Since our last post, Emily and I made the long bus ride(s) from beautiful Boquete, Panama, to San Jose, Costa Rica, where we spent one last night together before flying out to our respective destinations. Saying goodbye to Emily was one of the hardest things I've ever done. Over the six months that we had been dating and the three months that we had been traveling, we lived an absolutely fairy tale existence - some of the happiest times I've known. We could only be grateful that, from the beginning, we knew exactly how much time we had together so we knew to appreciate every moment.
It's still hard for me to wrap my head around the reality that I might not see her for over two years, but that's a fact that I'm slowly getting used to. Emily leaves for Senegal today where she'll go through three months of language and skills training before entering into her village and home for the next many months - keep track of what's going on with her through her new blog: undersenegalskies.blogspot.com And hopefully she'll check in here every now and then as well. She's in for a wild adventure there with the Peace Corps, for sure, and I can't be more proud of her for the good work that she'll be doing.
So, sans my travel companion and friend, the adventure goes on...albeit with and entirely different purpose. After a month spent in Puerto Vallarta with friends Tom and Nicole and kids - with daily boatwork, margaritas and beach volleyball - I'm now on a 55-foot motor yacht, named Khushiyan (Hindi for happiness), steaming down the Central American coast bound for Cocos Island, the Galapagos and eventually the Marquesas and Tahiti.
I'll say that this ride is the most comfortable I've had since we left San Diego - I have my own stateroom with a queen-size bed, air conditioning, TV and DVD player, I-pod docks all over the place and the boat is tricked out with stabilizers (for making the ride smoother), the latest in navigational equipment, a night-vision camera for night watches, and more things than I know how to deal with. It's nice.
I'll also say that I'm slightly terrified of being on a boat with no sails, in the event that we run out of fuel or the two engines somehow fail, gawd forbid. We do have two satellite phones, though, in case of anything like that, so I'm not really fearing for my life. It's more a psychological barrier for me to get over...but also keep in mind.
From Acapulco, where I met this boat, we have made it to Guatemala where we're taking five days to travel inland - a welcome break from all the water and open horizons. I'm glad to be getting the chance to see the color and beauty of the place - the markets, the people, the land. We're seeing Antigua, one of the early Spanish capitals of Guatemala, ruined in the 17oo's by earthquakes, and now a still very European-looking, well put-together town, Chichicastenango and it's markets, and Lake Atitlan. There was also a climb to the near-top of a nearby volcano to see (from 15 feet away!!) flowing red-hot lava - pretty surreal.
From here, it's on to Nicaragua on Monday and then to Costa Rica by the end of the week. I'm doing well and hope you're all the same. Check back in soon to catch photos from the last several weeks...coming soon.