I find it interesting how much I loved this movie when it is about as opposite as you can get from the way I now travel. This movie was about a dozen or so Americans, traveling on a bus for a week or so, visiting as many countries as possible, in an effort to “do Europe”. Been there, done that, never want to repeat it. I find it so much better to stay in a place longer, make some personal local connections, and get a taste of the culture. My murals help do this for me. I no longer have to see all the “must see” locations because I get the experiences that no other tourist ever gets to see.
If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Ohio Well, it was supposed to be Ohio. It’s certainly where I thought I was going to be. Yep, that was the plan. My original ticket home had me traveling back to Playa del Carmen before heading on to the Arctic winter of February in Ohio. I wasn’t looking forward to it, but that was the schedule. Then, my sister said that she’d like me to stay longer in Belize.
It’s always better to stay too short than too long. Nobody should stay so long that they wear out their welcome. If I had come close to staying too long, my sister never would have invited me to change my plans. And, since there was nothing really pressing going on in Ohio, I decided to be flexible. Why not?
This was actually my second time to Xunantunich. Of all the sites that I’ve visited across the world, this is one of my favorites. But, it has nothing to do with archaeological wonders. And, there are wonders. It has nothing to do with amazing views. And, they are stunning. It has nothing to do with a sense of history. And, the Maya civilization goes back to before the birth of Christ. No, my love of Xunantunich is educational. Say what?
There is an education center on the site. After a steep climb, yet before you actually get to any ruins, there is an educational center on the grounds. We stopped on my first visit because it was on level ground. My niece and nephew may climb every mountain, but not me. Level was attractive. Level was beyond desirable. Level was simply so needed. So, my sister and I strolled into the center. While we looked at the materials displayed, my sister pointed to one poster and said, “That looks like something you could have drawn.”
It was something I’d drawn.
In fact, there were three posters with my art! There was no permission given for this use. I wasn’t paid. I wasn’t even credited! At that moment, however, I didn’t care. I was thrilled that my art was used at a Maya archaeological site. It was beyond cool.
However, on this second trip, I knew what to expect and I knew what to ask. I told the girl at the ticket counter about my art. I mentioned about no permission, payment or credit and said that the least they could do was admit me for free. She agreed, and it was one of the highlights of my day.
Very fortunately, my art was still on display.
It’s what I wanted to do all along!
That mountain rain had a double blessing. There were four cruise liners in port at Belize City. If the rains hadn’t come, hoards of tour buses with hundreds of tourists would have clogged up the cave tubing and jammed onto the zip line. I’ve heard about days like that. Guides explain that they get stationed at specific locations on the zip line. There is no personal interaction. It’s zip, blur, thank you, sir, and on to the next client. Instead, my little group of ten zippers got very individual attention from Marvin and Isaiah.
In the midst of my individual attention, I learned that Isaiah was an artist. It was a very unusual place to find such talent. Of course, he had his smart phone at hand and was willing and able to share his work. I expected to be polite. I expected to say something encouraging even if I didn’t care for his work. (I’ve done that before.) I didn’t get what I expected. No, I had my surprise of the day. Isaiah was extremely talented and he liked to draw portraits. He was so good that I felt comfortable telling him what I thought I was going to have to say. Isaiah smile, “I have to say the same kind of things sometimes.” I liked him even more.
And, yes, the zip lining over the rainforest was incredible. Up close we spied a baby tarantula and the national flower of Belize, a black orchid. Further away and much too fast, we soared over the rainforest canopy and that swollen river. It was a wonderful Tuesday, one of my best ever, and I was so glad I wasn’t in Belgium or Ohio.