In 2011, 30-something-year-old Murray Johnson and some friends reached out to CouchSurfers to join them driving two donated ambulances down to Honduras to give them to Honduran hospitals. Johnson recently posted: “The experience was so amazing and the donation so needed that we have made the Charity Rally official and opened it up for others to join! You can mix travel, adventure and charity all in one for a good cause. How it works: You form your own team or join a “potluck” team. Your team can be comprised of any number of people. (I am guessing it is best if all of our team members fit in your vehicle though, of course.) Each team secures its own car/ambulance/fire truck/buse/whatever and drive down. The rally organizers work with you to get the vehicle, secure the donation and do the paperwork to have the vehicle imported into Honduras — or wherever […]
I arrived, with Jesse, in Chetumal around midnight. We took a taxi (50 pesos because it was late) to the hostel and were greeted by Mike, the Portuguese manager. It was late so sleep was the main agenda at that point. The next day turned out quite different than we’d planned. I needed money because my credit card had been rejected in Tulum when I bought my snorkel so I had to use pesos, and now I needed cab fare, food, and to pay the hostel. (I should have paid the latter on line.) i’d expected the money would just work out, but cash machines, banks, and friends to lend you a few bucks are not everywhere, and were not in Bakalar, I was told. Jesse was still tired and wasn’t into going to the city center so I was only own. Getting Money I found my way to as […]
Today’s plan: travel from Playa del Carmen to Tulum. Enjoy the Grand Cenote. Travel on to Chetamal, a town at the southern boarder, close to Belize. I am making my way to Belize, Honduras, and the sailboat. I write this on my iPad’s built-in keyboard at 8:34pm on a dark bus from Tulum to Chetamal. For the 1st time on this trip, I am not alone as the only English speaker on the bus. Jessie, with whom I took the hour-long comfy Collectivo from Playa del Carmen to Tulum (40 pesos, but locals may have paid only 20) sits beside me, resting. (He will likely travel with me at least into Belize.) We left the Happy Gecko hostel/hotel around 11am. The plan was to leave around 10 but heck, we’re traveller’s and not tight on any schedule. I’d gone to bed around 1am and woken up for good at 9:30, […]
Sunday. The day after the two Passover Sedars for which I’d come to Playa del Carmen. Per my recent non-plan revisons, it was my day to leave town and continue south. But the night before, while I was using someone’s Mac, he’d been interested in possibly joining the boat. That, plus I heard there was a woman in Playa that may be my cousin and I wanted to meet her. A funny thing happened today. The rabbi’s brother, an amazingly exuberant man full of song and laughter, an enjoyable leader, asked my next steps. I told him I was heading to Honduras to meet a sailing boat but sadly, it meant rushing down the coast to be in Placencia, Belize, by Friday at 9:30am, to catch a ferry. He said don’t rush, take my time and enjoy Playa and all the places down the coast. I said, you think so, […]
About 150 people attended this Seder. Hebrew may have been the most spoke languages there. The rabbi had quite a challenge being heard and keeping the attention of the large room. Very different from the last 19 Seders of my (well, my brother’s) ever-growing family. I missed the family and learning there but also loved being at this one. One woman is starting a Kibbutz between Playa and Cancun!
It is 12:21 and I am on an ADO air conditioned bus now a few blocks from the terminal, en route to Playa del Carmen. This is the first time there are others from outside of Mexico, but the bus was nearly full when I boarded so I am not within speaking distance of any of them. The man beside me kept the aisle seat, keeping me from any conversation. So, again, I watch the roads and I write. Only this time I write on the iPad keyboard on my lap rather than with my thumbs on the iPhone. My hand-carry bag is my lap desk.
I received “my” iPad two days ago, late in the evening, setting it up and starting to use it until 2am when the lights went out for the night on the Mondo Jovan hostel rooftop. After 2 weeks of the tiny iPhone for web browsing, text composition and everything else that could be done, this large bright screen and touch-type keyboard is dream! I do not exactly lay my fingersdown and touch-type, but close. Sort of half-hand touch and half touch-peck supplement. The case, folded back, enables me to have the same angle I had on my Mac for years with the CoolPad under it. I do have errors. I miss the space bar. But this is more a true keyboard. No deleting when attempting an “m” or typing a “c”I rather than a space. I will see how auto correct works with me as time and non-Engliswords ds continue. […]
Again, I am the only foreigner on the bus. In fact, the only tourists I saw today were the same couple from the pyramid. Izamal is a day trip for most people and a destination at which to stay resort style with a rented car for others. I wish I had picked up a book to read. The iPhone is useless for reading without Internet. 5 hours with nothing to read. What a waste that is because for 20 years I have mourned having time to read. The bus arrived at 2;40. I zipped up the backpack straps and carried my pack onto the bus taking the first seat on the non-driver’s side so i can have leg room and a view. My pack is on the floor in front of the seat beside me. Space permitting and with a stop in Villadolid I am more comfortable having it on […]
After helping me find a hotel, Rob Mosser kindly drove me around a bit to get my bearings then dropped me on town and drove off. I had a couple of Panuchos at a small shop where a couple from Belgium were having beer. They left shortly and I dined alone at the outdoor table. Stomach full, I walked the 5 blocks or so to the pyramid Kinich Kak Mo built for the Maya Sun God. I started climbing it from street level and found myself on a plateau. I walked around to see the view and to my surprise saw a pyramid not far away. I had only climbed the base, and walked part of it’s over 2 acres (700,000 cubic meters.) I still had the actual pyramid to view and climb. I read the pyramid is 10 levels high but didn’t count. It was getting dark and I […]
I write now as I wait in Merida’s second bus station, not ADO but for Noresta the 2:30 Occidente bus to leave from gate 4. The ticket was 23 pesos for the 1 1/2 hour ride. The outside of this nice looking plush-appearing bus promises air-conditioning. Getting to the bus was a challenge it should not have been. I easily followed Daniel’s directions from his home to the local bus 5 blocks away. The driver of the mini-van sized bus even stopped and asked me if I was going to Centro. When the bus emptied and a passenger got in front, I tried to ask if he happened to pass the bus station to drop me closer. Instead, the men discussed the terminal’s location and gave me directions to walk there. Only the 5 blocks straight ahead turned out to be 5 blocks too many as I found out after […]
Living on Tacos in Merida, Mexico. In Cancun lived on Tacos and all other ready-made hot food at Chechrui, the local supermarket. Loving it. I expected seafood though, with the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean Coast. It was disappointing to learn from my friend Dalila that fishing wasn’t permitted on the coast in and near Cancun. It was also exciting to learn that in Chetumal there is seafood! I met a really nice guy (another CouchSurfing guy, friend of my host) who is from there and filled me in on his favorite restaurant. I’ll be dining there and posting about it for sure.
A little way I keep in touch with my family: My brother sends photos of his kids every few days and I change out the photo that is my iPhone’s lock screen.
A message I posted in January while still in NYC and working out my next steps. It got me some advice, but not actual boat leads. My plan changed and I returned to LA, leaving the country from there. [Now we head into April and I am still on the lookout for boats.] American world traveler wanting to crew Caribbean, Latin America My name is Deborah and I don’t own a yacht but I’m on a quest to sail in the next months if people will allow me to come on board and contribute. A few months ago I learned I needed to give my rented LA condo back to my landlord to live in. It was the opening I’d wanted to travel again. (When I lost a great apt in my 20s I hit the road and backpacked about ½ the world by myself for a few years.) This […]
Daniel, his other CouchSurfer, Renata, and I took the bus downtown this morning. We had breakfast at Daniel’s favorite place near the square, then walked through the market to pick up some fruit. We are now sitting in a nice, bucket-seat Collectivo bus waiting for 3 more people so it can finally leave. Our destination is Homun, where we will swim in a cenote. We have been sitting in this hot van over 1/2 hour. Riders come slowly, one by one. I would love to know what we will pay and just pay for the other seats. One more woman just came in. Two more. Could be another 15 minutes for that. I am wearing my GirlTrunks, so I am dressed in a tank top and shorts in public but can jump right into the water. (I love the GirlTrunks for this reason. Also because the shorts dry so quickly.) […]
A thank you to my cousin Lisa for talking me into packing flip-flop sandals that turned out to be fabulous footwear for travel. A photo of the beloved first great travel shoes.
When living out of just one bag, every item matters For years, I have had a large black and white sarong that remained in my dresser drawer. I am not a sarong type of gal. But while packing up my home of many years and giving away my stuff, I recognized the value of this large, thin fabric garment. Some of the many uses for a sarong This light-weight garment plays several roles. In cold New York and Boston at the start of my trip, my sarong was my bathrobe, keeping me warm after a shower. This continues through much of my travels. In hot Mexico, it helped me dry off after a shower because in humidity my travel towel only does so much. At night in Mexico and later elsewhere in Central America, when the fan blows to cool down the room and keep Mosquitos away, my sarong becomes a […]
A few hours ago, sitting with my iPhone at the dining room table of my CouchSurfing host, I read an email from an LA writer friend (I know through IWOSC.org) — and I jumped up saying Yeah! I literally jumped for joy and exclaimed “I am so lucky!” Funny how I found myself saying “I am so lucky” today.
I have loved the iPhone since the day it came out. Compared to the Palm Treo 700 I’d had, it was part miracle and part dream. I love all that the iPhone can do — but when that iPhone became my ONLY communication tool I started to truly feel its limitations. I am a professional writer. I need to write articles, to pen this blog (which is something that cannot be done in actual pen). I need to compose text for client websites. And I WANT to be able to write to friends. That’s a lot of thumb tying. 1) My thumbs are getting sprained. Seriously, after two weeks of this they hurt. 2) I cannot keep up with the thoughts in my head so I am losing words and ideas. 3) I am sick of typing the letter c instead of a space, thus (no, not this!) composing gibberish. […]
[As posted on facebook] Today I spent the entire afternoon, until past 11pm working and never got outside. Even spoke to cousin Lisa and friend Mario. It’s just like being at home in, except that I am on a Spanish keyboard so I cannot use punctuation well and I wake and go to bed in a hammock. And that the speaking is via Skype since I no longer have a phone. The no phone is a PIA but the hammock part is cool. I am traveling!
After I was robbed, I immediately changed passwords — and for my email, even changed the username. That was a mistake though, starting a chain reaction that left me unable to filter spam and to delete emails for about 6 days. I could’t find or notice real messages under the weight of the unwanted. It was hard to give up my landline and physical address. It was harder to give up my AT&T cell number as that was my last phone line. But to lose access to my email, limited to wi-fi as it was, really cut me off. It was so great to get to my Merida CouchSurfing host, Daniel, and have a fellow Mac/iPhone geek to help me figure out the problem. I was great to not be alone in the problem. I am so happy to have my email back these past few days!