From Tours to Turkeys

Nothing like a trip abroad to remind you that the U.S. isn’t the center of the universe. And then I come back the week of the most American holiday next to the 4th of July. Thanksgiving. My favorite.

Belize was really crazy. I “visited” the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave. “Visiting” entails an hour hike through the jungle, sloshing through the river 3 different times, to reach the cave. Then, you swim through the mouth of the cave and begin exploring on foot, sloshing again through it and climbing rocks, for about a mile. You have a hard hat complete with headlamp. It is pitch black inside. I got to see stalagmites and bats. My main reason to visit the cave was because it was a site for Mayan human sacrifices. There were skulls and bones and pots used in those sacrifices. The pièce de résistance was seeing the crystal maiden – the fully intact remains of a teenage girl. She looks sparkly because of the minerals that have formed on her over the last 1000 years or so.

I still can’t believe I did that. I am seriously not a hiker, climber, whatever. I am not athletic. This was some straight Indiana Jones crap. I was cursing my existence – well, more than usual – the whole time. I wore pants and a long shirt because the rocks were slippery and sharp. I walked and climbed through the cave, soaked from swimming. I held on to the guide and various people on the tour. I still slipped from time to time, and I have bruises all over my legs. It was awesome to see the artifacts and remains though. Back at the office, the tour operator who assured me that it wasn’t that bad asked me what I thought of it. “Amazing, but not something I’d repeat.” He told me he gets that a lot, and that’s why it’s described as a once in a lifetime experience.

I was able to do a day trip into Guatemala to see the Disneyland of Mayan ruins – Tikal. Amazing place. They are huge, but I really didn’t realize how huge until I saw them for myself. I had qualms about going because of the crime in Guatemala, but there was nothing to fear. They have military checkpoints now, and the tour guide and driver weren’t armed. I think things are getting much better.

Coming back was interesting too. I landed in Houston a half hour early. Thank God. There was a long, snaking line at customs and 6 windows open. One guy asked an employee, “Why aren’t there more agents?” The lady said, “Budget cuts. Washington.” I laughed to myself. That “big government” isn’t so bad when you’re trying to make your connecting flight. After, I raced through, grabbed my luggage to check for my connecting flight. I was able to try out the radiation refrigerator in security. It was very high-tech. I got to the gate as the plane was boarding. Thank the Lord. I was tired and really didn’t want to stay in Houston overnight.

After landing at SFO, I was already thinking about Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday. I love it. It’s all about feasting and being grateful for what you have. How cool is that? Anyway, since it’s my favorite, I do most of the cooking. Turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing – all on me. I pulled it off. Save for my sister’s delicious green beans and garlic mashed potatoes, this spread was my creation. I make a mean Thanksgiving dinner, if I do say so myself:

I survived Black Friday by staying at home. Why risk getting pepper sprayed in the face for an Xbox? And I survived Cyber Monday. I must admit that I did indulge. Damn that Kate Spade Sample Sale. But hey, I did stimulate the economy.

I think it’s back to business as usual. A full inbox greeted me at work. And then I see politically seductive headlines like “Coulter Calls McCain a ‘Douchebag,’ Gets Bleeped by MSNBC” and “Herman Cain Considers Dropping his Presidential Bid”

It’s good to be home.

39 responses to “From Tours to Turkeys

  • nonnie9999

    welcome home, little spinny! glad you had a good time and that you made it home safe and sound. happy belated thanksgiving! i missed you! ♥ 🙂

  • lbwoodgate

    Nice to see you posting again Cheryl. Thanksgiving is the better holiday I think too. Not because there isn’t the pretense that comes with the other holidays suggesting that giving, loving and honoring others is something we fail to do too much throughout the year but simply because we’re grateful to have survived and haven’t experienced the fate of those living on the streets or stricken with some fatal disease without the means to correct it to the level we are currently able to.

    Surviving is fast becoming the top priority for many more today who just a generation ago were more optimistic about their future than we are today.

    So on that down note, Welcome home! 🙂

  • Terrance H.

    Glad to have you back, Spinny.

  • Snoring Dog Studio

    Happy homecoming, girl! I missed you! Yes, much has happened while you were gone; and, in the same, breath, it’s much all the same crap.

  • afrankangle

    Welcome home Spinny and it’s good to have you back. I guess that means I should do a separate post of based on The Onion just for you. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your highlights. Interestingly, early in your cave story I thought about Indiana Jones … and then you mentioning it caused a chuckle.

    Loved your Black Friday survival method …. mine too.

    Politically, you didn’t miss much.

    • Spinny Liberal

      Thanks Frank. I love reading those Onion headlines. I will definitely be checking out your Opinion in the Shorts so I can pick my favorite.

      It’s all about survival on Black Friday. The best way to survive is to not engage at all. 😉

      Politically, it’s the same crap different day.

  • beaglezmom

    Welcome Home, Spinny.

    I am mightily impressed by your jocky journey through the cave and even more by that awesome Thanksgiving dinner.

    Frank’s right. Politically you haven’t fallen behind at all — the circus is still in town…

  • Sedate Me

    Nothing like a trip abroad to remind you that the U.S. isn’t the center of the universe.

    Careful, Spinny. Talk like that could earn you another tropical vacation…in Guantanamo Bay! Unless you quickly buy back into American exceptional (self-obsession)-ism , you might just become the next Crystal Maiden.

  • pbenjay

    So glad you’re back, always look forward to your “spin” on the ever-changing political world. Glad you enjoyed your vacation. I did one of those “once in a lifetime experiences” in South Africa and I never would do it again but it sure does make for great cocktail conversation, lol.

  • lobotero

    She’s Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack! We missed you and glad you had a good trip and a good T’giving… back to work! LOL

  • Hansi

    Welcome back. Now it’s time for some good ol’ fashion rants.

  • Kendrick Macdowell

    We missed you Spinny! Tikal is like Delphi. You just feel an energy and go with it. In both cases, you trek up, using ancient stairs, and you know, you really know, you’re in a place with cosmic secrets, and all you can do is feel small and respectful. I loved Guatemala. And if the anally calculating Mayans are right, our species has just over a year left. I look most earnestly forward to the year of living diabolically.

    • Sedate Me

      “the anally calculating Mayans”

      Careful, Kendrick. You could get kicked out for using such filthy talk to slander an entire people. I’ve been kicked out of blogs for less.

      • Kendrick Macdowell

        Greetings Sedate Me! For the record, you were not kicked out of my blog. You were very politely warned, and you graciously opted out — to the great relief of several of my readers. For a short while, I was spending more time dealing with your protracted, profanity-laced rants than doing my own writing. Perhaps you could let go of this matter?

      • Sedate Me

        I wasn’t talking about your blog. There’s actually a decent list of supposedly inclusive blogs that have more overtly banished me. (Got a guilty conscience or something?)

        For the record, I did “let it go” to the best of my abilities. I even stopped writing the tirade I was going to send you. Realizing I may have whispered too loudly in your library, I accepted the false choice offered and took my alleged “impressive intellegence” elsewhere. (If you really want, I could still edit the tirade down and send it to your spam bin.)

        Good to know I’ve lifted such a burden off your shoulders, but don’t you know it’s rude to hash out personal laundry on somebody else’s blog? Very uncouth, even by my abysmal standards. I hope to avoid letting you drag me down this road because you might get us both kicked out of here. Hopefully, Spinny is more tolerant than others.

      • lbwoodgate

        Really SM. You chase someone down to berate them on someone else’s blog?

        What are you, 12?

      • Sedate Me

        What, you’ve got laundry too? Jesus! Didn’t I just say that’s more than enough laundry already?

        Just like I did not 5 posts above, I saw an eye catching line and tried to turn it into a joke. I’m told people sometimes do that on the Internet. And once in a while, a good natured ribbing gets appreciated.

        If you turn that into me being a deranged stalker out for blood, you’ve been watching too many horror films. But even if it were true, it’s not like he’s a 4 year old girl. He doesn’t need anybody to save him from a mildly snide comment. If anything, you’re patronizing him as you accuse me of something I wasn’t really doing.

        In case you missed it, the official record states I graciously left of my own accord before it came to anything. That’s not something you hunt somebody down for. So, you’re just mistaken. No apology required. Let it go and so will I.

    • Spinny Liberal

      Thanks Birthdaysake. 😀

      It is an amazing place. My favorite part was after climbing up the stairs they built next to the Temple IV, the tallest one. You could see for forever from up there.

      Unfortunately, I think we have to hold off on the diabolical living. My tour guide was probably a straight Mayan descendant. He was born and raised in that area. He told me that 2012 is just the beginning of a new era. Seriously disappointing. I wanted a written guarantee on the date. 😉

  • myonepreciouslife

    Welcome back! Your trip sounds pretty great. Epic treks like that aren’t my thing either, but after the fact you get to feel really proud of yourself for doing them.

  • dcmartin

    So glad you’re back, and that you had a wonderful experience.
    I’m now picturing you with a fedora and a bullwhip.
    And it’s kinda hot.
    What was I talking about?
    oh, yeah…….welcome home, Spinny!!!!

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