|10-16-2006, 04:47 PM||#19|
Riding 4 Health
Joined: Nov 2005
Location: Some where in Asia or Africa
Diaries from the Jungle
Diaries from the Jungle.
I heard about El Mirador when I crossed the border into
That changed when I met Oscar a Park ranger recommended an alternative route than the one of the travel agencies. It would be a little bit longer but I would get to see more archeological sites and walk in parts of the jungle that are not used by tourists and trafficked very little by the locals. I was sold on the idea even if it met cutting my trip short at the end. He recommended an older man who has a lot of knowledge. But that didn’t work because the man wanted 1,500 dollars and 15 days due to the bad conditions of the road. After several phone calls and several guides turning down the offer because of the bad terrain Oscar told me he had found one that would do it. It would cost me 300 dls, it would require at least 10 days and I would need to buy the food for the guide and myself. It was longer and cheaper than what the agency wanted so it was go.
I had lost one day finding a guide and a mule. Now I would loose another day trying to buy boots, food and getting my self to Uaxactun. The boots cost 25 dls and when I showed them to my guides they were “wow those are top of the line boots!”. Buying the food was a challenge because I wasn’t sure what to take and where to buy the stuff. The trip could last up 15 days but we knew that was the worse case scenario. So we ended up buying food for 12 days - that cost 100 dls! I think it was so expensive because most of it was canned.
Buying food at the market with Oscar:
That was the first problem because I didn’t have enough cash for it. So I went to the bank to get more cash and my ATM card wasn’t working. I came back to the hotel to pick up other ATM card but I had forgotten the pin number. I called one of my friend and asked to send me money via western union but that failed for some reason. So several hour passed trying to find money until I decided to use my emergency cash. Luckily I tried the ATM one last time and it worked. Oscar at that point called in sick into his work to help buy the reminder of the stuff. Since he lost he’s day of work I ended paying him 25 dls and bought him lunch 10 dls.
Once I bought the food and boots I went to the pharmacy to buy a few more things including antibiotics, mosquito repellent, pain killers and pills for the stomach. I also need to buy something to purify water. I asked at leas 4 pharmacies and they didn’t have anything for it and didn’t know where to buy it. I ended up buying a little bottle of chlorine that it’s sold at supper markets to clean fruits and vegetables. I got worried that it might not work and surprised hat no one knew where to buy ‘something’ to purify water.
At that time it was around 2 pm. I came back to the hotel to pack my all my stuff and head out. On my way to Uaxactun it started raining heavily and had to stop because I couldn’t see anything. By the time the rain calm down a little bit I could see it was starting to get dark.
The road from
Trying to bring it back up was a challenge because I tried to push the bike and the bike started sliding sideways. After several try’s I was able to bring it back up. I got into the town and went to look for my guide which of course wasn’t there because I was late by almost 8 hours. But the town was small and it was easy to track him down. Once I met my guide Jaime he tells me that he can’t go but has found another person that will go Gulliermo and that another person will join us Jose. The first though was that we wouldn’t have enough food but another person with experience in the jungle would make the trip more ‘safe’.
Once we went to go get the mule the lady that was supposed to rent it raised the price of it at the last minute. I was really annoyed!!! After some negotiation we settle on a price that I was not happy about but there was little I could do at that point I had to pay.
That night I met Guillermo, Jaime and Jose. I camped in Jaimes house and we talked about the trip and challenges. The trip could get delayed if it continued to rain heavily and we would have to wait for the water to be lower in certain rivers that might be flooded so that the animal could cross them. They also tried to convince me to rent another horse that way if I would get tired or hurt I could ride the horse instead of walking. It sounded like a good idea but I couldn’t afford to spend any more money. I asked hundred of questions until it was late and needed to go to bed because we where waking up at 4:30am the next day.
Woke up around 4a.m. this morning and left around 9 am. We walked 11 hours and got into the campsite at dark. The road was muddy but I was expecting much worse from what they have talked about. Today I found out that we are not carrying anything against snake bites. Oscar had told me they would have one – wrong! They don’t carry one because is to expensive approx 80 dls. They know several plants that can be used to treat a snake bite and prolong your life up to 8 hours until you get to hospital. The problem is that we will be up to 2 days walk from the nearest road. Also, there is little you can do if you get bitten by the snake coral one because you don’t feel the bite and second it only gives you an hour to be alive. after dinner I spent the night helping Guillermo figure out the cost and potential revenues of having his own arria since he works as an arriero. An arria is composed of 6 mules. We stopped at a campsite where there are people collecting gum from the trees I got so see how they work it and packet so they can sell it.
Day 2: Icotea 4:30 am
It’s going to be a rough day with several parts of the trails flooded. Picked up my cloths that I left drying overnight on the fire the smell of sweat and smoke. Yesterday we walked on a trail that haden’t been used with animals in 25 years at leas. Jose had to cut down some trees and weeds that had grown so the mule could pass. The mule was tired and walked slow.
10:45 pm Finally going to bed. Today’s walked revoke old memories of being completely tired (rowing memories). We walked from 8am to 5 pm with only on 45 min break. Two nails on my feet are about to fall off. The mule is ‘mañosa’ because every time we tied down the load it inflates it’s belly. So once you start walking it get loose really quickly. Outside my tent is packed with insects that will devour you. Guillermo has got bitten twice by bees since we left yesterday. Today we are at least one walking day from the nearest road and 2 days from civilization. This morning shoot a wild turkey. We made soup tonight with half of it and the other half is being left on the fire overnight. Both my legs are sore. The right one hurts behind knee I think it is a ligament. I think that Guillermo and Jose are also tired no word was spoken this afternoon while walking. We saw a faisano (bird) and Jose whistled like a faisano baby bird and the faisano came on top of us looking for the chick. I could have been an easy shot to kill but we didn’t want to waste the meat so we let him go. Jose fed the mule this tree call Ramon which is the mules favorite food. He had to climb this tall tree and cut a few branches and once on the ground had to cut it into smaller pieces so he could eat it.
Today heard the story of a little boy that broke his collar bone and arm. He wouldn’t cry because afraid his dad would beat him up. That dad would ask him ‘does it hurt’ and he would say ‘no’. He had be carried out walking on the back of a couple of people including his siter that was 11 years old. The sister wasn’t strong enough and a few times felt on the ground with him on her back and boy wouldn’t cry.
They showed me all the different plants that can be used to treat snake bites and feel a little bit more comfortable walking.
When Jose was 11 years old went to work to an orange plantation and a Barba Amarilla snake bit his hand. Said he pull the hand and snake was hanging on it. The teeth of the snake were more than an inch long. The person closed to him wouldn’t help him until someone else came. They gave him some herbs and took him the hospital. He was hospitalized 1 year and his hand got deformed.
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