory system endured, I was not allowed to french a dolphin’s blow hole.  This was as good as it gets.  Forgive my partial nudity; my wife INSISTED I use my picture rather than hers.


The next day we were in Belize, and I went tubing through Xibalba, the cave the Mayans thought was the gate to hell.  That one can ride an inflatable tube through a place that roughly translates into “land of fear” says a lot about Americans.  However, it was a pretty awesome experience; I’ve been river rafting before, and I’ve been tubing, and I’ve done some VERY light spelunking, and combining them all was pretty neat.

Our guide asked us on the way, “How many of you watched the video for what you’ll be doing?”  No hands went up.  “Okay,” he continued, “How many of you are afraid of the dark?”  A few hands.  “Tight spaces?”  A few hands.  “Swimming with spiders?  Snakes?  Crocodiles?”  Each question elicited a few more hands.  “Well,” he concluded.  “You’ll be doing all of those things today.  You,” he paused dramatically, “will be going to hell.”

He was partially right.  Inner tubes are not built for people of my “stature,” so I had to hold my head at an awkward angle for about 90 minutes, which resulted in searing neck pain the next day.  Worth it?  Probably, but it certainly was a pain in the neck…

Not only did we tube, but we hiked through some rain forest before hand.  I snapped a picture on the bus as we were advised not to bring anything that wasn’t waterproof.  Here’s what rural Belize looks like.


The next day, I didn’t feel like doing anything strenuous since my neck was in nigh-unendurable pain, so we just went into the port.  It was rather boring.  Here’s a picture of a lion cub and a jaguar cub that were being “”demoed” (exploited) for a “fundraiser” (profit).  I snapped the picture surreptitiously since they were charging 25 bucks to get a polaroid with one of them for their “charity” (scam).




On the final day, all I wanted to do was scuba, which was my only goal for the trip.  Instead, I went to “Salsa y salsa,” where I made salsa and danced, one of which is one of my least favorite activities, since I can’t really coordinate more than 2 of my body parts to move at a time.  I was complemented on my “latin hips,” so apparently I have the moves, but simply can’t get all 3 components of the dance – arms, hips, and feet – working at the same time.

Making salsa was okay, though; we made seven varieties.  Here are my parents probably listening to me complain incessantly about having to dance.  Yes, we all wore toques and aprons.  This is something I did instead of experiencing the weightless wonders of the deep while viewing sights few humans have ever seen.


Making the salsa was okay, I guess, and it was nice to do something with my parents in a public place where they couldn’t fight the whole time.  Here are two of the seven varieties we made being displayed by my lovely wife, who won’t be pleased when she learns I used this picture!

So in the end, it was a good 4 (2) days.  Too bad they were sandwiched in 14 days and the other 10 sucked so bad.  I had to watch Downton Abbey, too. Let me summarize a two hour episode for you: a couple fought about money, and a man lost all his shirts.  Really.  Two hours.

Thank god I’m home.

Normal, game-topical posts resume next week.



2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 11, 2013 7:05 am

    Welcome home!

  2. January 11, 2013 12:14 pm

    Welcome back, big boy! 🙂 And yes, the irony of me calling anyone else “big” is definitely not lost on me. 🙂

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