Browse Month

December 2016

(un)Belize(able) Caye Caulker – paradise or prison?

No shoes, no shirt, no cars and no problem – that pretty much sums up my stay on this small paradise island. Picture perfect palm tress, fine white sand and crystal clear water wherever you go. Sounds like a true paradise, right?

When you walk the so called “streets” of this island the locals (sometimes friendly and sometimes a little bitter) will try to speak to you and most of all they will advice you to listen to their motto: go slow! And on this island there really is no need to hurry, since nothing is ever more than a 5 minute walk away. I spoke to a lot of locals about how life on the island actually was and many of them had never left the island, so they don’t know a life or world beyond it. Some of them liked it, just relaxing, smoking weed and not doing much more than interacting with the visitors. For a guy like me visiting only 4 days (which is enough) it felt like a paradise – but for some of the locals the white beaches and blue water surrounding the island more feel like prison walls than a paradise, keeping them locked on this island. I truly understand them, I got “island fever” after just a couple of days and to spend a lifetime scares the shit out of me. So in one way I pity them, but I also believe that if you really want to change your life, everyone is able to do it – but it won’t change by itself, you have to initiate it. At the same time, once again, I got reminded of how lucky I (and probably you too) are that are born in a part of the world where it’s very easy to form your life the way you want it.

Coming from 5 days in the mountains of Guatemala and even sub-zero temperatures it was really nice to arrive to some real warmth and nice swimming water. Since it’s an island there was always a little breeze keeping the humidity down, at least this time of the year. I spent the days sunbathing, snorkeling and just relaxing with some people from Denmark, the US and Australia. One of the best things with traveling is to hear peoples stories and experiences in life. Sometimes getting inspired, and sometimes getting grateful for how your own life is. For example a Danish girl told me a heartbreaking story of how she lost her mom in a car accident. She had learned the hard way not to take anything for granted.

My time in Latin-America is soon coming to an end and I have one more stop left here before going to Los Angeles to celebrate Christmas. To put it this way: it’s taco-time, Mexico here I come.

Belize

Good times in Antigua Guatemala

After around 7 weeks in warm and humid places it was a relief to arrive the small mountain village Antigua in Guatemala and finally breathe some fresh air again. With cosy streets everywhere, colorful houses, picturesque architecture, friendly people and surrounded by volcanoes – I liked this place on instant. Since I only had 4-5 days in Guatemala, I chose this city because of it’s good reputation and also that it’s near to Guatemala’s most spectacular attraction: the Acatenango Volcano.

Meeting up with some Australian people I met in El Salvador we decided to do a two-day hike up this volcano 4000 meters above sea level, which is a pretty tough altitude, especially when you have spent the last 7-8 weeks at sea level. I’m glad I did a challenging hike in Nicaragua so my legs were somewhat prepared for things to come. From the start it was STRAIGHT up for about 4 hours with 25-30 kilo of packing, starting on 2400 meters above sea level to were we set camp on 3600 meters above sea level. The hike up was warm due to the steepness and the good weather, but as soon as the sun went down it got blistering cold – and beautiful. First we could enjoy a spectacular sunset and then we got to see the volcano Fuego erupt multiple times. Spitting out lava and sounding like a massive explosion this really was an unique experience.

At 4 AM we started the approach towards the summit at 3976 meters above sea level to see the sunset at 05.30 AM. I’ve been on higher mountains many times, but never as cold as this. I guess around 4-5 minus degrees Celsius and a harsh wind blowing made it really cold, even though I was proper dressed with wind-stoppers and even a down jacket. The sunrise was short but beautiful, before the clouds came and blocked so to speak all the view.

Back in town I had 1,5 days left before leaving for Belize. The plan for this time was: doing nothing. Or at least not more than just stroll around the streets, enjoying the weather, some good juices and tasty food. It’s very cheap here and the food was amazing – and I never use superlatives unless when I really mean it. These 1,5 days was really good – ironic enough even better than hiking the volcano, even if that also was an epic adventure. I met a Danish girl also traveling on her own. Though she “only” is away for two months, we agreed that sometimes the best days are the days when you have no plans and no big highlights, but just enjoy the everyday-life and do whatever you feel like doing. The best things in life are free and small details can make big difference.

After 4-5 days in the mountains, I’m now looking forward to some crystal clear water in the Caribbean and since I’m going to a small island I hope the breeze will make sure it’s not too humid. Time will tell, as always.Guatemala

El Salvador – heaven or hell?

A lot of surveys say El Salvador is the world’s most dangerous country outside a war-zone. With almost 7000 registered homicides in 2015 and a story of a backpacker being kidnapped and killed in the capital San Salvador recently, I ain’t gonna argue that fact. Just to get some perspective: in 2015 there was 4 homicides per 100 000 people in the US – in El Salvador there was a staggering 104 per 100 000. So why is it so dangerous? If you have three minutes you should read this: Why El Salvador is so dangerous and violent

If you by some strange reason don’t have three minutes and just one, you should keep on reading here.

  • It all goes back the the civil war started in 1979 and ended in 1992.
  • After the war the country was flooded with guns and people used to war and fighting
  • Gangs were created, now said to rule the country
  • Corruption; the mayor of San Salvador is said to be in alliance with the gangs
  • Poverty – desperate people do desperate acts in order to get money.
  • Drug trafficking. The cocaine from Colombia passes El Salvador on the way up to the United States.
  • The worst part: predictions say it will only become even worse.

Enough history – why did I go here and how was it?

Rumors are usually not as bad as the reality and I thought that there has to be some nice places even in this country. After some research I found a coastal surf town named El Tunco – so I went there with mixed feelings. I left with only positive feelings. The place was perhaps not the most beautiful I have ever been, but it was extremely relaxed, cheap, had good surf and the people living there super friendly. When you think of it it’s not strange; for them tourism is everything, so they really work hard in order to please the people going here and to keep it safe.

I only spent 2,5 days here but it was enough in such a small place. The days were spent enjoying the nice weather, the surf and just relaxing. Going to bed early and sober in order to reach the sunrise surf is something I value more than sitting in a bar, but that’s just me. Here I also met the first Norwegians on this trip so far.

So, sometimes rumors are not as bad as they say. Mostly actually. And if you have a business idea, a goal or a dream – don’t care about what other people say, just  do it!
El Tunco