FC: Purdy Family 2013
1: 2013 To Liam and Anna, We always start with the Christmas of the previous year. Anna, you were so sick so we did not get to go to Leavenworth but your Dad and Liam went and had a wonderful time with Grandma and Grandpa. Then all returned back to our place and had a quiet Christmas and, of course, a fondue. Then Grammie, Granddad, Auntie Sharon and Uncle Pierre came to bring in the New Year – we all went to Les Miserables which was incredible – or at least Mom thought so! Then Uncle Dave came for a visit and we went to McMinimums in Portland and Edgefield. It is a wonderful time – soaking, eating, exploring, reading and laughing. Next on the agenda , (in between school, work, tea kwon do and sax/flute) was a ski trip with Uncle Rob and Auntie Susan in Manning Park – we really enjoyed cross country skiing, great food/wine and time together. Monique even popped in for a visit on her way back home. Then Auntie Susan came back with us and we went thrift shopping – we drove to Seattle singing, “Thrift Shop” at the top of our lungs. Uncle Rob and Dad went back-country skiing in Manning Park and slept in ice caves!! For Spring Break, we enjoyed visiting Uncle Ken, Sara, Jeff and Jen in Vancouver and then spent a couple days roaming about the city and exploring the science museum. Early June we met Grammie and Granddad in the San Juans for two nights of camping in the rain. Too bad it was so wet but we still hiked and had some great meals together. Late June we went back-backing on the Juan De Fuaca Trail – this was very hard hiking but you both were incredible and several times, while slogging through mud and uneven trials, your Mom was the weakest link! We hiked 25 hard kilometers. You were both SO tough – Anna you did not like the thought of rogue waves at all but you persevered on some long beach walks traversing around huge rocks and amidst some scary waves.
2: With summer upon us, you went to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for two weeks while Mom worked and Dad went Kayaking in Haida Gwii with Rob, Susan and friends. You went to Heritage Park, hiking, and got to go to Silverwood theme park – “the best part!” – According to Liam. I drove up and we met in Coeur d' Alene for two nights on the lake with swimming, bike riding, long walks and great meals. In August we canoed the Bowron Lakes then it was back to school. Liam, you went into 7th grade and started the tenor sax and jazz band. Anna you started the fifth grade program. Eldemira and I walked you and Jissel to the bus stop and happily waved you on the bus but as soon as it pulled away, we both burst into tears. Mom started her private practice work – very difficult undertaking and also rewarding and soon the potential to teach yoga as well! In October, we went to Thanksgiving at the Ranch. We brought Jissel who loved her Canadian experience. It was a wonderful time – long walks, incredible food, hike up the mountain, picking the last of the peppers from the farmers fields, music , target shooting and horse-shoes. Liam and Anna, you had so much fun with your cousins. The rest of the year flew by and now, as I am writing this, we are in Mexico!
3: Christmas 2012
4: Liam and Dad in Levenworth with Grandma and Grandpa
5: Sledding Snoqualmie Pass
6: Mom and dad cross county skiing at Snoqualmie Pass
7: Manning Park cross country skiing with Uncle Rob and Auntie Sue
10: In Seattle with Auntie Sue Thrift Shopping
11: Mailbox Peak Again
12: Portland with Uncle Dave and Grammie and Granddad visit
14: Vancouver with Sara and Uncle KEN
17: Black Belts
20: Backpacking Juan de Fuca trail
24: Birthday Camp out age 10 and 12
25: The Boys
27: The Birthday Crew
28: Lake Washington
30: Kayaking Haida Gwaii
31: Haida village of SGang Gwaay
33: Off To Calgary
34: Bowron Lakes 2013 Liam and Anna, we love you so much - you were so incredibly strong and fun on this trip. Here is a record of what we did: August 24: Left Becker's Lodge. Camped at campground #3 - at the end of the second portage. Played Uno, had a fire, ate hamburgers/ tofu burgers and drank wine! August 25: After a very painful canoe lesson, Jana got the hang of the "J" stroke - sort of. Saw a moose today!! Camped at campground #19. Great weather - beautiful spot. Ate sundried tomato and pesto linguine. Incredible! August 26: Woke up and ate oatmeal and bacon - on the water by 0930. Paddled into Issac Lake - overcast-got very cold and wavy! Stopped for lunch - did I mention it was cold? Paddled against the wind to campsite #24 just as it started to pour. Got under the tarp quick. Shared the campsite with a Romanian family - Monica, Dan and Adi. Kids built an Inukshuk, fished and played uno. We ate the best Thai meal EVER - shrimp curry over rice. Here is the recipe: Dried pineapple, Dried green and red pepper, Dried tomato, Red curry paste, canned shrimp, water to cover, Coconut cream, Pepper over RICE - phenomenal
35: Hells Gate | "Ni Hao!!"
37: August 27: On the water by 0930. Liam, Anna and Paul did the chutes - they loved it - Mom happily took pictures and walked!! Two hard portages later, Mom canoed the river - VERY poor job of it but Dad still said, "Good work love, you did awesome!" Stopped at "Butterfly cabin" on McCleary lake - campsite #31. Had hot shower, mochas, wine, clam linguine and brownies in the warm sunshine - bliss....Here is a haiku inspired by these moments. Beautiful Moments: Butterfly Cabin Sun, Food, Wine, Showers, Brownies Love, Bliss, Contentment August 28: Woke up early - on the water by 0900. Said goodbye to Butterfly cabin. Down the Caribou river. Liam and Mom got stuck on a tree stump and, again, were rescued by Dad. Had more paddling problems - greatly appreciated your Dad's infinite patience and reassurance as Mom was in perpetual panic mode! Paddled several lakes, ate hot soup for lunch on Lanazi Lake then MORE paddling....Sandy Lake, Caribou river, Babcock lake, then Skoi lake and ANOTHER portage this time in the pouring rain. Finally stopped at campsite #44 - kids, you were Rock Stars - still full of fun and laughter after 7 hours of paddling, portaging and two hours in the pouring rain! Had warm fire, salmon Alfredo and wine with four Baptists...wonderful conversation and company.
39: August 29: Woke up - coffee in bed - thank you Dad! Anna, you and I made Nutella pancakes and then we were off again! Paddled to campsite #53 at about 2:00 - read, ran around the forest, sat around the fire and made chili and Johnny cake - phenomenal!! August 30: Woke up to the pouring rain. Coffee, soup and Johnny cakes with syrup in the tent - thank you again Dad! Paddled for two and one half hours - and then we were DONE!! Balance: Motion with Stillness Direction with Acceptance Goals with Present Life .....inspired by Paul's thoughts after Bowron lakes - a trip like this is a metaphor for how to best live one's life - set one's course or direction but then fully appreciate the present moment in with openness and flexibility.
40: Camp 1
43: Paddling in Search of a Moose
45: Butterfly Cabin
47: Map Reading and a VERY Rainy Day
50: Thanksgiving 2013
56: Christmas 2013 Dec 23: Mexico City to Tuxla Gutierrez - the ONLY white people in a big city and no one speaks English - not in stores, restaurants, hotels - too funny and great practice for me... We went to the plaza and went sledding on manufactured snow. We wanted to go skating but the line was too long -it is very funny to watch Mexicans try to skate - they cling to sides and shuffle along. Merry X-mas eve. We are in San Cristobal De Las Casas. It is a little cold and raining - everyone here is dressed like they are in the Arctic Tundra. This is incredibly interesting - a huge culture shock - again NO English. We went to an enormous market with thousands of people - roosters, vegetables, music, spices, every food imaginable and most people in traditional Mayan dress. The Mayan indigenous people dress in bright colors and the women wear the most uncomfortable looking black animal fur skits with colorful capes and what looks like enormous folded dishtowels on their heads. They look incredibly poor and sad to me - carrying huge loads and carting around tired looking children.... We went to a Mayan Healing Museum where we got to see a video on how the Mayan midwives practice. This was Culture and Health Class 101 for Liam and Anna – the midwives talked us through the birthing process and shared her beliefs and practices while attending a live birth. There is an incredible amount of ritual and ceremony involving herbal teas, prayer and the practice of waving live roosters, eggs and hatchets over the woman’s pregnant belly as a means to hasten a healthy delivery and ward off evil spirits. The woman kneels in front of her husband draping her arms around him - he sits on a chair and rubs her back supporting her through the entire birth. The woman is fully clothed – the enormous black sheepskin skirt here again The midwife sits behind the woman on a little stool to catch the baby. Afterward the cord in cut (different lengths depending on whether it is a boy or a girl) and when the placenta is delivered, it is buried in the dirt floor of house – again a different way depending on whether the parents wish to have a boy or a girl next time.
57: Dec 25th: Merry Christmas! We got up early and went horse-back riding for our X-mas present, This was your first horseback riding experience kids and Anna, your horse was “a rebel” so we hardly started before he rode you into the bushes – you were not pleased so the guides roped your “rebel” in for the rest of the trip. We rode about one hour past tiny farms to a little village called San Juan Chamula. The indigenous people here are called “La Candontes” and lead hard farming lives – hoeing their little parts of the earth by hand, the women in in black sheep skin skirts, layers of bright clothing and the men in thick black sheep skin robes! There was an enormous ceremony in celebration of Christmas. There was an elaborate procession involving two groups of people adorned in native costume walk toward each other in prayer amidst incense, crowds and music. Once united, then procession moves toward the church, whose floor was covered in candles, pines needles and moss. This was an incredible experience! We got back into town and later went ice skating – well worth the two hour wait in line for a completely free and hysterical experience. We skated to blaring music surrounded by crowds in stands (ice skating is a spectator sport here). We looked like pros even though none of us are great skaters. It was remarkably well organized process (minus the care of the ice – no Zamboni in sight) – literally hundreds of people patiently waiting their turn while friendly officials/volunteers helping every step of the way – skate rentals, crowd control and individual lessons (for people willing to stop clinging to the sides of the rink for their dear lives). We had a Christmas dinner of cheap street tacos and headed home. The next morning we got on a bus to Palenque – we were VERY un-prepared for what awaited us. This was a five hour bus ride that is probably difficult to adequately describe in writing but here it goes. You would think with my history of car sickness, I would have given this some forethought. This was an incredibly windy road and about two hours into it, Anna said, “Mom my stomach hurts bad” – we leapt up and virtually ran to the bathroom at the back of the bus. Our haste, however, was not rewarded to make the greatest understatement of my life. Anna vomited, in a projectile manner, all over the door to the bathroom, her mother and several unfortunate passengers. .... Story continued on next page if you can handle it
58: Upon finally getting in the bathroom, I was madly trying some damage control with suboptimal amenities when the bus lurched around a corner and I went flying out of the bathroom door (literally flying backwards like a rocket launcher was attached to my chest) into the aisle into a pool of vomit. Unbelievable.no injuries sustained and after 30 minutes, I managed to clean everything up with hand sanitizer – thank the lord above for my lemon and lavender sprays and gels – everyone appeared to forgive us and offered barf bags, medications, napkins – all needed for the next three hours because between Anna and I – well no further detail is necessary – I covered the worst of it. Arrival to Palenque: Our place here was pretty cool, Liam and Anna you loved the pool and used your snorkels and fins. There was also a river for swimming with howler monkeys howling all around (though we never did see them). The next day we went to the Palenque ruins. Palenque was first occupied 100 BC and flourished from AD 630 to AD 740. We spent hours wandering through incredible Mayan ruins. Hundreds of ruined buildings are spread over 15 km. We explored this wondrous place for hours Dec 28: We left Palenque at 6:00 AM and began our journey to Guatemala. This involved a cab ride, border crossing (rather expensive and confusing), a very short boat ride, a bus ride that was much like four wheel driving (this time we were prepared with Dramamine and the local folklore recommendation of sucking on limes – so we did not even feel nauseated once) through remote farming villages, immigration (more expense) and then finally a paved road – all told 10 hours – was only supposed to be 6! So we spent the night in a beautiful spot just outside of Flores, Guatemala which is a lovely little lake island – we walked over the bridge to Flores and ate pizza and pasta – long day but no major disasters.
59: A Bus Ride... not THE Bus Ride
66: Dec 29: We arrived to El Remate– just a short easy bus ride. We were here for two nights at Casa Don David. This place is amazing – the rooms are very basic but it is overlooking the lake with a beautiful deck and the most incredible garden that is shaped like the Mayan calendar with the tree of life (Ceiba) in the center. There are hammocks everywhere and even a little zip line trolley that will bring drinks if you order them on a little intercom. We went on a 3 hour jungle walk and saw howler monkeys (so cute!), enormous butterflies, birds and gigantic termite mounds. Then we went for a swim in the lake and drank coconut water right from the coconut – this is heaven (or at least Mom thinks so). There are pigs, chickens, roosters and horses just wandering around freely grazing. The people here are very poor and living in tiny huts – everyone has been very friendly – smiling and waving as we walk by – they all seem very happy. Dec 30 – We got up at 3:00 AM – no easy task – and took a tour to Tikel to climb the largest Mayan pyramid and watch the jungle wake up with the sunrise. The howler monkeys sound like dinosaurs and the birds were so loud. We learned a lot from the Mayan guide – this was inhabited around 800 BC to 900 BC and its population was estimated at 150,000. The structures were built using waterproof stucco made from tree sap. The Ciebo is the tree of life – its roots symbolize the nine levels of the underworld, its trunk represents life and the leaves, sky. I also learned about Ramon which is a nut that is ground into a powder to make flour, tea, coffee and cookies. It is extremely high in Vitamin A, C and folic acid – the Mayan elite ate it and lived to age 85 on average – according to our guide. I went to a tiny grocery store across from our hotel and stocked up on Ramon!! When we got back we walked to the lake and went for a swim.
72: Casa Don David | Endless Bus Rides!
74: The Jungle, El Remate
75: Tikal Ruins
76: Dec 31: Up early again to catch a 5:30 AM minibus to Belize – 5 hours and uneventful – thankfully. Belize City is quite a sight. Hot, bustling and a melting pot of cultures. It is a unique blend that emerged through the country's long and occasionally violent history. English speaking and Creole dominated, Belize has more in common with its Caribbean island neighbors than its bordering Spanish-speaking countries. Most people we saw were of African descent. Belizean Creoles, also known as Kriols, are Creole descendants of Black African slaves brought to Belize in the 17th century. We got off the bus and were immediately accosted in the most friendly of manners with both helpful and “less than helpful” people – discernment proved essential. We did give in to one exceptional saleswoman who braids hair. Her voice and humor were so entrancing I could not resist. So I learned a lot about what is like to live in Belize while Anna got her hair done– it is hard living for sure. There seems to be no safety net whatsoever and very limited opportunities for education or upward mobility. Many people just make up their own livelihood –to quote this woman, “you find something to do or you and your family starve, that is all there is to it so I braid hair.the cruise ships stop here so I do OK.” So it seems this remarkable woman is able to care for her three children utilizing her boisterous personality, humor and unbelievable hair braiding skills. She asked what I did for a living and when I told her, she gave me a little window into what life is like for the mentally ill in Belize City. There is one psychiatric hospital but it is 20 miles out of town and most families chose not to bring ill family members there – “too far away and it is a bad place”. So they try to manage things as best they can at home and when that does not work, they essentially put them out on the street. She said that the mentally ill and drug addicted wandering the streets is a devastating problem here.
77: At one point a friend of hers appeared, offered her manicuring services to me and when I politely declined, she smiled widely and said “no problem honey” and launched into a lengthy and fascinating conversation while moving in and out of Creole and English (translating to English for me).Creole in the most entrancing , rapid and musical language. I have never heard this spoken before and it is rather impossible to describe but completely unintelligible even though they describe it as “broken English”. A mutual friend of theirs who they grew up with just died of a heart attack at the age of 38. They reminisced about playing together as children, going to school and about how this man was a great father to his own children. This stimulated a conversation between them about diet and health (“all red meat is bad whether you are fat or not– chicken, vegetables and fish are fine”) as well as how life is “short, uncertain and hard” so it important it is to “fix things with God” before you go. The manicure lady turned to me and said, "I have not fixed things with God yet but I know I need to and I will" And with that, Anna’s braids were done, money was collected and they were off with smiles and long relaxed strides. How I wished I could have kept talking to these incredible woman. Wee arrived to Caye Caulker by boat – this is a beautiful small island on the Caribbean Sea. You can walk around it in about one hour. Exploring, swimming and enjoying some time together is a gift. There is even Yoga here and Mom got to go twice! Yoga on the rooftop of a hotel at sunset! For New Years Eve, Anna got really tired and went to bed at 9 PM! At 1130, Dad, Liam and I went to “The Split” – one end of the island. Liam we embarrassed because Dad and I danced up a storm. The fireworks were awesome and there were lanterns being set out over the water. Very memorable New Years! On Jan 2 you guys and Dad went snorkeling in the morning. This was a boat ride to the barrier reef. Anna was initially terrified because there were sharks circling the boat. After some reassurance and persuasion (these were nurse sharks that do not eat humans), she faced her fear and jumped in. They did four “free dives” (going down deep while holding your breath). They saw loggerhead turtles, dolphins, a thousand kinds of fish and enormous stingrays! They also got to explore a shipwreck. This really was an incredible experience!
79: Liam meets a Turtle
81: The next day it was off to Chet Mal, Mexico by boat. That evening we saw “The Hobbit “ with Spanish subtitles and Mom continued her Spanish lessons and informal qualitative research project with Mexican cabdrivers. More painful immigration and a chill day then the following morning we flew back to Mexico City. We checked in to our hotel and immediately hit the city by subway. The subways are amazing – incredibly crowded but efficient. At almost every stop a salesperson jumped on selling wares for 10 pesos: gum, chocolate bars, chocolate marshmallows, music, razors, toys – there were even entire bands of musicians jumping on to play for pesos. We bought a few items and listened with appreciation. Then street tacos – risky but delicious, then it was off to the Museum of Anthropology. This was a phenomenal experience – hard to see it all even with the three hours we had! We went for a short walk after that to a big square with a newly constructed monument called “Estrala La Luz” commemorating the indigenous population genocide during and since the Spanish conquest - 70 million dead and 20 million lost. It is 350 feet high, each section lighting up at random – quite a sight – apparently it cost 79 million much to the horror of many Mexicans it seems. Mom missed the Freda Kahlo museum – no time but a good reason to come back to this incredible city of 13 million.
83: Favorite Quotes for the trip: 1.Liam: “I am dying slowly but faster than most people....because I am so hungry” 2.Anna: after hearing our explanation of the bidet that was in one of our rooms: in her best African American accent “ I ain’t gonna be washing MY butt hole” 3.Liam: In his best East Indian accent:”Keep your tip, I will give you your beating for free” 4.Liam: “The only thing I need to be happy is breakfast, lunch and dinner” 5.Anna: In response to mishearing a comment mom made regarding the drink in Mexico called, “Pumpo” – I said, “It is weird, some pumpo is white and some are yellow. She thought I said “people” – so commented, “YEAHand they all speak Spanish! 6.Anna: “Pop always tastes better when it is a bag” 7.Liam: In response to Dad getting aggravated at Liam because his clothes were on the bathroom to which adamantly responded, “Dad they DROPPED on the floor!! Then, in a quieter voice, “jeez, nobody blames gravity for anything around here” 8.A dialog I witnessed between a mother and son (approx age 7) on Caye Caulker: Son: whining incessantly Mother: several patient responses in a`calm supportive tone Son: more whining Mother: yelling now through gritted teeth: “I WILL send you back on a plane home right now and you can go back to school.if you want to stay here, your job is to stop whining and have fun in paradise, OR ELSE!!!” And two final quotes repeated very frequently on this trip: 9.“Thats booty” 10.“Thats a shame”