What's the Most Unusual Place You've Ever Visited?

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Real Estate Agent with John L Scott Market Center 700512026

What's the Most Unusual Place You've Ever Visited?

I won't make this a contest, but it will be of GREAT interest to me to see what your comments are! And if this sparks the need to blog about YOUR most unusual place. 

Mine was a trip to Guatemala on about $60 in the late 80s or early 90s. 

I have no pictures, sadly, except for those in my mind. I spoke NO Spanish, but traveled with a friend from Guatemala City (we met in the film industry and he was part of the production team) and he was quite generous as he wanted to show off his country and I was a starving artist who didn't want to miss the opportunity.  We went there first (Guatemala City), where I met his parents living a rather barren existence outside of the city. Electricity was on for only part of the day and they lived better than most around them. People were washing clothesbeating them against rocks in the same water they drank from in a river flowing far below. I saw a funeral for a child. Little children were trooping behind the tiny pinebox coffin, held above their heads by adults and I recall them wearing school uniforms--they all had the same outfits on. 

I learned how to say "mariposa", which means butterfly.

We traveled outside the city.To Tikal.

 

I stayed in a tropical rainforest small room and got up about 4am and traveled in the dark to the Mayan ruins and hiked up to the top of one of the pyramids--the one they used for astronomy (I think that's what they told me) to sit in the mist rising up past my head and I meditated while the sun came up. I saw Tucans! And heard howler monkeys while we were walking through the forest, one would howl, another would howl back in a fierce retort.

 

I thought it sounded like lions would sound, but was told about them ahead of time so that I wouldn't be scared. I wasn't, I was simply fascinated!

 We stayed on Lake Atitlan.

Lago de Atitlan seen from orbit.jpg

We stayed in a fancy hotel in a resort area that was locally coined "Gringolandia" because so many Ex-Pats had bought property there. I remember having my one and only American dish, Grateful Dead Pasta at an American restaurant nearby. I was in heaven. The name of the place escapes me now, but it was on water. 

We sat on our veranda that night and I had a special liquer made from locally grown fruits which was not legal. Earlier that day he had me sit in the car while he "visited" with someone in a small fruit stand/grocery area...I had no idea what he was doing. He had been looking to buy some of this for about 3 years he told me later. We had been driving and suddenly, he saw a man alongside the road and stopped and asked him a brief question which I of course didn't understand and then the fella either got in the car with us and showed us the way or he gave my friend, Edwin directions and we went back to the place where he could buy it. I remember plantains or bananas in baskets outside and lots of flies. I had a thimbleful of it because he was insistent that I try it. I got incredibly sick and ended up in ER the next day! I've never been so sick in my life. He was insulted. So sad that he would react that way, as I didn't try to get sick on something from his country. Such an odd reaction I thought, many times later. 

We went to Antigua. It is now becoming more of a tourist area, because it's safer than Guatemala City, but I don't remember much about it. I saw beautiful stunning churches with hundreds of candles lit day and night inside. The architecture everywhere was glorious! The colors of the cities and surrounding countryside were completely different than what I was used to. I remember seeing men passed out on  hillsides along the roads. I recall seeing a small man carrying a burlap bag over his back and he was hunched over walking with full crates, stacked, filled with old Coca Cola bottles--ridiculously heavy! The top of the bag handle went across his forehead. I asked my friend and I think he told me that they could make money on returning the bottles.  Everyone walked everywhere, no matter their ages! At one point, I asked how old people lived to be there, and I was told about 70. For as poor as they mostly were, they all seemed happy and so very gentle in spirit.

I do remember guerrillas and military vehicles, which scared the bejesus out of me. That is a vague memory. Thank God! 

One of the most delightful places we explored was Chichicastenango. Miles of local vendors selling their wares, and me with hardly any money--it drove me crazy!

Everything was hand-made, but my friend said, Wait, I will take you somewhere else where your money will go farther.  We drove later up into the hills,mountains on narrow roads (the elevation is very high there) when suddenly he pulled over to this very simple home on a crest of a hilltop. A woman was creating blankets, comforters, etc. out of some of the local fabric swatches.

I fell in love!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some with hand embroidery.

Guatemalan fabric

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I bought the biggest one I could afford which took most of the money I had.

Comforter from Guatemala

And he said that this family would need the money more than some of the vendors in the city streets. 

What a glorious and eye-opening time I had that can never ever be replicated. One of the starkest reminders of how poor they were stuck with me. I recall coming home to my very modest one-bedroom house and sitting down on my comfy old sofa and thinking to myself as I looked around my room, How lucky I am to have what I have!

 

 

 

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Rainmaker
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Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

For me it was McMurdo Station in Antarctica.  (Back in my Air Force days)

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Nov 26, 2014 09:24 PM #10
Rainmaker
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Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Wow, what a pretty group of pix.....I have been alot of places, but the most unusual/scariest actually was Morocco

Nov 26, 2014 10:09 PM #11
Rainmaker
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Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Realtor (503)755-2905  Tikal would be awesome. That is my kind of trip.

Boy trying to think what was the most unusual is tough. But I would have to say for me was the border crossing into the Czech Republic on the Elbe River coming from Germany. We missed our turn and ended up coming in at a very small crossing and we were getting interrogated be cause we were in a rental car. Ended up a being a very fun accident but at that very moment it was a little sketchy.

Nov 26, 2014 10:16 PM #12
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Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

The basement of my wife's old house as we were getting ready to pack it up. Happy Thanksgiving

Nov 26, 2014 10:27 PM #13
Anonymous
Gretchen

Awesome photos! Mine was Kotzebue, Alaska in February. I flew up to do a teacher training in the middle of a blizzard. Was met at the airport by someone on snow machine and handed a face mask and goggles. They picked me up from the "hotel" each morning on the snow machine. The weather was so bad the teachers never did make it in from the villages for their training.

Nov 27, 2014 12:12 AM #14
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Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Roy Kelley bless you for delivering another stunning photo and I love hearing about all of your adventures with your lovely wife. 

Debbie Gartner did you get pictures??  THAT would be a trip I'd want to sign up for. My granny spent time on the "plains" in Africa in a tent with a researcher and she wrote me a postcard telling me to get there before it was all gone. I still haven't, darn it!

Rob D. Shepherd , tell me more! Mayan ruins? I sailed in the Caribbean at Christmas one year--very interesting and different--

Michael Thornton reading this gave me goose bumps. I would be there in a heartbeat.

Joe, thank you, you, too!

James Dray bare-boated in ST Thomas at Xmas time--fantastic--prettiest water I've ever seen. 

Happy Turkey Day, Everyone and Blessings to You All!

Nov 27, 2014 01:13 AM #15
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Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Gabe Sanders does that bring back wonderful memories? I hope so! My hubby was Airman of the Year once.

Kristin Johnston, Waukesha Realtor 414-254-6647 , scariest, hmmmm....why?

Donald Hester you've been to some really unusual places, so this surprises me, but I always love reading about your travels. I would have been freaked out.

Ed Silva , you win for most HYSTERICAL ANSWER. I was roaring!!! 

Gretchen, Alaska is on our radar for a long-extended trip, my hubby and I someday.

Happy Turkey Day, Everyone and Blessings to You All!

 

 

Nov 27, 2014 01:17 AM #16
Rainmaker
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Robert Bob Gilbert
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties - Katy, TX
Your Katy TX ( West of Houston) Real Estate Expert

 

Gayle,

Today due to the Holiday this is a fly by comment. Happy Thanksgiving to you & your family and  May the Good LORD bless all of you. the answer to the query is Turkey!

Nov 27, 2014 01:46 AM #17
Rainmaker
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Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Your travels sound wonderful....reminds me of my daughter who is currently in Peru.  Prior to Peru, she was in So. Africa.  Now, me...I'm not an adventurer. I've been to some gorgeous places in the Caribbean, on many cruises, which is my vacation of choice.  I'm not sure it would be unusual, but I visited some pretty cool castles in Switzerland.  That was a trip of a lifetime for me!

Nov 27, 2014 07:34 AM #18
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Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Robert (Bob) Gilbert , hmmmm....how perfect today, that your answer is 
Turkey!

 Sharon Tara , I have gone on two cruises, one really large with my husband's extended family. I recall actually seeing a shark eat a bird...OMG. That was it for me! I don't like being around tons of people while on vacation. We seek to get away from people.

Nov 27, 2014 08:06 AM #19
Rainmaker
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Yolanda Cordova-Gilbert
Richmond, TX

Gayle,

 I think I have to agree with Bob, Istanbul was very interesting

Nov 30, 2014 05:17 AM #20
Rainmaker
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Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

Gayle-Love your pics. I think my most unusual place to visit is yet to come

Nov 30, 2014 06:39 AM #21
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Joanna Cohlan
Fresh Eyes For Your Home - Chappaqua, NY
Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes

Hi Gayle - LOVE LOVE your photos - and I too loved Guatemala. Chichicastenango was so much fun but Antiqua and Tikal were highlights for me.  And I also bought a handmade blanket that is now on the bed in my guest room! Sounds like you were in a wonderful and adventurous space when you traveled there which made you so much more confident about taking some risks! I love that! My most unusual trip was to the temples of Cambodia.  I'm attaching a photo of a tree that is nothing short of surreal and incredible!ex

Nov 30, 2014 08:52 AM #22
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Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Yolanda Cordova-Gilbert , oh my goodness, I want to pause and hold my breath with that photo you shared....I'm in awe. 

Sharon Lee , you have miles to go before you sleep!

Joanna Cohlan , I would be completely speechless if I saw this in person. I love all of the photos you take, ALL OF THEM. Sadly, I did NOT take any of the lovely photos I used in this, other than the ones of the blanket/comforter and how funny that you and I both would come home with one of these. Sisters of the Traveling Rainers!

 

Nov 30, 2014 09:00 AM #23
Rainmaker
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Joanna Cohlan
Fresh Eyes For Your Home - Chappaqua, NY
Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes

Definitely YA YA Sis-Tas! xo

Nov 30, 2014 09:03 AM #24
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Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities
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Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A.

Crawling around in a pyramid, riding camels in the Sahara and sailing down the Nile were a few of the highlights of my trip to Egypt.

Dec 01, 2014 01:22 AM #25
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Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Norma Toering DEFINITELY Egypt and the pyramids would be on my travel list. What an amazing photo. You are SO lucky!!!!!! This is why I LOVE Sisters of the Traveling Rainers!!

 

Dec 01, 2014 01:51 AM #26
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Rene Fabre
First American Title - Seattle, WA
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Gayle... Wow, what an amazing cool adventure! AND, Well told friend! Thanks for taking along! I've never been on a trip quite like that one... Closest would be a 10 day sailing trip in the BVI in 2006 and a road trip in a band up to Prince Rupert in British Columbia... Hmmm, there's a couple of blogs! :O) 

Dec 05, 2014 02:10 AM #27
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Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Rene Fabre I bareboated in BVI at Christmas one year. I was bad and brought back a big brain coral (I didn't know that you weren't supposed to do that). That was back in '92. The best sailing in the world, I think! I snorkeled side-by-side with a Green Sea Turtle, saw a baby octopus, and stingrays ohhhh, what a delight it was. We were there for 10 days, I think. 

So....when are YOU going to blog about this????

Dec 05, 2014 05:30 AM #28
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Rene Fabre
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Guess I better get off my duff and get to some serious blogging Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Realtor (503)755-2905  !!! ;O) This weekend!

Dec 05, 2014 06:06 AM #29
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