Three hours ago, while returning from a trip from the Seven Alters in the jungle of Livingston, two men, one with a rifle and the other a machete, politely asked us to hand over all our money and valuables.
Yup. Robbed. Now. There are some important things I should comment on. First, I understand the seriousness of this matter. You all know how lighthearted this site and my commentary is, but what I may sometimes downplay, is the great lengths I go through to remain safe. I took self defense classes, I carry mace everywhere, I have chains and locks all over both my packs, I’ve traveled with no less then three men on all my day trips, I talk to locals, I hire guides and police escorts to suspicious sights, I read up and always strictly follow travel guide book advice and am constantly aware of all my surroundings. BUT, despite ALL the precautions a person might take, things simply happen that are beyond ones control. We cannot control all the elements, and I accept that fact comfortable with the knowledge that I’ve taken what precautions I can. (And actually, in this case, as we found out from the other tourists robbed by the same bandits (with more horrific tales), that because there is a such a great deal of racial prejudice against the Garifuna here (aka. Black Carib, the decedents of Africans brought to the new world as slaves) that our safety would have been in greater jepordy HAD we a guide). I SINCERELY hope this instance will not discourage persons from traveling. In fact, I find it rather surprising that in ALL my travels, this is the very first instance where I’ve had something stolen or my safety was questioned.
That said, I am fine. Perfectly fine in fact! Somewhat surprising to even myself, I’m not scared, or angry, or upset, or paranoid, or fearful for my future adventures. How do I feel? I am simply grateful for my personal safety and the lessons learned…. and ready to move on with the same excitement and energy. Okay….I AM a bit sad that my camera is gone (I loved that camera!), and the consequences that fact has for this site. Solbeam.com will certainly be less visually appealing….temporarily. “Temporarily?” Si. Come on…takes more than that to stop me! I’m gonna have to figure out the funds issue…and then how to BUY a new camera (can’t find a floppy disk in 99% of this county, let alone a digicam)…and then how to get that baby shipped down to Guatemala. But there is ALWAYS a way…and you can bet I’ll find it. My apologies though…because now you’re gonna to have to listen to me babble on without the pretty pictures for a month or two.
Mom and Dad, in my typical fashion, I prefer to not tell you these things at all, or at least only after I am safely at home, but alas, in the name of unprofessional-jounalism-something-or-other, I had to post it, my apologies for not sparing you something that falls into the category of “better not to know”. Thank you for the prayers Mom, apparently your angels are watching over me. 🙂
(shakes head and sighs)….$600 dollar digital camera in the the backpack of some ladrone (that means “robber” for anyone who hasn’t caught on yet) with not a clue in the world on how to use it or what to do with it. Pity. Oh, and any donations right now to the support Solbeam.com fund will go directly towards assisting me purchase a new camera. They are most sincerely appreciated.
I’m off to Finca Xabel for a week. Rumor has it there isn’t any internet connection, so I won’t be posting for awhile, or answering e-mails until I get back to Antigua around the 15th.
(thinks about it….smiles…and slams fist on the table…)
“It is better to live endangered and free….than comfortable and caged.”