"Setting out on the voyage to Ithaca you must pray that the way be long, full of adventures and experiences."
- Constantine Peter Cavafy "Ithaca"
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©2008 Ruth Kozak

ARCHIVES: CENTAL AMERICA



DISCOVERING THE PANAMA CANAL, A WONDER OF OUR MODERN WORLD - Panama
by Edward Quan

Now that the $5.4 billion project to double the Panama Canal’s capacity in order to accommodate even bigger ships as they transverse the 77-kilometers between the Pacific and the Caribbean Oceans is complete, a new era begins for intrepid travelers interested in experiencing this historic wonder of our modern world.


EXPLORING THE ANCIENT MAYAN CITY OF EK BALAM: Yucatan
by Emese Fromm

As I was standing on top of the Acropolis, the tallest building in Ek Balam, my first thought was "I stood on top of this when it was just a pile of rocks, covered with vegetation".I really enjoyed talking about my older adventures at the same site, when it was just rubble.


SIGHTSEEING IN CHICHICASTENANGO ON MARKET DAY: Guatemala
by Troy Herrick

Stepping out of the bus at Chichicastenango on market day is like being hit right between the eyes. You are met by a loud seemingly chaotic atmosphere filled with unintelligible languages, the smell of burning incense and traditional herbs and a sea of bright colored clothing.


THE OTHER FRIDA KAHLO HOUSE: San Ángel, Mexico City
by Ellen Johnston

It’s one of the most famous artistic residences on this continent — Frida Kahlo’s “Blue House”, in Mexico City. Visitors who might otherwise avoid the grime and congestion of “el Distrito Federal” flock here in droves, not only to catch a glimpse of the artist’s life, but also to enjoy the small pleasures of the neighborhood.


NEW LIFE IN OLD GUATEMALA: Central America<
by Jonathon Engels

Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción is now internationally identified as Guatemala City, one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Locally, it is known simply as Guate, and tourists avoid it. On the other hand, the previous capital, known as Antigua Guatemala (“Old Guatemala”), receives over million tourists annually.


FELIZ NAVIDAD FROM ISLA COZUMEL: Cozumel, Mexico
by Jett & Kathryn Britnell

Celebrating Christmas in the tropics promised to be a grand family adventure this year. During the traditional season of gift giving, Cozumel was the present we gave to ourselves! “That was one of the best dives I’ve ever done!”, Kathryn proclaimed after surfacing at Cozumel’s Tormentos Reef.

NEW LIFE IN OLD GUATEMALA - Central America by Jonathon Engels
Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción is now internationally identified as Guatemala City, one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Locally, it is known simply as Guate, and tourists avoid it. On the other hand, the previous capital, known as Antigua Guatemala (“Old Guatemala”), receives over a million tourists annually.

MEXICO CITY BLUES
FOLLOWING THE BEAT TRAIL - By Ellen Johnston

Mexico City has always attracted artists, activists, intellectuals and writers. Over sixty years ago, first William Burroughs, then Jack Kerouac, came to Mexico City, searching for freedom, beauty and surreal inspiration in its storied, hallowed streets.

THE CAVE OF THE CRYSTAL MAIDEN
Belize - by Lee Beavington

"Shoes off! Socks on!" Oscar orders. This no socks, no service policy keeps our skin oils off the sacramental stone. He hands us our cameras. Someone complains that the humidity has fogged up his lens. I look up. My headlamp reveals an angry spirit, a mystic shapeshifter that dances before my roving eyes. Perhaps this is a guardian. I blink, and the ephemeral spirit crumbles into mist. Am I guest here, or trespasser?

THE MYSTERY OF OTUT-TUN
Palenque, Mexico - by W. Ruth Kozak

It is then that I wake from my sleep, but the dream, so vivid and real haunted me. Who was the man, Cho-oc Buhlum? Where was that place? Why was he sending me away? It wasn't until nearly a year later in a place thousands of miles away in south-eastern Mexico that I would find some of the answers.

A COLONIAL GEM
Guanajuato, Mexico

As the decrepit bus flies around another corner, I rue my decision to take local transit into Guanajuato from the bus terminal. Is my life worth the few dollars I saved on cab fare? I see nothing that resembles a town as we roar full throttle through a series of tunnels.

THE SIREN OF BARRA DE NAVIDAD
Mexico

I have recently taken a mistress, a bewitching, beguiling siren. She’s quite a lady. Sometimes, I lie beside her and watch the measured breathing of her bosom. At others, I swim in the warmth of her naked wetness. She’s beautiful, and I’m absolutely captivated.

MEXICO
In The Footsteps Of Ancient Mayan

Mayan ruins are each unique in their own way. Chichen Itza, Coba and Tulum are no different. Chichen Itza has two cultures; Tulum is a walled city and Coba is 95% unexcavated. I have visited each of these ruins, and found it very humbling to walk in the footsteps of ancient Mayans.

THE STAR-CROSSED SHANGRI-LA
Guatemala’s Ixil Triangle

After a tortuous bus ride through the Guatemalan highlands, I’ve finally arrived at the village of Nebaj. A cobblestone street is lined with white, adobe buildings, streaks of rain visible against their red, tiled roofs. The damp air smells of pine needles. Panoramic, mist-shrouded peaks barely visible in the distance resemble the coast mountains of western Canada.

THE WHOLE ENCHALADA
Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaca, however, brings a taste of everything - art, music, cuisine, culture, handicrafts, architecture, jewelry, museums and monumental history - to the table; and the result is a feast of all things Mexican - all in one delightful place.

THE CITY OF DAWN
Tulum, Mexico

As I start my visit to Tulum, and pass through the low entrance in the wall I’m instantly taken back through a time warp. Once inside the perimeter, I scan across the sixty well preserved buildings within the wall. The Mayans were great stone masons. These buildings are from 500 to 1200 years old and still stand tall.

DISCOVERING ONE OF MEXICO’S BEST KEPT SECRETS
Melaque,Mexico

Oscar bound the hind legs of a long-horned Brahma cow, poured 100%-proof sugarcane alcohol and Ibarra Mexican chocolate into a tin mug, shoved it under the cow’s teat and began milking. Offering us a round of steaming frothy mixture, the farmer chuckled and said
“Good Latte! Si?”

MELANCHOLY AND A DIRT WRAPPED SURPRISE
Antigua, West Indies

I sit crouched in a dirt pit. The relentless heat of the Caribbean sun sears my scalp and sends sweat slithering down my spine. A feeling of pure elation surges through my veins. This would not be paradise for everyone, but for me, it was pure perfection. I am one of about a dozen archaeology students who had chosen to spend a month up to their elbows in grave dirt in Antigua, assisting in the excavation of an 18th Century Naval Hospital Cemetery.