Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sittin on the dock of the bay...

alright, it's more of a pier in the caribbean, but it is still awesome. I spent my last day in Belize watching the rain drench the town in the morning, sea kayaking in the noon, and went on a snorkel trip in the afternoon where we jumped into the water as they fed Nurse Shark's and Manta Rays and watched as 3 sharks and like 20 manta rays swarmed under the boat. It was really fascinating to see all of them swimming and sumtimes going underneath you. I couldn't help but think of Steve Irwin the crocadile hunter and made sure my hands were over my heart.... no random attacks though.

Then watched the sunset beautifully over the sea and island from the end of a dock. Ate tasty barracuda steak and garlic potatoes and bread and then went back on the dock to watch the moon rise huge over the sea. The wind was blowing the temp was perfect... no place better to be.

Go belize!

the next day I took a boat to the pirate museum, learned some fascinating facts about pirates. Took a 20 USD cab ride to the airport (yikes) and hoped on the plane...

got to miami and YEAH, I can drink the water!!!!!!

I'm currently at my Aunt and Uncles house in St. Louis (my god craig, do you ever go home?) awaiting the 50th anniversary celebration this weekend. It's great to see family again and as wonderful as traveling is, it is great to be back.

thanks for reading, keep in touch and let me know how all of you are doing!

rock on,

this is Craig Ouellette,

last surviving member of the Nostromo,

signing off.

Monday, October 9, 2006

Back to the Cayes!

After the sailing trip I spent a mellow day in Placencia (not placenta), chilling on the beach, writing in my journal and making plans. The weather was overcast but perfectly comfortable and the water was still warm for swimming.

The next day we were going to scuba dive... except for that big ass rain storm that rolled in. So the few of us from the boat who were still in town got out fast, taking the "best journey in belize" according to the lonely planet guide. It was a water taxi ride through the mangrove forests on the coast for 15 minutes... well, maybe in the sun it might be nice. The rain drops were like bullets and we had to stay low to avoid being blinded. I think I saw a bird. :)

Took the bus through the beautiful interior mountains, and somehow ended up back on Caye Caulker. I just kept going and came back to beaches and chilled people and the moto here is "go slow". And after some MAD CAP KARAOKE last night I did just that.

Oh yes team, ICE ICE BABY and TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE HEART were brought to the land of mellow love songs and Raggae. I ran out on the street and tried to get the party on into the bar... it didn't work, it's just so mellow. BUt it was fun and many peop[le today are like.... "Hey, ice ice baby dude!". It's kinda amusing. The bartender wants me to send him a cd of my mix for the bar. I'm not sure what he wants, but we'll see.

ANyway, tomorrow is the last day. I'm sorta sad to go. It's been a fabulous trip (montezuma's revenge aside) and I am realizing how many things I didn't do... like scuba dive in belize. The rain has put a damper on that, as has finances. Though I would have gone if not for the rain... oh well.

Next time...

See you all soon... especially the family at the reuinion on saturday in St. Louis. If anyone is around there feel free to come crash and partay with us!!!


Friday, October 6, 2006

Come Sail Away, come sail away with me!!!

What a blast!

went on a 3 day, 2 nite sail trip with a bunch of cool folks. We had wonderful fresh seafood, caught during the day and cooked by the awesome crew of the sailboat. We snorkeled beautiful reefs, and saw thousands of fish, 2 foot long star fish and lobsters, and even swam with a manatee for 10 minutes or more! It was awesome, the manatee was 15 feet long or more and you could get right next to it. Its actually rather rare to see so we were very lucky. It was wild to swim down right next to it as its so huge, yet graceful. It probably thought we were a bunch of idiots, but it was fun.

the first night we camped on Rendezvous caye.... it was about 50 feet by 25 feet and had 8 palm trees. It took 16 seconds to run from one end to the other. We set up tents and enjoyed tasty fresh conch and sunset, a brilliant nearly full moon and some silly drinking games. at 5 am a thunderstrom rolled in and soaked us all... but we were wet for 3 days anyway, so it is okay.

The next morning I had a visit from Montezuma and had the experience of shitting in the sea... yep, squat in the water and letter rip! then walk forward so as not to swim in your shit.... kinda gross, but at least you dont have to wipe!

we sailed some, but there wsan't a lot of wind, so the motor ran more than ideal. Still the colors of the water wree fabulous and the rain was warm and wonderful.

The second nite we stayed at tobacco caye.... pop: 26. we got to stay in cabins this nite as the rain came in strong at 10pm.... it was exciting. I love rain.

so here in Plecencia, and 5 days left til I hop on a plane ot the USA. Will hopefully scuba dive and see some wildlife at the jaguar preserve. Oh, and tonighte.... KARAOKE !!!!!!!!

Total Eclipse is coming to belize with thunder!!!!!

c u soon


Sunday, October 1, 2006

you are NOT going to BELIEVE this!!!!

So I'm in this little tiny ass town in western belize called San Ignacio town. It's actually the largest city in the area and I think there are like 2500 people here. Anyway, everyone is chill and friendly, and I was hanging out with this amusing Rastafarian dude named... Yes, RastJ, and we ended up going to the club that had people at it last night. It was pretty packed and there was some good and some not so good music bumping. :)

Everyone looks like they live in LA as far as fashion goes, belize is the westerner-safe 3rd world country I think. Anyway, we're dancing and I look next to me and who is dancing... looking at me... and I realize Dancing with me... but Angelina Jolie!!!!

What the crap?

So we danced most of the night! Like, come on, I'm in San Ignacio Town, and I'm dancing with one of the hottest (and turns out coolest) movie stars around! I won't get to carried away with the details, but come on, I live in LA and that would Never happen, but I come to Belize, and that would never happen here either! Shit! One can dream!

But would you believe I got fricking SICK again! Woopie dooo!!!!!

Yep team, now I got a cold, possibly more, though I think it might just be a cold. Though I slept all day again and was achey and weak and sorta felt a little feverish, but that might just be that my hotel room is kinda hot.

Oh, as for story above, everything but Angelina was true. RastJ is an interesting dude, who's got my back and I got his,but I had his back a bit much for buying booze so I said I was out of money. I saw him today and it's like we buds, but its all good.

So no "sucky-sucky" offers here, but lots of offers for "the ganja weed" etc. People can't seem to fathom that i'm from Cali and don't smoke up. I think I was offered 5 times in one walk down the street.

On a not sick note...

I went to a kick ass, AWESOME, amazing Mayan Cave, whose name is so complex they call it ATM. The tour is 70 USD.... um, really? Yep, and that's low season prices. But it was really cool. I went with these 5 students from America and our awesome guide francesco took us into the jungle, fording 3 streams, to the start where you leave everything but your swimsuit and helmet behind.

Then you swim into the cave, climb over rocks and waterfalls, and along the way he stops and tells you about what the Mayan's used the cave for in ancient times. Offerings to Shak (?) the rain god and such. There are obsidian blades that were found there too.

THen you climb out of the water, put on only socks, and head up into this amazing limstone cavern, which spectacular stelagtites and mites and bacon and flowstone. And... pots! 1000 year old pots! that have been left right where the mayan's left them after their rituals. You can get withing a foot of them... you could touch them if you wanted, but that would be silly and illegal.

Then, further in... you get to SKULLS. There were at least 6 human remains, all likely sacrifices to the rain god as the drought that caused the collapse of the mayans' spread. so the deeper underground you went, the closer to the gods you got, and they sacrificed people. spines, and bones, and skulls, and at the top of a passage there is an entire skeleton of a 20 year old woman laying perfectly preserved! wow! (next to her is the prisoner from another tribe who was killed with his hands behind his back... hm, I wonder if thta happened at the same time?)

it was really cool and actually not that creepy, more fascinating. A great experience.


now we come to the "I'm lonely" part of the email. Traveling alone can be kind of hard, especially in low season... and they mean LOW season. The place is like a ghost town. Belize has 225,000 peeps total, and over 800,000 tourists per year... and six of them come in september and october. The street artists say they haven't sold things all week. (could be a hard luck story, but we had been chatting for awhile). So yeah, I'm kinda lonely. Unlike last year when I left for SEasia, this year I was sorta lonely in LA too. Last year things were happening and it was exciting and busy and such, and this year I'd had so much time to myself before I left, it's ironic to need more time to myself, and I think I've maxed out my self time right now. And I keep getting sick, so the usual stuff that would keep me interested is exhuasting and so I lay around in my hotel room and sleep to much (because Im' sick).

Anyhoo, I'm lucky to be able to travel, and always glad to do it. But it doesn't change how you feel sometimes.

So, if anyone wants to buy a ticket to meet me in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye for the next week, get your asses down here! Fly to Belize city and take the water taxi over! That is likely my next stop, and then we'll see... supposedly there are people there. I was going to goto Caye Caulker, which is the smaller of the Cayes, but the students said it was like a ghost town, most of the shops closed up for slow season.

so, come on down, San Pedro has people! Lets snorkel, swim, scuba and dance!




Friday, September 29, 2006


> well team, today I made it to belize after my sickness delay. I went

> to Tikal yesterday and saw the pyramids that are really awesome and

> surrounded by jungle, and yes indeed the top of templo 4 is Yavin 4

> from star wars. it still looks exactly as it did when filmed 30 years

> ago for that. apparently there was a survivor:guatemala last year at

> a nearby temple as well.


> belize... well, its' awesome!


> everyone is like the coolest neighbor you ever had. super friendly,

> there is a group of folks playing drums on the street right now...

> why... no reason. the food is actually good. the language is

> english... holy shit, I can actually TALK to people here@!!!! (THAT

> IS more of a shortcoming of mine than of guatemalas though). I'm

> really glad to be here and looking forward to seeing some sights...

> like a mayan sacrificial cave where tere are skulls and entire

> skeletons 1000 years old waiting to be seen....


> kick ass.


> how are all of you? Especially those I haven't heard from (dad, hint

> hint, rachel, hint hint), fill me in! :)


> Craigo


> --

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Boats, Buses, CAves and more Runs!!!!

I´m alive team, fear not. I have had a week of no internet access in the wilds... well, relative wilds, of El Retiro lodge in Lanquin. A beautiful area of central guatemala where there are caves to explore and rivers to tube. One cave is dry and muddy and is lit, so you can see the formations but you have to stop where there is a 20 foot cliff... naturally on our second expedition, Yif and myself tried to figure out a way beyond the cliff (as the caves extend for 50 KILOMETERS!!!!) underground... but it definitely requires repelling gear. A french team spent 2 1-2 months underground a few years ago to get that far... I bet they smelled great as the cave is very humid! Also saw a cave spider with legs and antennae about 8 inches across... hmmm.... The Descnet anyone?

The other cave is filled with water, and you have to swim and climb ropes and use candles (or a trusty not so waterproof headlamp) and there is even a spot where you can jump off the wall into a pool and swim UNDER the floor and emerge through a tiny little hole at everyones feet.... it’s actually pretty scary, as you have to go over 3 feet deep and squeeze through this hole... I hit my head a lot (I know Cadry, big suprise!) but made it out... Yif and I once again wanted to go further than the tour and the guide said we could when we were outiside, but in standard guide form backed out once you reach the terminus of the tour.... we went anyway, maybe another 300 meters and got in trouble... oh well, they watch their caves better than in laos.

On the way out of the cave we passed another tour and I saw two folks I had ran into on the shores of Lago Antitlian a week earlier... "oh hey Teresa, what´s up?¨ Kinda strange small world you travel in here.

Tubing down the river was a highlight, you just pay 2 bucks and get a tube and off you go.... it’s actually quite fast and you have to dodge trees and rocks. They suggest you get out at the lodge or the first brigdge.... but the float was nice, so we kept going... past the second bridge, a few minor rapids... and then we came around a corner... Yif said ¨"You´ve got some tree trouble up ahead". I saw the tree.... and then I heard the ROAR.... "We got more than that! Get out!" We paddled like mad as the river vanished into spray and rapids in front of us...

... we both made it to the side about 10 feet from the rapids start... whew! (that´s why they say get out at the first bridge...) We climbed up to the road and looked down.... it was a class 3 rapid I´d guess. If we´d happened through it on the left we would have been fine though it would have been wild... had we gone through on the right.... well, lets just say its a damn good thing we didn´t go on the right.

Also at El Retiro they had some family style food, which on Wednesday was bbq.... not texas style, but good, and some kick ass dancing. Made a lot of good friends (in the way people you see for 2 days are good friends). Yif, Ziv, Martina, Julia. It was fun. There were a number of israilis and on Friday for Yom Kippur they all gathered for a new years feast... there were 4 of us not israili, and 26 israilis... we sang songs, ate food, and rocked the Hotel California....

... oh, and got sick.

Yep friends, for the last 4 days I have been sick as shit. You know that thing they call the Runs? I´ve done 2 or 3 marathons by now.

WARNING... the following contains graphic descriptions of shit and vomit! :)

Yeah, well, yeah... sucks. I could barely walk, and enjoyed the eco-toilets at the lodge a great deal. Me and the bugs and the little frogs hung out. I tried to eat stuff and would immediately.... yes, withing 30 seconds shit it out... and then puke up the rest. After 12 hours it was only water, lots of water, bottom and top. Weeee..... I slept saturday... and thought I felt better sunday... NOPE... slept sunday.... drank some gingerale and water.... shit that out...

Then finally monday said, screw it, I`´m going to Flores (home of Tikal) because I hadn´t gone in 12 hours.... So I took a 10 hour bus ride and somehow made it to the island town (which is really pretty and tiny in the lake) and got a nice hostel with private bath and hot showers (with an actual hot water spicket which is different from the usualy electric heaters) and a fan, and it’s heaven, and I relaxed and slept for like 15 hours and now...

.... I still don´t feel well. The diahrrea cholonic is gone (mostly) but I think when you lose like 15 pounds in two weeks it has an effect. Wait, I´´ve discovered a new DIET! The Traveller-Diahhrea diet. Note, that when traveling I had lost 5 pounds alreay in two weeks, as its very active and the food isn´t as shitty as we have in America (okay, cadry, I also don´t eat fast food here!) But, throw the Runs on top of it and WOW... another 10 to 15 pounds in 4 days, that´s fucking incredible! I think everyone should do this! It’s so effective and so much fun! Sure, you don´t have any energy and basically sleep all the time and must stay within 20 feet of a toilet (preferable not a squat toilet... thank GOD I didn´t have to deal with those and this). It’s really amazing... I had no idea all that can come out of me....

So, there is my main tip... and the great thing is, you odn´t know how you get it? It wasn´t food, others ate food, the waters been clean. Another guy got it to but he and I had not hung out during the day we both got sick. So who knows.... Yeah, I´ve had the travelers runs...


Hopefully Tikal Tomorrow... but its hot as crap and I don´t feel well still. I´ve got a handful of things I still MUST do while down here, and plenty of time, so go figure, I´ll take it easy and buy some souveniers. I´d read, but Children Of Dune is not processing with my current state of illness... Muad´Dib!

Hope all is well,

Rock on


Sunday, September 17, 2006


Oh yes, in addition to a fun filled day of scuba diving on the lake and walking all over San Pedro (not the one in california) for a bar called Buddha, I have heard the legend, the one and only TARZAN BOY.... TWICE!!!!! (once at the independence day celebration where they ended the night of raggaeton and trance with Eye of the Tiger, Tarzan Boy and Ghostbusters.... and once while eating today where they played.... Eye of the Tiger, tarzan boy and ghostbusters.... hmmm..... and I´am in a different town....)

So Kevin, you were right, it is coming back, and it’s HUGE!!!!!!

That´s what I got.

Hope you are rocking...

I gotta hit the dance floor...

woh oh woh oh oh oh oh ohhhh oh ohhhh....



Saturday, September 16, 2006

Flowing Lava and Running Children

Fear not team, I am alive and well in the town of San Marcos on the shores of Lake Atitlan in the highlands of Guatemala. And no, the flowing lava didn’t{t cause the children to run, that was something else entirely.

So, 5 days into the trip, I have already had some great adventures. From being the only (and I mean ONLY) tourist in Guatemala City downtown to traveling on a boat on the lake, to meeting some very cool people, and a surprising number of American{s. I guess this is where they go ´to travel as opposed to SE Asia.

Anyway, After an afternoon in Guatemala City, I took a shuttle the 45 minutes (read that it took 2 1-2 hours because of traffic... just like Los Angeles, wooooo!) and ended up in Antigua, the old Spanish capital of all of central America. The town still has cobblestone streets, a central square (which includes a fountain surrounded by four cement women who have water shooting out of their breasts... hmmm... kinda different), and is surrounded by three volcanoes (though in all honesty there is only one that is obviously a volcano). There are a lot of gringo{s here as it is a hub of Spanish classes in the area.

The next day I decided to go on a day trip to climb VOLCAN PACAYA... another 2 1-2 hour drive, but this time in a pimped out 70{s party van with shag carpet on the walls! Met a great bunch of folks, and made some friends. You don{t hike anywhere alone in Guatemala, as it isn{t a very safe country. One of my new friends Kate had been robbed and mugged the night before in Antigua, so we are all on guard. Thus, you have a guide on any hike and there are the Touristica Policia who keep you safe... in theory, but crime apparently is much less now than it was in the past.

We climbed up through cloud forest, where it began to rain and we actually entered a thick cloud when we reached some lava which had been cooled for a month or so... (so thom, it was just like Hawaii, misty, cloudy and lots of lava rock...) but, then the skies cleared and there before us stood MOUNT DOOM!

Okay, so it’s not mount doom, but it looked exactly like it with this sprawling lava field and surrounding us, thousands of feet below was the plains around the volcano. it was awesome. we went out on the cooled lava, it breaking beneath our feet like glass, and getting hotter and hotter until we found it.... flowing lava... A LOT of flowing lava. Being mostly dumb Americans and a dude from Holland we made sure to get really close to it and take photos with it like 6 feet away. it was hot as hell, sorta like the fires of the netherworld had joined us on earth. It was really hard to breath it was so warm, and I got a suntan on my legs from the heat. But it was AWESOME to see it flowing...and HEAR it flowing...


danced and ate in Antigua and then, on Thursday... low and behold... RUNNING CHILDREN!!!! thousands of them. all blowing whistles and carrying torches... hmm, doesn’t{t seem to safe. But turns out that for Guatemalan independence day (which is actually friday) all the kids travel to towns and light the torch with the freedom flame and run it back to their town or village. It represents the spread of the news from Antigua, Guatemala 185 years ago when it was the capital of all of central America. There are kids from Honduras, el Salvador and beyond...

the festival went all day and was a lot of fun. I hung out with Quinn, victor and the others I had met the day before here and there. Danced to some salsa in the town square and went to a club that though Raggaeton music was all there was. Still a good time.

Friday I got out of Antigua and headed to Lago Atitlan with Kate (no team, no RBR here, just friends). We checked into this crazy ass mediation center called Las Pyrimida´s... where yes, every building is the shape of a pyramid. (or so they say, mine was actually a hexagon... hmmm). We went down to the water for a swim, and as we were out in the water a Guatemalan teenage boy STOLE OUR SHIT!!!! yes indeed, I had a $9 pair of sandals and my sarong from Ko Phangan stolen... and they took Kates shorts and key to her room... which has a laptop in it! So we charged back to the pyramids, and proceeded to get lost on the mazelike trails and jungle paths that surround this loony town.

Turns out he didn’t{t come back, but the super SUPER mellow guy in charge of the pyramids acted like we were some weird folks for having anything stolen. I can’t do my impression of him here, but it is pretty amusing if I do say so myself.

So, I’ve been robbed, Kates been mugged and robbed... ah yes, VIVA GUATAMALA!!!!

But in all honesty it{s been pretty cool. Most of the people are nice, but there is a definite caution that has to be maintained at all times. we met up with a group of teachers and ate and joined the festivities in town square... which is really a basketball court... where they had music blasting and about 8 kids dancing. the rest stood on the sides like a high school dance. so anyone says that all Latin folks dance is lying to you, they havne{t been to san marcos. We danced. to some raggaeton... oh yeah!... and trance, ¨which was very fun and some of the same music I heard at the full moon partay last year in thailand.

All in all I{m in the groove of traveling, it{s time to do laundry and go scuba diving tomorrow. Hope you are all well and let me know what you are up to.

Rock on


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I{m in frickin Guatemala!!!!!

Yep team,

after 2 aborted landing attempts, one where we were maybe... MAYBE 50 feet off the deck, and then everything became covered in clouds.... and a side trip to San Salvador (yep... el Salvador) for fuel, we landed at 11 45 pm after 16 hours of travel.... hmmm... I thought central America was closer than that. :)

(these crazy keyboards take some getting used to)

Other than that, nothing to report, going to explore Guatemala city this afternoon then off to Antigua for some more adventure. I met a mother on the plane who said she got stuck there 3 years ago and is now married with her little baby.... so heavy, maybe I'll get stuck there... (not that I really want to...but then again, I haven{t gone!)


take care,

keep in touch


NOTE: These emails have tons of spelling and grammatical errors. They are (mostly) due to the strange keyboard used in Central America (well, strange to me, not to people who live there). I just left them in because it reminded me of that.