Caracol Archaeological Site
Cayo District, Belize, Central America
June 4, 2019
“Caracol is the largest Maya archaeological site in Belize, Central America. In AD 650, the urban area of Caracol had a radius of approximately 10 kilometers around the site’s epicenter.”(http://www.caracol.org/about/history/)
7:00 and Mom taps on the door…”You up? We are going to workout if you want to go” makes me weigh the options of laying in bed for a bit longer or heading into the village for a workout. Once I’m out of bed and moving around it doesn’t matter anyways, so I threw some clothes on zoomed out the door while Mom and Dave wait for me in the paddleboat to go across the canal. They were a bit behind after waiting on me so they went ahead on the bikes and I walked in behind them.
I’ve never lived in a small town for an extended period of time but being in the village makes me appreciate the balance between a slow pace and productivity. Walking from our place at Sunset Pointe to Evolution Beach Gym takes about 10-15 minutes so it’s a nice way to get warm before starting your workout. When I arrived, Gallo had some plans for us so instead of working out we took the bikes down to the new location of for the gym. We rolled down Main Street like it was a welcoming tour for him…everybody knows him so he gets a tremendous amount of love from the community. I took the opportunity to film the trip to create a video for “The Evolution of Evolution Beach” so when we got there he shared his vision for the beachfront lot that included weightlifting areas, platforms for group exercises, and a small cafe.
While we were by the docks, a woman named Keesha yelled at Gallo and asked what we were taking pictures of so I introduced myself and learned that she had just opened Numada Holistic Massage and Spa in front of the Pier and will be expanding it into a cultural center for traditional food, therapies, and education. A sign out front displays herbal teas and you can smell the cassava and callaloo cooking from around the corner. I will be heading back over there this week to record an episode of the podcast so be ready to learn a lot more about Keesha and her work!
After hanging around with them for a bit we checked out one more area of the beach and headed back to the gym where Melanie was giving Mom and Dave their post-workout massages while their neighbor Anton Leslie was working on some of his handmade foam art. He has created a process of sculpting signs, sea creatures, and even people (You’ll meet Percy soon) out of foam and fiberglass. The spectrum of his artistic abilities bring these carvings to life when he paints them with extreme detail, truly expressing the character of the piece. His current lineup includes Lionfish, Sea Turtles, Spotted Rays, and a Life-size recreation of Percy, a famous tour guide in Belize. Check back to The Grassfed Blog for a specialized post on Anton and his art including a video introduction.
There’s only one question that you ask after leaving the gym: “Where are we going for breakfast?” And today’s answer was the same as yesterday’s: The place next to the fruit stand. Burritos and Watermelon Juice again for me, Tacos and a Stuff Jack for Mom and Dave…Life is Good. A guy at the bar had an Evolution Beach Gym shirt on so I asked if I could take a picture which sparked a conversation and when he saw Mom he realized I was their son. He works at Taste Belize and they had met him when going to the shop for some Moringa. He turns out to be good friends with Gallo and I soon would be friends with him too.
After breakfast we went home and I got some work done until I finally remembered that I needed to get my bottle from the airport so we did what we always say we won’t do: Went out for a bike ride at the hottest time of the day! Mom and I rode up to Maya Island Air with the wind in our face, we were riding directly into it so I ended up getting a workout after all. With my bottle in hand we found some lunch, I experimented with meat for the first time in a couple of months and I was not impressed with the way my body reacted so I will likely continue stay away from it. I stocked up on Watermelon Juice and rode over to Gallo’s when I saw him and Wilder (the guy from breakfast) drinking on the picnic table by the carwash. They informed me that it was a holiday (Belize Labor Day) and that I could not work, I had to drink.
The bottle lead us to the pier to sit by the fishing docks and talk with some of the guys in the village when I met a man they call Yaps, the founder of the Belize Seaweed Farmers movement. He began harvesting Seaweed about 10 years ago and now they are processing it and packaging it for export. “One Foot in the Land and One Foot in The Sea!” Was his answer when I asked if he like the bush… I had already realized that he was being extremely humble about his experiences. When he left some of the guys made remarks regarding his importance in the village, “He did it first and now he is teaching everyone to do it, he is a legend.”
After the watermelon juice was out I decided to head towards some food…it was homeward bound for this dude. I rode home without falling until I hopped off the bike and it fell under me, as my brother Chris would say, “You gotta pay to play!” A quick paddle board across the canal and I was back home. The rest of the day was a hunt for food that never really happened It’s almost 10 AM and I haven’t consumed anything but some fruit this morning and 2 Mai Tai’s last night…I think it’s time to get some food.
Yesterday I learned that When in Belize, you do as Belizeans…and it was a holiday, so I drank.
April 30, 2019
The whole “too excited to sleep” faded real quick when I got showered and into bed last night, so there was definitely some struggle getting out of bed this morning but a quick reminder of where I am was all I needed to jump up and get the day started, first mission: workout with Gallo.
I expected to walk up to the Evolution Beach with Mom and Dave then continue on to the airport to pick up the bottle of vodka that awaits me from the Duty Free shop, but once I walked into the gate I felt I had to choice but to workout…there was no reason I couldn’t wait to get the bottle. This is a good bit of progress that is happening in more area than fitness and it is allowing me to excel!
After a great workout, we made the decision to eat at the breakfast spot behind the fruit stand so breakfast burritos and watermelon juice it was. My eyes were bigger than my stomach so I had a nice snack for later, the highlight of the meal was the fresh watermelon juice without any added sugar…something I do not get in the U.S. Mom has favorite places to eat that vary on the moon cycle so it’s always fun to see what she likes when I come in town.
The feeling of accomplishment after a workout is something I have missed over the last few years, while completely transforming my lifestyle I dropped my prior exercise habits and am just now getting back on that train. With a full belly I wondered over to Tyrone’s Wood Shop (Belizean Handicrafts) to catch up with favorite person on the sidewalk, his spirit is refreshing each and every time I see him…there’s never a bad feeling around him, just joy. His wood carvings are some of the best I have seen in the country, learning from his father as a child propelled him into the scene and he has only advanced since then. Today he mentioned the evolution of the process, while he once used a sharpened butter knife he is not utilizing advanced saws that allow him to work at a much higher productivity.
Upon getting home I experienced my favorite part of returning to Belize, the fruit. I don’t waste my time eating imported fruit at home, the reoccurring let down that follows a commercial pineapple is something I wish not to partake in. Mom had stocked up on the way home so I watched her use a pineapple carver for the first time, this tool cores the pineapple and separates it from the skin while spirally cutting it all the way down….MAGIC!
Several servings of Soursop, Payapa, and Pineapple later I was full and sat down to discuss some work until it was time to eat again. I debated on going up to the airport but settled for the thought of “Mista Pick Up” the local version of UberEats bringing it to me at our restaurant. The most difficult choice of the day is always where to eat dinner…so tonight’s decision was Yucatan Taco Stand. On the way we were delayed by our interest in the expansion of the village softball field where a group of guys were setting up a backstop to get ready for a big game this weekend. Growing up in a family of baseball and softball players, it’s awesome to get some action while we are here! We plan on heading back on Sunday to watch the game.
Yucatan Taco Stand is right in the heart of the village across from the softball field, it is relatively new and has continuously impressed us each time we have been in. I ordered the veggie nachos and was very impressed with the assortment of veggies that were piled on top, I planned on getting some fish but they didn’t offer it on the nachos. It’s impressive to see when a restaurant can hold their own on a vegetarian dish, not many places provide an equal serving compared to the size of meat you receive on the other options.
We walked back towards Evolution and decided to dive into Brewed Awakenings for a Seaweed Sunrise, my personal favorite that is made with Pineapple, Papaya, Coconut Milk, and 100% Deliciousness. The addition of seaweed is a huge nutrient increase while keeping the drink tasty. After that I was on my way towards the gym to catch up with Gallo. He had some business stuff he wanted me to look over so I did some research while he trained a client, it was quite entertaining to watch him integrate a salsa lesson into a workout, he is very impressive with his clients. We made plans to connect in about an hour and a half so I hit the sidewalk towards Tyrone’s to say hello on my way back home.
While in the shop, I am grabbed on the shoulder and realize that it’s my good friend Rey Mesh from Cayo. Rey was the Head Chef at Maya Mountain Lodge while I was an intern, he has taught me more in the kitchen than arguably anyone else (besides my Mom) and I am forever grateful for the knowledge he has instilled in me. I offered to buy him a beer and we headed back the other way to Tipsy Tuna for some Belikins and laughs. It’s a great feeling to sit with someone after three years of progression with confidence that we have each made tremendous steps in our personal development. These are the type of people I want to be around.
I kept an eye on the time while remembering that I had told Gallo I would meet him back at the house so we parted ways with a photo and made plans to touch base this weekend when he gets back. A quick pitstop for a chat with Tyrone and I was on the way home. While at Tyrone’s he talked about learning his craft and how it relates to everything in life, just keep practicing until you hone your craft and then keep practicing. His wisdom is very admirable.
A walk back down Sunset Pointe Road and a paddleboat ride across the canal and I was home, I touched base with Mom an Gallo was soon on his way. We had some business strategy to work on and then we recorded Episode 11 of The Grassfed Podcast with a few beers in us. That will be released on all platforms this week!
The first full day back in Belize is still going and it seems like it has been going forever…another reason why I love it here. Life slows down when you drop the traffic and bullshit of big cities, but this doesn’t mean bum out and lay on the beach. It means change your focus and get creative.
April 29, 2019
After a long 4.5 months of saving money and developing The Grassfed Group, I rose at 3:00 AM in Allen, Texas and am writing this on the patio of my Mom’s house in Placencia, Belize. This was the smoothest travel journey I have had since coming down to Belize for the first time in 2015, I’m usually running behind or forget something along the way but today was smooth from start to finish.
I had my bags packed and weighed last night as I did not want to worry about tackling any tasks between my alarm at 3 and my ride at 3:50, allowing time for a relaxing morning to gather my thoughts and brace for impact. Life is happening right before my eyes and I am certain this will be remembered as a turning point in my journey. My luggage was loaded with 1800 empty bags to be filled with Moringa, a newly updated podcast recording equipment, a couple of pairs of shoes to hand off to the Placencia Running Club, and a bunch of goodies for Mother’s Day…each bag weighed in advance to assure it is under 50 lbs.
Dallas Love Field was the first destination, there I learned that you can beat the Monday morning business rush if you get through security before 6 (maybe I just got lucky…who knows!) so I zoomed through the short line and then had the opportunity to sit for a while and tell the TSA guys what was in my bags. (A handful of cameras, metal microphone stands, Don Piña de Grassfed and more cases with electronics in them) After a short delay I made it to my gate with time to kil. Next Stop: Fort Lauderdale!
I managed to make up at least an hour of sleep on this first leg, my neck wasn’t proud of me but after listening to Akira The Don and Jordan Peterson on the latest episode of The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast I wanted to take advantage of the little bit of downtime that I had. Speaking of Akira, if you haven’t heard of him I highly recommend his music! He created the genre called Meaningwave where the songs are crafted when the spoken word of popular lecturers and speakers is melded with electronic music that fits perfectly with the message. (He is worth an entire blog so look forward to that!)
Landing in Fort Lauderdale makes me feel like I should play some Sylvan Lacue “Florida Man” and dance through the halls but I refrained from dancing and channeled my efforts into taking pictures of Don Piña de Grassfed, our mascot and spirit animal. I soon hit the next Southwest flight for Belize and caught up on another half hour or so after a Gary Vee Audio Experience Episode just in time to fill out Customs Declarations forms and slide into Philip Goldson S. W. Airport. Customs was a breeze and I even grabbed a bottle of Vodka from the Duty Free Store to save some money in the village. ($40BZ vs. $125BZ)
Maya Island Air is one of the two airlines that travels around Belize and while I don’t always fly into Placencia I paid extra for the convenience of getting there quick. Although I missed my flight I grabbed a Belikin on draft to pass the time and about 4 drinks in I got paged to board the next flight so I chugged the beer walking onto the runway and boarded my last plane of the day. The trip would be a bit under an hour with a quick stop in Dangriga, leaving just a few of us on the last leg to the village.
After our flight I asked the Captain to grab a picture with The Don and he happily agreed, a great flight to end a great day of travel…but the day has just begun!
A short wait and I made my way through the village to my Mom’s place at Placencia Pointe where her and my step-dad Dave were happily awaiting. As fun as it is to travel I get more joy out of being around these guys wherever we are at, they are a true inspiration for how to live life with a balance of business, pleasure, and profit. I couldn’t wait very long after I got back to start unveiling some of Mom’s Mother’s Day gifts. A new camera, Dr. Bronner’s soap, Tom’s from Maine products, and more…I hate keeping in surprises so I announced it was the beginning of her Mother’s Day Extravaganza.
We walked into the village to check out the cottage they are renting and get some lunch but remembered that mostly everything was closed during that time of the day so we got a bucket of beer and tacos at Tipsy Tuna (you’ll never go wrong here) and walked over to their cottage. (When the house rents they have a place they stay in the interim) While on the way we stopped by Evolution Beach Gym to say hey to Gallo and Melanie. He just so happened to be training a kick boxer for a competition in San Pedro on the 18th of this month, his training capabilities stretch far beyond personal training and chiropractic work.
The first day was a great reminder of how much fun the village is, but tomorrow I’ve got to get focused and begin creating.