"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines.

Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain


>> Tuesday, February 21, 2012


It defined today as we immersed ourselves into one of the last Carib Indian communities. Armed with hiking boots, two full water bottles, and a rain jacket, we made our way into our authentic vans. For two hours we snaked our way up into the rainforest, around switchbacks and up impossible elevations. We drove past locals starting their Carnival celebrations. Our driver saw it first, beeping his horn to the drumbeat. Then a crowd surrounded our van. Swirls of blue, orange and red filled my vision as the locals danced around. It was over as quick as it started, Sea Cat (our driver) honking a beat until we rounded the corner.

The Caribs, a historically belligerent people originating from the Orinoco river of Venezuela, had such a bad reputation that the Spanish created the word “Cannibal” after them. Columbus must have lost his mind by then because the Caribs I met were friendly, generous and hysterical! Nixon, a local Carib, led us on an hour-long hike through the rainforest, to where he and his brother are building a 15 foot dugout canoe. He showed us the right trees to cut and the process of hollowing out a solid old-growth giant. As the group was heading back home, we stopped at a few placed in the village. At my personal favorite destination, we pulled up to a house on the roadside. An old lady was sitting on the porch. I started exploring and it was not long until I found a small group staring in awe at a tree. There, a man was hacking away at a tree trunk with a machete. It looked if he was cutting it down, but there were piles of smoking palm leaves. Then, I heard the bees buzzing and was amazed as the man stuck his hand into the tree and pulled out a dripping honeycomb! Sweetened by tropical flowers, the honey was delicious.

Today was a good day. Not just because of the food (passion fruit, miniature bananas, cashew, custard apples, honey, cassava bread, homemade chocolate, among other tasty treats) but because I felt like I connected with the place and the people. I felt like more than a tourist, and it was exhilarating!


Dublin, Ireland


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