San Ignacio, Belize
Another day in Belize, another incredible adventure and even more amazing friends. I can’t say it enough. Life is good.
The day started off with an hour of reading, I am currently working on Sastun by Rosita Arvigo. This book is extremely interesting to me because it shows not only the connection that plants have with healing the body but the spiritual and mental health as well. I like the idea of healing people with plants…it has been done for thousands of years but modern medicine shuts it down instantly, calling healers like Don Elijio Panti things like “witch doctor” and “practitioner of dark magic.” I feel like I am becoming friends with Rosita and Don Elijio through the book as I read, something I have never experienced with any other book.
After this, the missions were finalizing some flyers for the Pro-Organic Belize Cayo Co-op, a quick meeting with Bart, and I was off to yoga with three new friends. The three girls from New York that are staying at the lodge wanted to get some yoga in while they were here so they tagged along to Full Lotus Studio to embark on an hour and a half of stretches, breathing, and relaxation with Sera…the best yoga instructor in Cayo. It is cool to meet more young people that seek adventure and want to see what Belize has to offer.
After a really good class (after of course my post-class ritual, a bottle of Kombucha), they invited me to Xunantunich Mayan Ruins with them. Of course I said yes, those who say no to an adventure are those who miss out on life. They had never seen Mayan Ruins before and luckily I had been to this particular site about a month ago with my mom and step-dad so I knew where we were headed. After leaving San Ignacio we were winding through the hills of western Belize, passing Chaa Creek (home of Rosita Arvigo’s Ix Chel Medicinal Plant Trail), beautiful fields, and a bit of rain…finally running parallel with the Macal river and eventually crossing over it by ferry, we had arrived at the ruins.
The coolest part about this park is there is one way in and one way out, a hand-cranked ferry that crosses the river with a huge cable system. After crossing the river, it is just a quick drive up to the parking lot through the jungle, parking and paying (only $5 US), and walking up a big hill as the ruins begins to appear through the trees. Although I had been here before, I was still shocked by the size and beauty of this place…not to mention the elegance of these buildings and not knowing what has happened here in the last few thousands of years. I felt a bit like a tour guide which was cool to see the joy on people’s faces when I explained one of the very few facts I knew about the place. Especially adding some of my mom’s genius by mentioning how the king would probably not have walked from his house all the way to the other side of the compound through the thousands of people that were said to have been here, to his workplace (highest ruin/ruling place)… there had to be tunnels all under us and throughout the place.
After getting a taste of the ruins, we needed a taste of some good Belizean food. There’s a restaurant just back across the river called Benny’s Kitchen, authentic Belize meals for a good price…I had been here the last trip but it was even better the second time around. Rice and Beans are always a sure thing, the hometown favorite. It was cool to get the opinion of 3 different cultures on Belizean life, I am always happy to make new friends and share with each other the joys of each of our lives and hometowns.
Lunch was followed by a tour of San Ignacio, I tried to show them all of the best things: The Market, Mayaland (hole in the wall restaurant with handmade soaps and treasures), Burns Street and all of the best shops, hand painted murals, and AJAW Chocolate (home of the organic handmade 95% Cacao chocolate…best ever). They had already been to Guava Limb Café, so I missed out on showing them that one…but we did turn down the wrong way on the one-way street in front of it so that was fun. It was such a fun adventure in the town that I now call my home,but it was definitely a bit of a shock when several of the places I went people knew my name and I hadn’t even met the people before. The girls laughed at the idea that in just a few weeks I had built a reputation in town, as did I because I had no idea that these people knew who I was, “You’re the young guy who is so interested in the jungle remedies and natural healing!” All I could think was, “Woah this is kinda cool, my vision and passion for natural healing seems to be catching the attention of the people in town…this must be working.”
After returning to the lodge, I parted ways with the girls, went to my watermelon cutting station, met with Bart for a few minutes, then Jose came and picked me up for a BBQ for his wife’s birthday. The fact that he invited me over for such an occasion was extremely heartwarming, I felt like I was part of their family and could not have been happier. Carlos and Jose wanted to teach me to use a machete to chop coconuts and get the water, of course I agreed to learn, my only response was, “White boy with a machete, sounds like the beginning of a bad hospital story.” It’s crazy how they can work a machete to only require a few swings of the long blade to access the sweet juice of the green coconuts, me not so much. I hacked away as they sat back and laughed, I finally got some but the poor coconut was torn to shreds while theirs looked like a finely carved sculpture. Despite my poor success, this was such a cool experience and now I can say I have picked coconuts and chopped them for water.
With a full pitcher of fresh coconut water, the guys prepped the BBQ and my mouth began to water. This was not a Grassfed meal, but it definitely hit one part of The Grassfed Way: Peace, Love, & Positivity. Being surrounded by friends with the view of the Maya Mountains ahead of us was a moment that I will never forget as long as I live, these guys become more and more like brothers every day that I am here. It was nice to enjoy a traditional Belizean BBQ and experience the culture the way it has been for years. Grilled Chicken,pork chops, Cole slaw, Flour Tortillas, grilled corn, and zucchini filled our stomachs as the best part of the night came: Belize Happy Birthday. The song was sung a bit different than we sing at home, but I think it was much more fun…the family gathered around as we sang and finally cut into the delicious Tres Leches (three milk) cake was passed around the table. There was so much joy and love in the air that I was almost brought to tears, the idea that such little things change (our trip to Punta Gorda) to make events like this happen is truly a prime example of the how the universe has been arranging plans to teach me lessons lately. I dig it.
As I have mentioned in the past, the biggest part of Grassfed is education. Will eating an unhealthy meal kill me? No, but will I be able to tell how bad I feel after the fact(acne, decreased energy levels, and digestion issues) yes. Life is about enjoying yourself and making decisions so you will know the repercussions, I knew what I was going to feel like after this meal physically… but the joy of family and friendship outweighs the short-term health effects of such a meal. Well worth it.
I continue to have plans change, new opportunities arise, and my journeys get more amazing…this is just a sign that I am doing something right. Ever since I took the leap of following my dreams that is how things have been happening, as I keep saying: “It is just part of the adventure, keep on truckin’.”