Honduras Christmas day 2012

Yesterday I felt like a contestant of The Amazing Race reality travel show. I left Rio Dulce, Guatemala for San Pedro Sula Honduras at 9am and sent a little prayer out that I could make this journey in a single day.

By the way for you travelers out there you should put Rio Dulce on your radar, or maybe you shouldn't, I might want to keep it all to myself.

It's a place of magical waterways, giant bugs, and fuzzy little creatures. The backpackers are thin on the ground and the off the beaten path feel brings the dedicated few even closer together.
Here boat is the main means of transportation, as we sit in the jungle and inch closer to the Caribbean Sea.
From rio Dulce I went to Livingstone, a town that can only be reached by boat and named after the famous explorer David Livingstone. This town has a happy busteling vibe and a mob of folk come rushing at you speaking all different languages grabbing your bag and sending you in some direction all in the hopes of a little propina (tip).

Passed from hand to hand I was bundled onto one of these small crafts and off we went. From there it was what happens when you are off the beaten track and have a poor grasp of the language, you get out of your boat or taxi and you stand around and no one approaches you, no one cares. They may look at you slightly, a very white person in very strange clothes with two back packs strapped to either side of her body not to mention the tattoos, but really they don't care. They are people leading their lives and going about their business. So there I stood for a few minutes at the marina staring. The tourist office was closed so I grabbed a random man, said excuse me and that I needed to go to Honduras. Withen seconds he had me bundled into a strangers car hurtling across town, children and chicken flying out of our path on our way to the border collectivo. If you've heard of chicken buses and always wondered what they were here's a little clip:

After a long day of sweaty travel and multipal cross overs you sometimes find yourself looking like this:

And possibly deserted border crossing like this:

Two boats, two taxies, three chicken buses and 9 hours later I made it to San Pedro Sula, Hondorus, dirty, hungry and alone. 
I love this form of travel, it feels like intense self reliance, but actually it's a more intense form of reliance on others. When was the last time you stopped to help someone traveling that obviously didn't speak the language? 


My favorite quote right now

"When you are on stage you are having an affair with three thousand people." -Gelsey Kirkland


Puerto Rico

The sun is strong.
The waters are pristine.
The traffic is a nightmare.
The people are proud.
The ATS® is growing.

ATS in PR is young and strong and just where it should be.
There you will find a tight knit community on the biggest little island in the Caribbean and they are all coming up together.

Diana Lee Huertas invited me to visit this magical little place, and though I’ve heard great things about it, it was never high on my travel “to do list”. I was sad to leave behind Mexico and all the lovely ladies there but exited to see where else ATS® had gone in this world and what it was doing there.

Diana sticks to and teaches pure ATS®, despite her strong back ground in raqs sharqi and only a little over a years experience with ATS®. Despite having only a year of work under their belts Diana, along with her ladies, have a clean grasp of the movements and perform cohesively as a group.

Diana is humble and open with her dancers, she knows she is still learning the art form and doesn’t try and hide that fact from her students. I have rarely meet a sweeter more open soul than this woman and this is reflected in harmony and strong bond found in her group.

I can’t wait to see what this island has in store for ATS® as they all progress in their knowledge and skill.

There's nothing more I love than spreading the word of ATS® so when I got the chance to be on the radio I jumped at it!


Here's the interview:


Here's a visual journey of the rest of my time there:


       Paddling and swimming in the Bio-luminescent bay was one of the coolest experiences of my life!

I couldn't seem to leave here without taking a piece of the Caribbean with me.


A night in Belize City

The wall spits fire at me when I try to plug anything in.
The mattress is thick as a maxi pad, heavy flow days, the slats suspending me over the floor press into my back.
There are no lights in the bathroom, which wouldn’t bother me except for the thick iron strength spider web across the shower door and the sticky, patchy, sketchy tiles. This is exactly the kind of place that promotes shower shoes.

There are bars on the window locked tight, but a shutter on the outside swinging freely, jarring me awake every time the wind blows.

Belize is a small country that takes a long time to cross. The inter mysteries of the chicken buses confounds even the most experienced of travels, the where and they why of the pause or the stop is useless to question.

A man I talked to on the bus turned out to live in the South side of Belize City, he is a gangster in the VFP Village for Peace, but they are a violent gang. I didn’t bother to question him about peaceful violence. He told me Belize city was dangerous and that I shouldn’t stay there, but rolling in at 9pm didn’t give me too many options. 

The city itself seems like it doesn’t want to hang out with itself, the place is mostly deserted, everything is shut tight.
Luckily there are 5 foreigners, and safety in numbers we band together. 
In desperate need of the correct currency and nutrition we are forced out to forage. The people on the street look a little threatening but I’m SF trained and street wise, a little smile and conversation showed them to be sweet and friendly, though God knows what they’re doing out on the street at that time. 
Five foreigners on a dark street at night and these men now know we are all going to the ATM to pull out some money, good work Kristine. Luckily things turned out fine. Dough was grabbed and we found the only place open to eat, a park filled with at least 10 hot dog stands. Only the food cart vendors, a few homeless, and us conjugated there. I found one woman off to the side with beans and rice so I was saved food wise for another evening.

Now bed, shutter slamming, wood slats pushing and an early morning on the rise.



It's a magical thing, to be able to sit in your underwear, on a balcony with gorgeous turquoise water racing up beneath it, coffee in hand, fast dependable wifi, and my computer on my lap.
Oh and did I happen to mention the weather is perfect, just perfect.

 I realized today that it's been 5 months since I had a home of my own. I left my happy little San Francisco apartment on July 1st 2012 and have been living out of a bag and off the good graces of others ever since. Honestly I'm feeling just a little bit weary, not in a spiritual sort of craving for the every day comforts way, but more in a physical, my body is tired sort of way, and yesterday didn't help much.

I made my first big hop, an airplane ride from Cancun Mexico to Puerto Rico, with a changing of the plane in Florida.

Wow US, can we suck anymore when it comes to immigrations and customs and then to security check point again. I try not to hate on anyone, ever, but the stupidity that ran rampent in this place left me closing my eyes and taking deep yoga breaths and even that didn't seem to help. I will abstain from my own rant because this one is so much better than I could do:

                I agree with all George Carlin says, and there is a lovely ring in hell for TSA .

The plane ride from Mexico to the US was quick and lovely, the transition to planes in the US was awful as stated above, and the ride from Florida to PR was chocked full of turbulence. It was the first time I've ever sat on a plane, eyes closed, breathing deep, realizing that's right I don't want to die yet, I'm not ready. Adrenalin was surging through my body and all I could think of, besides a fiery crash, was this George Carlin rant, again, he sums it up perfectly:

As fate would have it my numbers not up yet, I made it to Puerto Rico in one piece! Picked up my bags and straight out the door into the warm tropical night and what, jeeze no stamp in the old passport from Mexico or Puerto Rico! Lame! I know PR is part of the US but if I have to roll through the customs/immigrations BS I feel like I deserve a sticker at the end of it all!

The beauty of Puerto Rico and the love of my excellent host here Diana Lee Huertas was the much needed balm to sooth my weary travel bones. 2 weeks in this paradise, I think I can handel that. I'm off to start my 2 days of workshops here and sample the flavor of ATS® in this magical little island.


6am and I am waiting for the bus, it seems to be running late, but a perfect way to summon it is by doing something engrossing like blogging. I am currently in San Cristobal de casa, very very cold but surrounded by quiet mountains and a soft beauty. Because of the weather I am layered like a good Californian, however that means I am wearing over 50% of the clothing in my bag. You would think that would make it lighter, but it doesn't.

I'm about to go see an important bunch of rocks but all I can think of is my nice warm bed, or even how I could sleep on the bus if it would ever get here.


South, south, south I go!

I've spent over 3 months in Mexico, and time truly passes with the blink of an eye. I have finished all my workshops, I have fallen in love with a people and a landscape, and now it is time to head south and east to a new horizon.

It's crazy, one moment I am the expert, running a class, people are looking to me for the answer and then the next I am in a store pantomiming the fact that I need dental floss, how the heck do you say dental floss in Spanish?

One of my best friends, Elana Brutman, told me "you live 17 lives in a few weeks while traveling" and that is a phrase that pops into my head continuously, it's so true, almost each day I live, I die, I have some form of heartache and a lot of joy. For example I didn't know that saying good-bye would be so hard. I enter homes, stay for a few days and then I have to leave. It's not like a hostel, where I come I go I throw my stinky shoes on the floor. No this is a family, mom does my laundry AND folds it, we eat breakfast together, talk about love and life and drink wine, and it never get's easier. I've collected so many friends, so much family, and cozy places for my head and heart to rest that I become incapacitated with love. Everyday there is so so much, I feel wild and crazy in my mind with so many beautiful and terrible things forcing their way in through my eyes.

Last night I rode a 12 hour bus through the night, I'm not a fan of night buses, they steal the landscape from my eyes but still it is nice to be back on a bus, the winding darkness, and the anonymity of being just another backpacker.

I can't believe my time here is almost up, I want to move on and explore the rest of this amazing world but at the same time Mexico is feeling like my home, tears will be shed, again.

But on a brighter note speaking Spanish isn't manifesting at a speed that I desire but understanding it is coming along nicely, as long as it's nothing complex, but I wanted to remind the world there is one VERY important phrase to learn while traveling, AND learning a second language can be fun!

About Me

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I study and teach ATS style belly dance with FatChanceBellyDance.

I am about to embark on a world tour: