Belize, Guatemalla, Chiapas

Security is an illusion.Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.Hellen Keller

El viajeCashcoon, (Cancun) Chichen Itza, Telum, Chetumal, Belize City, Belmopan, Flores, Tikal, Palenque, Playa del Carmen, CashcoonOver 2800 miles -4 Southern Mexican States, Belize & GuatemalaHighlights-Exploring in awe, the mysterious Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza, Telum, Tikal & PalenqueEl Castillo-Chichen Itza Palenque (PICS by Zo)-Hanging out at Flores Lake in Guatemala-Hiking along Agua Azul and Misol-Ha WaterfallsAqua Azul Misol-Ha -Canoeing up Rio Usumacinta in remote jungle territory, bordering Mexico and Guatemala where a heavy concentration of Zapatistas continue to wage war with the Mexican government.-Hanging out at beautiful Playa del Carmen-Motorbiking around Cozumel Isla-Hiking the Hotel Zone-- 20 Kilometers of storied beach in CashcoonMy Amigo Zo and I wasted no time getting out of Cashcoon where the T-shirt of choice seems to be.......One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, Floor! We considered a flight to the forbidden island- Cuba, only a half hour away on an old Russian built aircraft, but did not want to risk getting fined.Our first stop was Chichen Itza, the most famous and best restored of the Yucatan Peninsula's Mayan sites. We took in the light and sound show that evening and dined at a street taqueria for $2. Our favorite part of the day was the trek up to the Red Jaguar.Red Jaguar Throne"El Tunnel," the passage up to the throne, is up a steep, narrow stairway. The climb was slippery, sweltering, and a bit claustrophobic. From Chichen Itza we traveled to Telum on the Caribbean Sea. We consumed several cervezas at a beach side bar before retiring to our primitive cabana.The next day we headed for Chetumal on the border with Belize. Our plan was to do some snorkeling in Belize, but we hit Belize City in a torrential downpour and so decided to continue on through Belize to Flores, Guatemala, close to the Tikal ruins.Zo was having chills and feeling sick. Upon arrival, we checked into a minus-10-star hotel, for $8 , and went to dinner on the lake. Zo was barely able to get anything down. I stuffed myself with shrimp and cocktails.A hard days nightZo developed a fever and was not doing well at all. After making another trip to the bathroom, he fainted and hit the floor with a crash.His shoulder was injured and he had no range of motion in his right arm.The rest of the evening was pure hell for both of us as we were feverishly sweating and ants were crawling all over us. The next day, Zo stayed in bed and I went to the ruins at Tikal but was struggling with nausea. I felt better after a nice vomiting session.Although I was not feeling well enough to fully appreciate these fabulous ruins in the middle of the jungle, I did enjoy sightings of several howler monkeys, a coatamundi, red parrot and a crocodile.Sala, si usted puede (Get out, if you can)That night we decided to continue with our original plans of making a loop and going to Palenque Chiapas. We were both feeling lousy but we had to suck it up and get back somehow. We contracted with a local tourist group to get us to Palenque. We were told that it would take four or five hours on a good road. It didn't quite work out that way. Good roads are relative to the environment.We spent close to eight hours on a dirt road traveling through the Guatemala jungle. At the end of the road was a wide river. Our bus trip was over. Here we took a canoe upriver for about ten miles through the Lacondon Jungle to a Mexican Army control point. Rio Usumacinta (PIC by Zo)This remote pocket of jungle area (written up in the world's most dangerous places book) is where many EZLN (Zapatista National Liberation Army) hide and operate, presently waging only a propaganda war against the Mexican Government.History (Note: This data was extracted from Lonely Planet)In 1994 this left-wing peasant group took over government offices in three location of Chiapas. They were dispersed by the Mexican Army within a few days but more than150 people were killed in the fighting. The peasants retreated to the mountains and jungle. Their goal was to overturn the corrupt wealthy power in the state, where most indigenous people were impoverished, lacking education, health care and other fundamental civil rights.Subcommandante MarcosThe Zapitistas attracted world wide support and sympathy.Their leader, subcommandante Marcos, became and continues to be a folk-hero in Mexico and beyond.In 1997 & 1998 tension and killings escalated in Chiapas. Zapatistas' enemies formed para military organizations to drive Zapatista supporters from their villages. Violence reached it's worst point with the Acteal massacre.In 1999, the Mexican Army had approximately 60,000 troops in Chiapas and launched a campaign of intimidation against dozens of pro-Zapatista villages. Thousands fled to the Jungle.In 2001 the Zapatistas made a much publicized journey to Mexico City.The president, Vicente Fox, presented a bill granting rights to Mexico's indigenous people, however Congress watered down the provisions and today there is still an impasse as the Zapatistas rejected the law as a basis for peace talks. Back to the control pointAfter we were thoroughly interrogated regarding the possibility of being pro-Zapatistas, we were allowed to move on. We got a ride to a bus and then finally made it to Palenque.Palenque is gorgeous and we had a good day hiking. We planned on traveling to San Cristobol next. However, the following day Zo started having more "episodes" and was not eating. Lobo had been treating his ailment with cervezas and burritos but was not feeling real crisp. So we decided it would be best to move towards Cashcoon and spend some time relaxing in Playa del Carmen.Riders on the StormWe took an 11 hour, all night bus to Playa del Carmen through torrential rain. The air conditioning was cranked up all the way, freezing our shorts clad bodies. Time after time we were stopped by imposing roadblocks. The Federales would board and search for Zapatistas and/or banditos who make a living robbing night buses. It was impossible to get any sleep.In beautiful Playa del Carmen we treated ourselves to a very nice hotel and hung out for a few days. Zo had not eaten for five days and decided to seek "professional" attention. We went to an emergency Doctor's office located in a sleazy hotel room. Inside, we heard loud grunting noises. We knocked on the door.A loud "uno minuto" came from inside and then we heard the toilet flush.I decided to forego treatment. Zo was given an ampicillan prescription that, as it turned out, can be bought over the counter in Mexico. He was also given a prescription for a big bottle of horrible tasting anti-diarrhea serum.On to Cashcoon (Cancun)We returned to Cashcoon in order to see a bullfight. Although we hated the hotel zone we nonetheless stayed in a nice resort room that overlooked the beautifully colored Caribbean Sea. We had cervezas at the Hard Rock Cafe but failed to make it to the Mecca--Senor Frog's.It was wonderful to pay $7 for a one-scoop ice cream cone at the mall.The World Trade Organization was meeting and the atmosphere was tense. Military and police were everywhere. Three Mexican naval vessels (WW2 vintage) could be seen from shore.A Japanese protester had stabbed himself, and rocks were being hurled at the riot squad. Access to the Toro Bravos arena was barricaded and our cab driver had to turn around and try to get in from the South. He did a stellar job of driving around and through protesters, army, and police to get us to the arena on time. We were estatic. We would finally see the bullfight that has eluded us for many years. But, what's this? The bullfight was canceled--with no refunds!Somebody else stole our cab and we were left in the middle of this melee. We decided to head for the Mercado, have a few cervezas and forget about this whole ugly incident. En route we somehow ended up crossing through the protesters' tent camp and headquarters. We resisted the urge to become violent after missing the bullfight and went shopping instead. Get Back to where you once belongWe arrived at the airport five hours early to be certain that we would get out of Cashcoon. Fifty cent Coronas and a free shot of tequila at the airport did not change our attitude about Cashcoon. We hate it!!!Men Behaving badly-Zo for having frequent "episodes" and at one time dropping our only roll of TP in the toilet.Zo for becoming cranky and irritable and at one point, after an 11 hour all night bus ride, snapping at El Lobo Grande.-Zo for accusing El Lobo Grande of behaving like a dirty old man when encountering topless beauties on the beach. This is such a crock! I hardly noticed those luscious, perky TaTas.-Zo's grunting doctor, who charged $80 to write a prescription for an over the counter medication.El Lobo for estimating a beach walk to a point in the hotel zone to be only a mile. So I was short by only seven miles?Playa del Carmen venders--Lobo had to endure cat calls of "Bandito" when walking down the street due to his tough negotiation skills.EpilogueThe day after returning, Lorenzo was not having any "episodes." He left for a decadent weekend in Las Vegas to see the De La Hoya fight.Lorenzo Martinez lives in Mesa Arizona and works at the State Legislature. He enjoys rock climbing.El Lobo went to his doctor and is currently taking a strong dose of Ciproflaxin and Matronidazole. (His costs were only $60) Lobo attended a reception with spouse at the Nelson Fine Art's Museum at Arizona State. It featured Mexican folk Art. After the reception El Lobo polished off an entire pizza. He presently is able to pass gas comfortably and confidently. He enjoys Canyoneering and rock concerts. Daily activities include working on his yoga practice, tennis and listening to surf music.El Lobo Grande lives in Scottsdale Arizona with his wife Gerry and daughter, Cody.

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