Chicken buses in Guatemala: our most unforgettable rides so far

“At least a couple of times a month, a chicken bus plunges from a cliff.” A sentence from Lonely Planet drummed in my head louder than ever. Holding on to the seat in front of me, I stole a glance out of the window. The bus slowly ascended a dusty mountain road, its wheels no more than half a meter from the edge of the road. The view from the window resembled the ones from an aeroplane. Continue Reading →

Notes from Lake Izabal — end

“The captain is out to lunch and the sailors have taken over the ship.” (Charles Bukowski)

Day 7-8-9 on Lake Izabal: Tom

Remember the subtitle of the first part of this mini-series, ‘A Million Ways to Die on a Boat’? I wonder if there’s a world record for hitting your head against the boom, the pole attached horizontally to the mast? If so, for four days Mario and I were in heavy competition to break it and improve it so vastly that surely it would stand for a couple of decades. But now, Mario had left our sloop on Lake Izabal and I was the sole number one, the uncrowned king of head bumps. Continue Reading →

Notes from the Lake — part two

“The captain is out to lunch and the sailors have taken over the ship.” (Charles Bukowski)

Day 3: Tom

Sleeping on the boat was not easy for me. I’m quite a troubled sleeper in general, and the boat didn’t help. Cramped spaces, fair enough. It’s no fun, but hard to avoid if you want to stay on a ship. But my body didn’t seem to be able to adapt to the rocking and swinging of the boat. Or at least not quick enough. The lake itself was flat as a pancake, but passing traffic caused waves, sometimes so strong that they could knock over your cup of coffee. Or keep you from your sleep. It was Friday morning and I was twisting and turning – early morning sunshine falling onto my face – in a vain attempt to still steal five minutes of sleep from an already expired night. My body had, however, accepted the harsh truth. No sleep tonight, it was a brand new morning. Continue Reading →

Notes From Lake Izabal (a.k.a. A Million Ways to Die on A Boat) — part one

“The captain is out to lunch and the sailors have taken over the ship.” (Charles Bukowski)

Day 1: Tom

It sounded too good to be true. In the mornings, we’d be scrubbing decks for two hours and in the afternoons, we’d go sailing and exploring the area. Hiking trails, caves, waterfalls, the possibilities were limitless. Oo, the wonders of WorkAway, the website we’ve been using to find accommodation in exchange for a couple of hours of honest work. And so we embarked on not one, but two boats, both belonging to Daeli, a French adventurer with a beard so scruffy and long it was probably eagerly eyed by birds with nest-making ambitions far and wide. Continue Reading →

A.T.M. Cave in Belize: descend into the Mayan human slaughterhouse

Nine people are trapped in a cave. They are hungry, soaking wet, scared and would offer an arm to be able to go to the toilet comfortably.

Sounds familiar?

No, dear reader, I’m not talking about the Thai football team that got stuck in a cave. Instead, this is a summary of our excursion to Actun Tunichil Muknal, a descent into the deep innards of a cave which the ancient Maya used for their blood sacrifices.

Are you shivering yet? Continue Reading →