We began in Mexico….

So, a scorpion got its claw stuck in the mesh of our tent…

It was sitting there, right above us in the morning, looking rather glum. I presume it wasn’t trying to scissor its way in to kill us in our sleep. Maybe just trying to grab some other little beasty for a tasty snack and it got trapped. Either way,we squished the scorpion. I’m a Friend of the Animals and everything but I really don’t want those anywhere near my sleeping form. They’re so, chitinous and sneaky. I believe the sting hurts like all hell too……

Where are we now I hear you wonder? Well, let me spin you a tale. Or I’ll just explain, slowly, bear with me.

We arrived in Belize about 10 days ago, after nearly 4 weeks of madness in Mexico. Mexico is brilliant, really brilliant. It was like a living tour of National Geographic articles. We spent time camping beside the beach on Isla Mujeres, got our PADI certified divers licences and went diving in the MUSEO, which is an underwater museum/gallery of sunken sculpture.

It’s incredible, like flying through the forgotten remains of an alien civilisation.

Just certified. Looking rather smug.

We went swimming in Cenotes (look those up if you haven’t encountered them, amazing natural formations) in Valladolid, saw turtles off the coast of Mahahual and got seriously wild with a bunch of fairly unhinged folk in Tulum. People got arrested. There were other things, but it’s hard to describe the scope of it all. It was, Really Great.

Can you see that? I mean, Jesus….. There was a rope swing off one side also, so you could launch yourself into the middle. Amazing business.

I’ll probably do something with pictures and videos in time, but I’m in the jungle at the minute and internet is limited so you’ll have to put up with the words for now.

(That was written before now, and consequntly makes little sense due to the photos attached here. But I’m leaving it….)

Ah the jungle. It’s like that bar in Cheers but instead of everyone knowing your name, Everything wants to suck your juices or lay it’s eggs in you. Good times. I suppose it’s all a balance right? You get endless splendour and stunning natural beauty but it’s really, really itchy and these giant insects keep trying to steal my dinner.

Fortunately I am marginally more cunning.

Our plan was to volunteer at an organic farm in the centre of Belize, work hard and not spend any money. Thus far, objective achieved. We are working for an American chap called Brian Des Rochers who bought a huge chunk of land, including a large orange orchard, in the central jungles of Belize, halfway between Belmopan and Dangriga.

It’s bloody hard work.

I’m essentially a human lawn mower. We get up at dawn everyday (It’s better this way, by 11/12 it’s just too hot to work) and after a quick feed of last nights stew, we grab machetes and head out to the orchard. And we chop. The trees need to be clear underneath so they can thrive but obviously the jungle delights in growing things everywhere so there is a lot of chopping. Really, a Lot of Chopping. Honestly though, I’m really enjoying myself. It’s the hardest, sweatiest toil I’ve had to endure in years but, it feels curiously good. Maybe it’s being outside, maybe it’s the exercise. Most likely I’ve fried my poor brain with all the heat and sweat and it’s actually a total nightmare. Who knows.

Choppity Chop.

There’s no electricity or running water on the farm, but we seem to have adjusted pretty well to jungle living. After the chopping we generally do some serious pottering. This is my favourite bit. I like a good potter. Yesterday I sharpened my machete, pickled some of the carrots we had picked the previous afternoon and went down to the river to wash my clothes. Simple living eh? I really got an inordinate amount of pleasure from washing my clothes in the river, while singing gospel songs for effect. I must be going a little mental.

Or maybe it’s just the lack of meat and booze?

The farm is a no animal products and no booze operation, a fact of which I was slightly terrified in the beginning. But, you know, detox and things like that. I can be like Beyonce. I figured it would be a healthy thing, and it really, probably has been. I’ve eaten nothing but fruit and veg for 10 days now and I must say, I don’t feel even the slightest bit different. All these vegans blether on about vitality and whatnot and maybe I’m too cynical to feel the benefits but I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. Eating lots of fresh tropical fruit though, straight from the trees, is crazy delicious. So that’s nice.

I’d cartwheel naked through a cloud of angry bees for a frosty pint mind you.

Our host has been a wonderful, welcoming human being and is also completely batshit crazy. Thus far he has told me; humans can photosynthesize sunlight through their eyes and that gazing into the sun at dawn and dusk gives one powerful energy, all major political/cultural events are staged and actors play everyone i.e Osama Bin Laden and back Obama are the same person (Michelle Obama is a man…), as is George W Bush and Charles Manson. He believes the Earth is Flat, and that gravity is a ploy invented by the Free Masons. It was Very Difficult not to make make a “Yeah, for keeping us down man” joke at this point, but we’re in the jungle so I’m keeping my opinions to myself in case anyone gets all Lord of the Flies. His house, I shall respect. He doesn’t believe in space or science either, which is……impressive.

Anyway, if you’ve bothered to read this far, thanks.. As I mentioned, there’s not much need doing in the afternoon so I’m having a good old ramble. I’m also currently cooking up some carrot and ginger soup on the fire (we picked a ton of carrots….), so that’s pretty exciting. Right?

I hope you’re Whole and Happy and Hale.

Chuckles von Wanderspasst.

Machete Madness.