Posts Tagged ‘life all out’


Story by Scott Woodhams @Life all Out

Photo’s by Bernard Barbour

 

A bucket list item was to see Cholita’s Wrestling in La Paz.

We had an absolutely amazing cultural evening tonight, just outside La Paz Bolivia!

2 nights a week, local Choritas, get together and fight it out in a ring, located In a seedy part of town.

Choritas was once a derogatory name. It was describing mixed Indigenous cultures.

Recently this group of women have united and formed a wrestling coalition. This helps provide an income to the women who have been disadvantaged in the past, and provides entertainment to tourist and locals.

I even got into the act! One of the male wrestlers picked on me to punch in the face. The last act of the night was a bully male wrestler who started beating up a female wrestler. I became very vocal and boo’d him loudly and gave him the thumbs down.

After the fight, I took a close up picture of him laying on the ground beaten. He jumped out of the ring, grabbed a big box and came at me in my chair! I stood up (6’5″ mind you), him a mere 5’8″, and he stopped in his tracks, eyes wide! Bernard was right behind me for back up!

I advanced toward him, and he ran. The crowd roared laughing, because he was the bad guy.

We had just an absolutely great time! I even lost my voice hollering so much!20180208_203210.jpg


Our first night in Panama, quaint and quiet. The ocean waves ever so gently, just enough to lull you to sleep. Fireflies bring magic to the darkness. Thunder rolls and lighting flashes off in the distance. Silhouettes of Islands. No wifi, no cell phone, just stillness. No turtles laying eggs, no raccoons to over turn the trash and wake you in the middle of the night. Stars peak through the clouds and soft rain all night. Three dogs appear in the morning and come to rest on our cabin porch, have they been guarding us all night? It’s early, time to watch for whales. We see them, playing in the sea off in the distance. They wave, we wave back. Humpbacks I suppose. Hunting for sea shells, gathering coconuts, we walk. Flocks of parrots fly overhead. Not another human in site. Suddenly, a truck, a moped, a guy on a bike, all make their way past us, they came from out of nowhere and are heading nowhere. Looking odd, where can they be going, I see nothing but deserted beach. Making plans for the next stop. Our friends come over, we look at maps. I’m not ready to go, but we must. What would my family and friend think? Dropping off the grid to live in a cabin by the sea. Whales, playing with dogs, looking for seashells all day. No wi-fi, TV, no bad news or good news for that matter. Time to go. We drive out onto the beach. The sand is hard, you can drive for miles. Ocean on the left, jungle on the right. This is life.


Well it didn’t happen that way, but our day got so mixed up it seemed like it could happen.

 

We broke camp saying our goodbyes to our new friends at Swiss Palm Garden, Inka and Jorg were great hosts. We had a fantastic time getting to know them, going out to eat Italian and a lot of talk about the old country Switzerland. This Swiss couple had a lot of interesting life stories to share, especially Jorge, entertaining us thoroughly. Sailing the high seas from Florida to Spain, not once, but two times. One of those times he picked up Cuban refugees, but that’s a story for a different blog post.

 

Their campground was a welcoming rest with a pool, gardens, fast wifi and two great dogs to pal around with. Just what an overlander needs, a little normalcy. We also met up with a German couple we saw some time back when we where in Nicaragua near Lake Apoyo and met another couple Heather and Scott of Tin Can Sprinter Van, also heading to Argentina.

It was also a great time for Scott and I to work on replacing the AC/DC converter in our rig that has been out of service for almost a month. Fortunately, we had some friends visit from the States, and they bought us the parts we needed to get the job done. Thanks Jefferson and Keith!

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With the weather looking good, our route was to take us down the Pan American Highway with a detour to Manuel Antonio Park and a quick stop to see the famous plane at El Avion.

 

This is not your typical restaurant. El Avion is built into and around an actual, real, historical airplane! Not only does El Avion have great food, great views and great décor, it also has a really interesting history.

Have you ever heard of the Iran-Contra Affair or the name Oliver North? This plane played a big part in the history of this scandal. This C-123 cargo plane was built in San Jose in the 1980s, and after the US government purchased it, to be used by the Contras. This was all part of a bigger scandal that involved Oliver North and the illegal selling of arms to rebels in Nicaragua. The plane that eventually became El Avion had a sister plane which took to the skies on its mission first, and was shot down.
The capture of passengers from that plane is what started to unravel the Contra scandal, and because of this, the second plane never took off. This sealed its fate as a dust-catching, mostly-forgotten relic in a San Jose hangar….until some enterprising and economically-conscious entrepreneurs came along and gave the plane new life. While this plane has never and will never fly, it managed to make the long journey from San Jose to Manuel Antonio – but of course it was not transported in one piece. The owners of El Avion purchased the plane for about $3,000 and decided to put it to good use by recycling it into an unforgettable restaurant. It had to be disassembled for transportation, and the large plane pieces were brought over by land and by sea. Many pieces had to be brought by ferry, as they were too big to get past some of Costa Rica’s smaller roads and bridges.

 

 

We got there too early for lunch, and the restaurant was closed, but we did get some good eats from the bakery. Now onto Manuel Antonio Park.

Manuel Antonio National Park, is a small National Park in the Central Pacific Conservation Area located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, just south of the city of Quepos, Puntarenas, and 82 miles from the national capital of San José. Established in 1972,  it is the destination of as many as 150,000 visitors annually and well known for its beautiful beaches and hiking trails. In 2011, Manuel Antonio was listed by Forbes among the world’s 12 most beautiful national parks.

As expected we saw a sloth, many monkeys, huge iguanas and some bold raccoons. Although Manuel Antonio National Park is Costa Rica’s smallest national park, the diversity of wildlife in its 3 square miles is unequaled with 109 species of mammals and 184 species of birds. Both brown-throated three-toed sloth and Hoffmann’s two-toed sloth are a major feature, as are three of Costa Rica’s four monkey species — the mantled howler monkey, Central American squirrel monkey, and white-headed capuchin monkey, black spiny-tailed iguana, green iguana, common basilisk, white-nosed coati and many snake and bat species are also common in the park. Included in the 184 bird species are toucans, woodpeckers, potoos, motmots, tanagers, turkey vulture, parakeets and hawks. Dolphins can be observed there, as well as the occasional migrating whale. Scuba diving, snorkeling, sea kayaking, mountain biking, and hiking provide opportunities to experience the tropical wildlife that enriches Manuel Antonio.

It was certainly a day in the history books for us as the most mesmerizing wildlife encounters and a beautiful beach.

Stay tuned and keep following. Soon we’ll enter our last Central American country, Panama and face the Darien Gap!


So much to do, see and experience here in Costa Rica. We thought the best way to explain this, is to show you in pictures. Enjoy.


 

Our trek from Rancho Los Alpes near Leon to Laguna Apoyo was  scenic, easy and uneventful. After saying goodbyes to our new friends, Michele from New Zealand, Axel and his family, Alma and her parents Jim and Gina, we hit the road. Getting a much later start than we anticipated we still made it to Lake Apoyo well before dark. We found a route around the city of Managua, bypassing the traffic which added a little extra time to our travels. Stopping for lunch, getting gas and keeping things moving it didn’t take long before we found ourselves driving higher in elevation. With the temperature dropping and the forest getting thicker, our excitement grew. Suddenly there it was, a huge blue lake surrounded by forest. It was obvious we were in the crater now. Tiny villages dotted our path as we made our way, as children and adults waved eagerly. “Hola” we hollered. Check in at Paradiso Hostel was easy, setting up camp not so much, but as usual we made it work. Meeting many folks from all over the world here is just half the fun. Today we’ll hike up to  Volcano Masaya and peer down into an active volcano. Stay tuned for pictures and thanks for following.

 


Our daughter is here with her boyfriend this week. We’re having a great time exploring Antigua, the market, museums, eating out. We’re really feeling like tourists this week. If you’ve not been to Antigua, you may want to put it high up on your bucket list. As they say “pictures don’t do this place justice.” Thanks for following.


by Tammy & Bernard Barbour

 

Sharing, serving and growing. Clubhouse Guatemala is a Christ centered ministry that desires to reach the lost of Guatemala. Clubhouse was Founded in 2008 by Mike and Carla Parker. The Parker’s desire was to go into villages and reach children and adults through block parties, clothes, face paint, cotton candy, vacation bible school, and many other creative ways to show the love of Christ. Today Clubhouse is part of Clubhouse Ministries Inc., which is a registered 501C3 Non-profit that is making a difference not only in Guatemala but also in the United States. Clubhouse assists with discipleship, education, provides aide for many physical needs including medical and dental, homes, stoves, water filters, school supplies, and much more. Clubhouse is still focused on providing the physical needs, to earn the right to share the Spiritual need.

Our experience started with meeting Lori and Timothy Sunday, Worship Directors and team coordinators as well as a group of wonderful young people and their team leader Helen from High Level Alberta Canada.
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Not knowing what to expect, we told Lori and Tim to use us as needed. ” We came to work” we said.  Angela and Scott Woodhams our travel partners with Life all out  who had been here before and also sponsor a child told us ” Be careful what you wish for. ” they said laughingly.  A day after our arrival we awoke early the next morning heading out to a small rural village, San Miguel Milpas Altas, one of the many small villages that Clubhouse Guatemala provides assistance to. Overlooking Antigua with a spectacular view volcanos all around, we were in awe of such profound beauty.

Lori and Tim told us we would have the opportunity to help with building a bathroom for a single mom with three kids or building a home from scratch. Later that afternoon we would have vacation bible school, serve meals, worship, play sports and do crafts and with over 50 kids from the town.

 

Taking a ride further up the mountain from a small church, we all piled on the “Clubhouse Guatemala Shuttle” and rode another almost a mile further up the mountain.  There, we got off the truck, walked some more to a tiny home shared by a mother and her three kids. We spent all of the morning hours, mixing concrete, assembling rebar ladders, forming metal clamps, and cutting metal. Afterwards we took a much needed break back at the church with a quick lunch. Shortly thereafter the kids came in from school.

Feeding the kids, starting with the youngest first, was an epic task. Reminding me of my Army days, we had to take a systematic approach to make sure everyone was fed, then playtime ensued. Before Scott and I knew it, we had kids on our backs, swinging them around and playing “El Toro” chasing them. Meanwhile Angela and Tammy sat and talked with some of the quieter girls and took pictures, little models in the making. Next was time spent making crafts, worshiping with song and praise, and lastly soccer and games in the gym.

 

Then it was time to say goodbye, “Hasta Mañana!” we shouted to all the kids. Having the first day under our belts, we were exhausted but yet fulfilled, grateful and humbled by this experience. We were looking forward to another day tomorrow and the days to come as we spend our time here near Antigua.

If you truly want to make a difference to the poorest, please check out Clubhouse Guatemala. You KNOW your money is actually going to the poor and not to administration or fees etc. We have seen this place in action with our own eyes, and we are in awe and humbled. This organization is based in East TN which makes us proud.  You can sponsor a child for a small monthly fee, and they will get nutritious meals throughout the month. These loving children will melt your heart. We hope you will consider this organization for your charitable giving. If you have any questions, please message one of us, and one will get you in touch with the right people. Please click on the blue link to go to their page. There is a donate button on that page. Thank you.

 

 


Story by Scott Woodhams

Photo’s by Bernard Barbour

One thing I love about traveling, is spontaneity. If you allow yourself to veer off course and explore the unknown, it is common to be pleasantly surprised at what you find. Yesterday, was another one of those incidences. We had heard about a Castillo (castle) near where we were staying, overlooking the water in Rio Dulce. We drove through some narrow streets, past curious locals, until we found a place to park the trucks.
We walked the grounds, admiring the beauty of the trees, flowers, and views of the water. Fisherman slowly trolled by with their nets loaded down. The first appearance of the castle, didn’t seem overly impressive. It was a massive Stone walled complex. As we approached, though, it was surprising to see the draw bridge and mote leading into the wall.


The architecture was intriguing. I loved the arched doorways, and maze like floor plan. Each room led to another series of rooms, until we reached some stairs that led to the terrace.
From there the views were stunning, with the breeze blowing, sunshine beaming. What a place this must have been in it’s heyday (1600s). We spent an hour or 2 exploring, glad that we ventured off our route to see what was around us.

The Castillo de San Felipe de Lara (often referred to simply as the Castillo de San Felipe) is a Spanish colonial fort at the entrance to Lake Izabal in eastern Guatemala. Lake Izabal is connected with the Caribbean Sea via the Dulce River and El Golfete lake. The fort was strategically situated at the narrowest point on the river. The Castillo de San Felipe was used by the Spanish for several centuries, during which time it was destroyed and looted several times by pirates.

 


After driving thru a severe storm since the border crossing with Belize, we finally made it to Ixpampajul. Setting up camp was a muddy soggy experience. I actually had to put the truck in four wheel drive, because the ground was so soft or risk getting stuck. Finally done, we went for a quick walk to check out the grounds. “Beautiful” Tammy exclaimed, as we strolled though the park quietly with wild horses watching our every move. “Lets get low” I told Tammy. We squated as too make ourselves less of a threat, hoping the wild horses would come near us. As they approached,  slowly I pulled out the camera to take a picture. Hoping the flash would not scare them away, I fired. Surprisingly they just stared on.

 

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Having had that little night adventure, we retired to bed.

Early, and I do mean early, just before the sun came up, we heard the sounds of Howler Monkeys off in the distance. We had bought a few bananas as bait, hoping to lure them near the truck and get pictures. But no chance, as they seemed to keep their distance. Having a breakfast bar and a lot of water to drink we though we’d take a quick hike around the park. That turned out to be adventure we had not expected. On the park map showed a trail, it said “not to strenuous”. Two hours later “What were we thinking?” Angela blurted out! We were all thinking the same thing about then as we had climbed several hundred feet in elevation and crossed several huge swinging bridges high about the jungle floor. Finally we reached the top and where treated to a wonderful view, in which we could clearly see Flores far off in the distance. After a bit of relaxing at a refugio camp, we headed back down.

 

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Time to take an early morning nap for me. Meanwhile, Tammy took a shower. Later, she woke me from my slumber “Angela and Scott are ready” she reported. Slowly I pulled myself together. Looking at the clock it was only 10:30 am. Thinking about my Army days “We get more done before 9 am” I chuckled to myself. Packed and ready to roll, we pulled out and headed toward Flores for groceries, the ATM and our favorite, McDonalds. Why McDonalds you ask? For the Wifi of course. Thanks for following, sharing and liking our page. More adventures to follow, we assure you.