Old birds must avoid my folly and retain their brain cells and livers. they must have delicate Pisco Sours and not swig neat vodka out of the bottle while boring their friends drunkenly rambling on the phone. This is not ladylike. It’s more Ab Fab!
ALERT: Ha ha what a nitwit I am this was supposed to go out hot on the heels of “COMING HOME” and it made much more sense! next post I will boomerang you to the Guatemala section of my becoming-more-dangerous trip!
VIDEO OF MY TRAVELS.
The time has come the walrus said…..
Now you might find this an odd choice of topic as I’ve so much more in the way of what I’ve already done and I will do in the next few days before I leave Mexico, but It’s there. Hovering in the back of my mind like a dark foreboding shadow, in my peripheral vision like a willow the wisp. A constant nagging and distracting my attention from all the amazing things I have travelled so far to see..…The time has come to make LISTS!
…to talk of many things….
Last night sitting on my terrace with a very nice bottle of Sauvignon Blanc I sulked, sighed and finally fetched my notebook. It eyed me, I eyed it and we started. I’d booked my tickets to Madrid in Guatemala so I’d forgotten exactly what they entailed, and felt queasy about my seating on the long haul section Bogota/Madrid. I needed a decent seat and my occasional “pretend” looking about booking seats with Avianca had yielded no fruit, and my emails and screenshots were all over the place and must be ignored until I could cope and wasn’t so tired.
….Of shoes -and ships-and sealing wax-and cabbages- and kings….
I had been on my last archaeological site of Teotihuacan yesterday and was exhausted and felt rather burnt and probably had sunstroke. I would just list “Avianca seat” and go on to the less worrying and hard things like “supermarket; wine, bread, eggs, fruit etc” and “Clothes shop; hoody for plane etc” and “Pharmacy; sleepers for plane, nail files and body cream”. Then I would do it all in the morning when I was fresh. I threw my notebook on the table and went back to watching Veep and 30 Rock on my laptop.
…And why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings. LEWIS CARROLL
This morning the stress monster was sitting on my chest. My horror at dealing with this long forgotten ticket booking was now inevitable. I looked through my emails and found my booking and codes and after Herculean tussles with various web sites ascertained that I had actually booked and paid for my preferred seat on the long haul!
THIS LITTLE PIG DID HAVE WINGS!
Relief flooded my senses, thinking back on it I remember thinking that I MUST have decent seating but had forgotten in the mists of time. HOOOOOOORAY! Now the rest of my list.
Housekeeping days while Abroad for the Solo Traveller.
Proper organisation requires a correct mental attitude so a proper ablution required. Next reassessing suitcase and more things to bin in the sacrifice to weight allowance. Some knicker and T-shirt washing and just one more icing of the foot before the supermarket.
Passed a bank on my walk so took out money hopefully for the last time here, then saw a pharmacy and bought some sleeping tabs for the flight. Continued to the big supermarket bought a lovely selection of goodies for a couple of breakfasts and snacks, the other beauty products that I needed and I now am back.I have had my eggies and bacon and English breakfast tea, proud as punch and only lacking buying a cheap hoody for the trip back to Madrid.
These preparations mean I can now enjoy my last three full days properly. This is what I call a housekeeping day and is crucial when arriving somewhere or leaving and especially for the big return home.(though you might have noticed I am stopping in Madrid for a couple of days to ease myself back into Europe)
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ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR! LEAVE NO STONE UNTURNED FOR YOUR HEALTH AND WELL BEING, SAFETY IS PARAMOUNT ALWAYS, BUT ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE GOING IT ALONE.
ALERT. At this time I am sitting in my kitchen pondering the news after yesterday’s X-ray. I have indeed broken my foot! Or if you will, oblique fractured my outer carpel (the long foot bone under the little toe). If you remember I’ve been moaning on about my limp and periodically hugely ballooning foot. This injury I sustained in Merida Mexico (so about a month ago) from stumbling of my bathroom step and violently twisting my foot and ankle. So all the people who said it wasn’t broken? WRONG!
This is exactly why I have written this post now. It’s so easy to have these smaller accidents while you’re tired from travelling or just in a rush for that boat, train , aeroplane. They sneak up on you and, ironically, usually when you think you’re safe. That’s why they say accidents are more common at home.
I was running from the bathroom to chuck my washed clothes into my suitcase and forgot the step.That’s all. A small step after the heights and dangers of mountain edges and temple steps. The spiral steps of Tierradentro, the pushing crowds at cliff edges of Machu Picchu, the hiking down the knotted steep paths at Semuc Champey, all the things where there was real danger and I would mutter to myself “This is so dangerous, this is soooo dangerous concentrate Rebecca. Concentrate”
Booooom! I went down like a sack of potatoes twisting my foot and ankle and smashing my arm into the door frame. The shock and the pain stopped me from crying and I immediately thought of damage control as I hobbled to my bed. The whole of Mexico to see yet and I wasn’t sure if it was just a serious twist.TomorrowI would see and maybe it would be OK til I got home, I didn’t want to delve into my travel insurance unless absolutely necessary.Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrowwas my mantra until I got to Madrid when I finally gave in and called for an appointment with my Doc who gave me a referral for an X-ray the next day.
Just an old bird wanting to be healthy and well for her travels.
They wanted to give me a boot and to self inject blood thinners every day into my stomach ( shurely not editor?!) and the very sharp and unpleasant nurse in a A&E was not pleased when I said I would not be doing that. She even said why did you even bother to come in if you’re not going to do as I say. Well love, there’s a reason for that. I wanted to check that it was indeed a fracture and that there was nothing to interfere with the healing process (i.e. bone fragments or trapped muscle). I now will be resting it and writing my blog. I shall sort out my photos and videos and stock up on yummy food and drink for Xmas. I will hibernate and take my supplements and food to help with the healing. It’s remarkable that I managed to complete Mission Mexico, running for tight flight connections and climbing archaeological sites stumbling around the uneven ground. It has started mending even after that so now with proper rest it should finish the process.
TOP TIPS: You might notice foot problems have been a recurring theme, I am clumsy and get over excited easily so I do tend to suffer those kinds of injuries but realistically I have mainly been ok on my big trips…..geddit?!! If your stomach is fragile remember bottled water even for brushing your teeth, only ice in reputable places. Only try something more extreme food-wise when you don’t have a big trip the next day, you don’t want to have the trots while away from toilets! always carry painkillers anti acids and eye drops with you in your bum bag and a small container of cream for lips and blisters (no Indian black toe for you!) always have a hat and water with you and obviously sun screen. Wear a T shirt for snorkelling to avoid serious sunburn and keep wetting your head to avoid sunstroke which I had after swimming with that beautiful turtle in Indonesia. Spray with your anti mosquito Jungle Formula at all times (terrible mosquitos at Machu Picchu and some other archaeological sites and anywhere with water) especially if you’re not taking tablets. Exercise your legs while flying to avoid DVT. First sign of a cold or cough take seriously, I was out of the game at the end of my Asia trip by contracting a vicious Asian flu that remained with me for another two weeks when back home. If I hadn’t been so Cavalier I could have avoided it.
Healthy food, exercise, and some T.L.C. to keep you in shape for your journey.
So although I didn’t use my insurance I had bought it and if things had got worse used it, always always buy insurance.
Get all your jabs including yellow fever, Although my certificate was never checked they do periodically especially if there has been a flare up somewhere, you don’t want to be blocked from entering a country. Check if malaria is a high risk in the area you’re going to, if so take the tablets otherwise a strong spray should be enough.
Be generous with the quantity of your regular medication. I ran out out this time and felt a bit panicky
Have a first aid kit including painkillers with you
Check with your Doc if there is any reason why you shouldn’t do any of the stuff you are planning then ask how to modify to your specific conditionif heor she has concerns
Always check all your medical stuff in plenty of time. Some things take a while to sort.
Exercise regularlyfor at least six weeks before you leave and do your balancing exercises all the time they seem silly but are super important
Concentrateat all times when you’re busy, maybe even get into the zone by self teaching awareness books or audio books. It’s normally when your concentration has gone when an accident may occur.
Be safein all respects when travelling, do not take risks in any capacity.
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Or I loved it but it’s harsh….. oh, and Belize the same.
ALERT: I’M SHOWING YOU THE PRETTY PICTURES SO I DON’T PUT YOU OFF COMING HERE WITH WHAT I SAY! A LOT OF GUATEMALA HASN’T BEEN POSTED YET AND THIS IS ONLY GETTING DONE AS I’VE BUGGERED MY FOOT HERE IN MEXICO SO AM HAVING TIME OUT AND REST AT THE POSH MARRIOT IN VILLAHERMOSA.
The change in atmosphere of Central America was to me startling. I know it’s reputation but I’d been in places in South America that had been sketchy so I thought it would be fine to my seasoned travelling know how.
Alone and scared in Guatemala City
It was not. It felt scared.
I had booked in to zone 10 that is supposed to be the safest and most opulent but still it felt uneasy. I cabbed it to the hotel and immediately saw that basically we were caged in to protect us. It wasn’t until the following day I really got it. I went to the Popul Vuh museum that was fantastic but on leaving had a problem about how to get a safe taxi in this area. Finally after many thwarted attempts I asked at the museum and they booked for me. This seemed crazy I had to get a chip for safety this place was clearly menacing. Even going to the nearby mall was a challenge and armed guards were on every corner. I bought a chip for my phone from a Claro kiosk so I would have a number and data and uploaded my old friend the Uber app so I wouldn’t get stuck at more remote venues . Having done this I felt much better. I would not leave myself defenceless here. Not cool 😎
I had travelled all over South America and not once felt so vulnerable and threatened, indeed that night I heard a guest from the hotel had been robbed right outside at 9 at night.
Although I had a fabulous time there and there are magnificent things of great beauty, this essentially is a third world country that is violent and difficult for a solo traveller let alone a female one. Think long and hard my old birds about travelling here. I met up with a snorkelling pal from the Philippines last year but still did a lot alone because we had only the snorkelling in common as to what we wanted to do. Both of us found sections very threatening and only super touristy venues are safe ish!
ALERT: Let’s be clear I’m not exaggerating. In lake Atitlán my friend wanted to climb the San Pedro Volcano and could have, if he wanted to risk being mugged and or attacked. Countless reports on Trip Advisor and other social media reported being attacked and robbed by men wielding machetes. Most also took shoes and jackets as well as the obvious valuables. No back street should be deemed safe. No going out after dark. No touristy bling. No having alcohol unless you’re at your hotel or have organised a cab. People have been robbed on less popular sites and ruins. Things left in rooms,especially in Belize where most people travel to for snorkelling while in Guatemala, have been cleaned out while people are on the boat tours they came for. No opening wallets in public. No using your phone on the street unless you stop in a doorway of a reputable shop to do so viewing all around as potential thieves. As much as you don’t want to go down empty streets you don’t want to be in crowds either. Sorry about this but I need to get this into your heads before you go so you are safe. Once you’re aware of all this then you can enjoy what is a majestic and historically rich country with an abundance of things to do.
I was in Guatemala City til my mate arrived then we went straight onto Cobán by bus. We arrived at night and although together, we were scared shitless.
Stayed there two days until arduous journey (the horrible desperate for a wee bus journey) to the legend that is Semuc Champey.
(you need to go to San Augustin Languin first) then it’s a 4×4 bone rattling ride to the place. (I had booked the hotel closest to the entrance which was a very wise move)
After two nights there we had to return to Coban to get a bus to Flores (many encounters with some vile young Israeli travellers) which was a nightmare.
Onto Tikal and Yaxja
Two nights there (I had serious food poisoning and had to stay in bed) then on to Tikal (I stayed two nights there and also visited another site Yaxja where I fell over in the mud running from the howler monkeys)
Then onto Belize and Caye Caulker for snorkelling (fabulous nearly as good as Bunaken Indonesia).
Belize Caye Caulker for Snorkelling.
Then another crushing bus ride (literally, the man in front of me had a faulty seat and kept pushing it back and crushing my legs) to Guatemala City and onto Antigua then lake Atitlán for three nights (oldest church in Central America),
….. then Antigua one (placed my hand on McDonalds private parts),
One last night in Guatemala City.
…..Guatemala City and last one at airport hotel (extremely nice and cheap and two minutes from airport). As you can see it was hectic but for the most part soooo worth it.
The entire trip was either terror, wonder or long bus journeys so be prepared it’s harsh mistress but a worthy one.
OVER AND OUT FROM HARD CORE REBECCA XXX
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ALERT: This blog just shows a fat cow am waiting on some photos for next one to show you the sea cow!
I am writing this on the way back to Flores from Caye Caulker. I am brown and sweaty sitting on the bus nearly at the Guatemala border and have a long journey ahead to reach my final destination of Lake Atitlan and it’s volcanoes.
ALERT: A review of hotels and places and tips coming. More comprehensive and less garbled so bear with me folks I’m getting on it!
PERU has been a mixed box of chocolates. Favourites that you lust and dribble over, the hard ones that when you finally get into them are delicious, ones you bite into and spit out and ones you half like but only have once the good ones have gone. Then there’s the soft centres that nobody really likes but eat in desperation at the end of Christmas.