I am grateful for all of my vacations but the trip to Belize is definitely a highlight for me. There seems to be a magic there of raw nature and a simple lifestyle. We flew in to Belize City and then took a puddle jumper to Caye Caulker. This island is a gem. Golf carts are the mode of transportation which immediately tells you life is slower here. There is a wonderful mixture of tourists. We saw quite a few many backpackers who stay at a hostel on the island. They were so friendly and shared stories from some of their journeys. We stayed at the Iguana Reef Inn which is exquisite in its simplicity yet meeting all of our basic needs. The staff is friendly, laid back yet very attuned to making your stay enjoyable in every way. I have two family members with ADHD so this was the first time I really saw them both relax. Later on, we could tell the people who had just arrived on the island as they had yet to adjust to island time. This island is the perfect prescription for anyone who loves a busy lifestyle and wants a break from the hustle and bustle. The restaurants are filled with friendly people so dinner is a social event. The food was fresh and every meal was incredibly delicious.
My favorite part of the vacation was the cave-tubing excursion. We were taken first by water taxi to Belize City. We then were taken by our guide to the western part of the country and out into an orange grove where we then got into a large farm truck equipped with inner tubes. We were taken through the orchard to the river when we put on headlamps and got into our inner tubes. We floated in and out of caves all morning until we stopped for lunch that had been packed in a dry bag. The huge tropical rain forest loomed all around us and I truly felt like we were in paradise. We then got back into our inner tubes and continued for the rest of the day through beautiful caves with grottos lit by the filtered sun through the forest. Each part of the trip was filled with such beauty that it took my breath away. We eventually stopped at a predestined site where we returned our gear and found this amazing old temple that had been turned into a restaurant. Here it was in the middle of a rain forest yet it had linen table cloths and beautiful crystal glasses. It was such a contrast to spending the day in and out of caves.
The second part of the trip that won me over to Belize was our trip to the Mayan ruins of Xunantunich which is located near the town of San Ignacio. you arrive at the Mopan river where there is old ferry to take you across to the ruins. The village people are gathered there to sell their wares. A large iguana was hanging out on a log near the ferry. We arrived at the ruins and were so amazed at the size of the sight and the beauty of the land around it. We climbed El Castillo which is the second largest structure in Belize. You could look over the land and imagine how it must have been back in 600-900 AD. There was a true sense of history there. We could also look to the west and see the border of Guatamala which had army guards stationed for those who chose to cross the border. I have to say that all of the panoramic view was breathtaking.
My other favorite part of Belize was the Belize Zoo which is a nonprofit rehabilitation facility for the wild animals in Belize. It is set in a natural habitat which offers the most respect to the animals so it was very close to a walk in the rain forest. The howler monkeys add some excitement to the walk through the park as you never know when they are going to howl so it give you a bit of a jolt. I was impressed that you can rent a place to stay within the zoo for a very affordable price.
The other absolutely wonderful thing about Belize are its people. Everywhere we went there were happy relaxed people. We loved using the water taxi as it is filled with children, adults, and families. Everyone is friendly and we had some wonderful conversations with our companions. We passed several small islands on our way between Belize City and Caye Caulker.
We also took a sailboat out past the reef and snorkled near the reef. The water was such a beautiful turquoise and the fish such vibrant colors. It’s so magical to be in their world. the water was so clear that you could see everything so easily. Our guide was informative about the waters around Caye Caulker.
Our final adventure was to Ambergis Caye which was a short water taxi ride to the north. There are so many beautiful islands along the way. Ambergis Caye was much larger and more civilized than Caye Caulker. The streets were filled with activity. We found a restaurant on the beach and was served the hands down best snapper any of us had ever had. I wish I remembered the restaurant but I am sure I could find it if we returned. We wandered the streets and enjoyed all the local merchants, especially the craftsmen and women.
It was hard to leave Belize after such a relaxing fun vacation. I would have to say it was the most balanced vacation I could remember as we were seemingly busy yet the environment and people created a sense of relaxed fun and ease. I have referred so many people to Caye Caulker over the years since our trip and all have returned with a similar story. It is truly a gem in the travel world; book now!!!
Pam Chapman, MSW worked in the mental health field for over 27 years. This work encompassed county mental health, nonprofit family and children’s mental health clinic, Cornell University and private practice. She has extensive experience in the areas of childhood sexual abuse, trauma, PTSD, , psychosis, eating disorders, and OCD, as well as other biological or crisis related disorders. She served in court cases as an expert witness in child sexual abuses cases, and worked with inmates in the jails as well. In the courts, Pam was considered an expert in the area of D.I.D. or Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder, a condition which strongly correlates to childhood sexual abuse. Much of her work with people in crisis involved being on call throughout the night, visiting clients in jails, and attending to the needs of those suffering from some of the most severe abuses imaginable. One thing Pam remembers is that many of her adult clients, who were survivors of sexual abuse and trauma, said to her repeatedly, “Why didn’t anyone help me?” So we want to explore the social system which turns a blind eye to the abused child, as well as to the systems in place presumably established to help them. In this show we are exploring the social engineering in place in our society and ways to extricate ourselves from the waves of influence engineered through mass media and often sponsored covertly via the state.
Pam Chapman’s Blog
James Corbett – Social Engineering 101
I just started this stream of consciousness writing prompt and this week’s prompt is to write about something that starts with the letter,”P” so I came up with peonies. How I love them!!! They are so beautiful when they flower and the smell is heavenly. It was always one of the signs that summer was starting. I would cut the new ones so carefully and bring them into the house. You had to make sure there were no ants on them as ants seem to be necessary for the blooming process. The smell just fills the house and I have to say you it is a divine smell. I find it intoxicating and just put my face in the flower breathing it in. There are so many smells that I love and fill my spirit. Peonies seem to rank right up there with Jasmine, Hyacinth, Lavender, Plumeria, Sandalwood, my favorite Blue Pearl Classic Champa incense. I am very sensitive to smells and have always noticed their immediate influence on me. I love the smells of the woods after it rains; the moisture brings out all of different tree smells and the old wood smells, the pine trees, and the moist earth. I love the smell of puppies and babies. I don’t know if they smell innocent or if we just associate their smell with innocence. I love the smell of essential oils especially when I am cleaning with them. And who can forget how wonderful fresh baked bread smells? Nothing quite like it. I currently live near the ocean and the smell of the salt water is so cleansing and purifying. I often go to the beach when I want to clear my mind and soul. Just breathing in the air and listening to the surf seems to clear so much for me. I wonder if other people get intoxicated by smells like I do. I used to use a diffuser to put essential oils in the air in my home. I watched to see if it made an impact on anyone. It seemed to mellow people out as far as I could tell. Well, I believe I have completed my task for this writing prompt. It was fun.
Today is a good day to reflect on what is good in life. I started camping in my early 20’s with my boyfriend. We started out in a tent, which at the time, seemed wonderful. I have always loved being in the woods and there is nothing quite like sitting at a campfire at night and waking up to the birds singing while surrounded by nature. We eventually got married and decided to upgrade our camping environment. We bought a very cute tiny trailer that had a bed and a bunk on top of it. Whatever else was in the camper didn’t work but we had a comfortable place to sleep and a way to stay out of the rain. One of the wonderful things about camping is that there are innumerable state and private campgrounds. The state campgrounds tend to have a larger access to nature such as a lake or trails. We lived in New York State where there are so many beautiful state parks. People who camp are a very friendly bunch so you often made acquaintances with other campers, perhaps sharing a campfire and helping out where needed. This is always an added bonus to camping. Campers love being outside in nature and this is often the subject of conversations such as the last camping trip they had or what excellent trails they have found on the current trip. My personal favorite part of camping are the trails. There is such unique beauty on each trail. There is always the wonderful smells of nature and the incredible feel of walking on old earth which is special in that it feels lighter than packed soil when you walk on it.
We eventually upgraded to a 28 foot travel trailer to accommodate a growing child who needed a real bed rather than a tiny bunk. This afforded us indoor cooking for salads and other foods not cooked on the grill. We also had a shower, heating and air conditioning which seemed like luxuries. We could play games or read inside when it rained which always makes camping better than trying to stay dry in a tent. Our maiden voyage took us to a campground in North Carolina near the shore. It was great fun going to the Piggly Wiggly and dollar store to get the necessary supplies to eat and dine with.
My favorite camping area is, without a doubt, The ADK or Adirondacks. The trails are amazing and there is always a new trail to discover. If you haven’t been to Old Forge, it is definitely worth the trip. There are so many great trails for all abilities close the town. In addition, the local hardware store is simply the most fascinating hardware store I have seen. It has sections for practically anything you could ask for. There is a book section with trail guides and reading material for almost any interest. It is a cornucopia of delight. The town also boasts a restaurant that serves the most fantastic breakfasts and is a local legend in that many famous people have dined there. Long Lake is another great camping area which is a little more remote. The town is famous for the bears that waltz into town and graze the garbage cans on a daily basis. We had a couple of bears in our campground that we followed at some distance as they made their rounds through the garbage of the day. They weren’t the least bit interested in us and proceeded through their daily routine and then exited into the woods. The best part about the ADK is hiking the mountains. It might be a hefty workout to get to the top but the reward is out of this world. Every view from the top is breathtaking and heavenly. You truly appreciate the miracles of nature from a mountaintop. You would think going down the mountain would be a piece of cake but, darn, if you don’t get blisters from going downhill for a long time.
I think with all the chaos and craziness going on in our world these days that nature remains the best cure. I hope that you have an opportunity to get out and explore the nature near you.
Don’t you think it’s odd with so many brilliant scientists and engineers that we are having the environmental problems we are having? Let’s start with fracking. They didn’t know the chemicals and radioactive material they used in fracking would contaminate the soil and water supply? Now I have been blessed to know many highly intelligent people in my life and I am reasonably certain these people knew the impact of the pollutants they were using. How about the pipelines? We have had so many pipeline disasters that it is reasonable to assume that this too was considered especially most of the patents for alternative clean energy mysteriously disappear. We could have been driving highly efficient vehicles for many years now and running our homes on free energy with no need for contaminating the earth, water and soil with oil and chemicals. Look at all the water supplies that have been contaminated over the years. Not thinking that someone was completely aware of what was going on? There simply has been too much pollution from the corporations to deny they did not know what they are doing. The hard thing to accept is that it was done with a plan in mind. What happens to all the people who have been exposed to the massive chemical pollution? They get sick and die. They can’t function or work; their lives fall apart. There are so many areas on our country let alone the world where pollution has made life almost impossible to survive. We have massive radioactive pollution that has not even made the evening news very often. I must admit I have not watched the evening news in some time as it is not the truth, only brainwashing and fear mongering designed to separate us from each other and our power. The powers that be are very explicit in how they sway and control the masses. They distract with celebrity gossip and meaningless information that they portray as important, all the while covering up what they are doing right in front of all of us. The brave people at DAPL are standing up to a corporation so big and wealthy and they are doing it for all of us. The earth has been raped and pillaged for so many years and it is now apparent we may not survive without divine intervention. I encourage people to avoid the distractions and educate yourselves on how you have been lied to , manipulated and poisoned. You know the story about the boiling frogs who are put in a pot of water that is slowly heated up until it is too hot to get out and they die? Take a look at every river, ocean, landmass and show me a place that is unspoiled and untainted by corporations.
How do we take back our power to create an earth that is clean and pristine for us and our children? What can each of us do?? That is the question we need to ask.