Thursday, October 23, 2008

France and back

Greetings all,
Yea, we have been slack on the blog recently so mucho apologies.
Last week we were in France meeting with clients who are planning on opening a large tented resort about 60km from Limoges. This will be a rather challenging project as it is planned to open on the 1st of July 2008.
This African themed resort will feature 100 luxury tents, floating tent restaurant and a further 6 floating tented honeymoon suites, water park, dine in the sky and tons of activities for the guests.
The part of the country we visited was really beautiful (our first visit to France) with small very old villages - there seemed to be a sense of old history wherever we went.
The province of Limosin is famous for its porcelain work and beef cattle farming.
Keep checking back for more news at this project moves forward.
We are also planning a trip back to Africa to visit family and also to the factory for meetings but more news on this later.
Take care

These pics taken on the site in France

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

In between

Greetings again,
It has been quite busy since our return from Baja but we have no complaints about this, taking into consideration the current economic crisis.
We got the job done well in Baja and can tell you that it is truly stark but very beautiful with places that have higher mountains than I ever imagined.
This weekend we will be heading to France to visit with a client doing a very exciting African themed lodge & resort.
In November we will all be going to Africa as we have much work to do at the factory but we will keep you all updated with news.
We have also developed a few new variations to the Kingfisher, Kambaku and Fish Eagle Tents, all with covered verandas and also a new tent called the Shilowa Tent.
Keep checking the website for more info that we will be posting soon.
Take care

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Baja Mexico

Greetings all
Things have gone well here with the tent setup and we will update you all next week, all we can say for now is that it is starkly beautiful, hot as can be, humid and with tons of mosquitoes.
Catch you all on the other side of the week.
Paul and Angelika

Monday, September 29, 2008

Baja Mexico

..Just a brief note to let you all know that we are heading out at noon today for central Baja, Mexico where we will be assisting in the setup of a 3-tent pavilion for one of our clients.
Check back for updates on our progress there before we return back to office this Friday.
Take care
Paul & Angelika
Pic included is of another pavilion we did in last year in the Maldives

Sunday, September 21, 2008

...a little more news

Greetings all,
As you might have guessed, we are back from Turkey where we had a good but challenging time setting the pavilion of tents up there and spent all of this past week catching up.
We never got to see much of Turkey but met some wonderful people doing the job and the site was simply stunning and peaceful.
We had to make some improvised changes as they told us that the area gets up to 1.5m of snow.
We are in office this week with a client flying in to see us but head out the following week to set up another pavilion of tents in Central Baja.
In one of the pics above, is one of the Kambaku tent (that was recently taken by one of our new clients) of the setup at Costa Carmel, Costa Rica - these are the first pics that we have seen of these tents.
Lastly, for those of you interested, Angelika is going to be focusing more on the marketing of our classic line of safari furniture ( and can also be reached at
Take care
Paul & the rest of us

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008

In Turkey

So here Angelika and I are here in Turkey between Istanbul and Ankara near a town named Bolu setting up a tent pavilion in an incredibly beautiful area.
The tents look over this truly beautiful valley that is covered with pine and other such like trees.
Our customer is taking real good care of us and we are staying alone in this most beautifu,l elegant but rustic home of theirs.
The workers and staff are amazing and wonderful to work with and also over zealous to get the tent up and done with.
We will be leaving here on Friday and once we get back I will be sure to post some pics from the trip to share with you.
I will try to update the blog more frequently now that we are over the jet lag thing :)
Take care
Paul & Angelika

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Greetings all,

The last quarter of the year is now coming to a close rapidly and for the first time since returning from the Expedition, I feel somewhat caught up.
This unfortunately will be short lived as Angelika and I will be leaving next week from Sept. 3rd to Sept. 12th to Turkey where we have a 3-Tent Pavilion to setup.

The Tent Villa’s we supplied for Sir Richard Branson’s Morocco Retreat, which is part of Virgin’s Limited Edition Portfolio, are mostly setup but still have to have the interiors and landscaping completed.

We got very sad news of one of our oldest clients in Mexico, who this month had his young 14 year old son kidnapped and then murdered.
I hope you all can share in thought, your best wishes for a family having to go through such a dreadful and senseless grief.

Of interest and great excitement to us, we have come up with a new variation to the Kingfisher, Kambaku and Fish Eagle Tents.
Essentially what we have done is to reduce the size of the tent body which then allows an additional area for a covered verandah.
As you can see from the rendered drawings above , the tents are put together in the following fashion:

Kingfisher tent frame with Bateleur tent body - 30 m² / 323 Ft²
Kambaku tent frame with Kingfisher tent body - 40 M² / 430 Ft²
Fish Eagle tent frame with Kambaku tent body - 48 m² / 518 Ft²

For quotes on these new tents, please contact Jake Dinkel at:

Please keep in mind that the factory will be closing for a month around the 12th of December for the year-end holidays.
So any orders received after September, may only ship out after the factory reopens in January 2009.

Unfortunately once again we must notify you all that we have been forewarned that the Steel Prices will be going up again at the beginning of September. If anyone needs to have quotes revised, please let us know.

We just heard back from one of our clients in Florida whose tents recently got inundated by Hurricane Fay. He told us that they had 18” (457mm) of rain in a 24 hour period with high gusting winds with 50 year flood levels at the site.
He commented: “The tent itself is absolutely fine. The wind and rain had no effect, other than to deposit debris. It also looks like a few critters took refuge on the deck during the storm. Amazingly, there were no leaks in the tents at all”

One last thing, we will be adding a few new items to our Safari Range of furniture – keep checking the Barefoot Interiors website as we will be adding the new items shortly.
Pic: The new Kalahari Table

Just as a sidebar, Jake, Zane and Anders will be playing in concert on September 1st with the ‘Misfits’. We will not be in office on this day.

Take care
Paul and the motley Exclusive Tents Crew

PS Elsie should have her new HD radiator installed today and once again she will be on the road but only after a required inspection by the motor vehicle dept.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More about the blog

Greetings all,
Thanks to you all who spent the time following our adventures and misadventures together with us.
So we are back and trying to play catch-up on office and expedition follow up work.
We worked out that we covered a total of 16,621 Km (10,327 miles) with 'Elsie' during the expedition.
In mentioning Elsie, we will soon start making permanent repairs to her where we had to make temporary repairs along the way, she also need a new radiator and a few other other parts that we will start replacing.
We still have to find the source of the vibration that followed us the last two weeks of the expedition - so we have quite a lot of work still to do on Elsie before we will be happy and start riding her around again.
Just to update you on the last day of our journey back into the USA, we did a solid 16 hours on the road with Elsie tending to overheat at times so we nursed her along.
We passed through the entirety of Mexico and all the Federal and Military road blocks without once having to show our passports (we do not even have a Mexico stamp) ore even Elsie's papers.
On arrival at the US Border at Nogales, we sat in this long line of vehicles clearing Customs into the USA and Elsie had overheated to a point that the radiator developed a leak and as a result the diesel was percolating air into the fuel line, forcing Angelika and I to jump out, lift the hood, add water to the radiator and bleed the fuel line and back in to move a few inches forward before the engine died again - and so it wnt on for almost an hour before we cleared Customs into Arizona.
Our passports were checked but again not Elsie's papers, they were more upset about us carrying 2 Jerry Cans of Diesel int the USA than a foreign registered vehicle.
So we limped to a gas station and poured 2 cans of 'Stop Leak' into the radiator and waited for the leak to seal before we trundled the last hour back to Tucson with regular stops to check water levels and temperature (remember that none of Elsie's gauges were functional).
So now that we are back I have decided to keep the blog updated from time to time about news and what is going on with us here at Exclusive Tents......
This weekend I am expecting one of our Mexico clients to be flying into Tucson to meet and discuss the selections and layouts of a unique 5-Star Boutique Tented Lodge with us.
Dates are not firmed up yet but it looks like I will be going to Istanbul, Turkey next week to set up a 3-tent pavilion - I will confirm the dates but I should be out of office for about 10 days.
I am also waiting on a client in Italy to decide if they are going to set their tent up themselves or have one of us go over and do the job.
The Tent Project we did for Richard Branson in Morocco, is progressing very well and looking absolutely stunning at this time and they have not yet even started on the landscaping or interiors.
I gotta run off to a meeting so I will end off here but please do keep on checking back for new postings.
Take care

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tent Specials and Other News from Exclusive Tents

Serengeti Tent
Kingfisher Tent

Greetings All,

After a long 3-½ months on the road, the Central America Expedition is over. We drove for over 16 hours yesterday and finally returned safely home last night. Even though the Expedition was an exciting adventure, nothing compares to returning home to family after being separated for so long.

If you didn’t have a chance to keep up with us on our journey, it’s still posted on our blog at There you’ll find stories from the road as well as tons of pictures that we took along the way.

End of Year Manufacturing

The time is rapidly approaching to get orders in for the end of the year! Our factory is closed for most of the month of December, so to ensure that your tent will ship this year, orders MUST BE PLACED BY THE END OF SEPTEMBER. Any orders placed after September may not ship until 2009.

Serengeti Tents in Stock

We currently have 9 Serengeti tents that are ready to ship immediately. The manufacturing time is usually 8-10 weeks on these tents, so these won’t be available for long! There are two different combinations of the tents that are available and they’re listed below.

We have 6 of these tents available:

6 Leg Mild Steel Frame
4.6 m x 3.5 m Canvas Body (Olive Exterior, Sand Interior)
Olive PVC Rain Fly
Olive Shade Fly
Body Poles
Tensioning Chains
Square Tubing

We also have 3 of these tents available:

6 Leg Mild Steel Frame
5.2 m x 3.5 m Canvas Body (Olive Exterior, Sand Interior)
2.1 m x 3.5 m Canvas Bathroom Extension with Shadenet Roof (7.3 m x 3.5 m total Canvas Body)
Olive PVC Rain Fly
Olive Shade Fly
Body Poles
Tensioning Chains
Square Tubing

We’re currently selling these tents at a discounted rate, and remember that they won’t be in stock long! It’s first come, first served so please contact Jake at for pricing information.

Kingfisher Special

The Kingfisher tent (40m2 or 430 ft2) is currently being sold at a special price as well. This tent functions perfectly in a variety of applications ranging from luxury accommodation to reception areas and art or yoga studios.

We’ll be running this special through the end of September. Contact Jake at for pricing information.

In Closing

It was a great pleasure meeting those of you whose paths we crossed along the Expedition. Your hospitality was superior and meeting with you made the expedition an exceedingly enjoyable experience.

We will be doing another newsletter shortly with more of a focus on the Expedition. We will also continue to update the blog ( with continuing developments from projects in Central America.

For those of you we couldn’t see or those not in Central America, we hope that soon, you too will become part of the Exclusive Tents family. As always, if you have any questions regarding any of our products, please do not hesitate to contact us at or at our phone number listed below.

- Paul and Angelika

Exclusive Tents
35 West James L. Sullivan Street
Vail, AZ - 85641
USATel: +520-762-9293
Fax: +520-844-1271

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mexico ends

Greetings again...I think this is close the 50th blog posting we have done to date.
So we have been trucking up the pacific coast as best we can with the worn pinion gear in the rear differential and also had to work on Elsie's brakes.
Today we passed through some truly amazing wetlands close the Mazatlan and soon thereafter the region changed rapidly to a more arid drier type environment and a lot more crop agriculture.
Many Agave (type of sisal plant) are grown in the region for the production of tequila which is readily available wherever one goes.
We hope to be back in office by Wednesday.
Take care
Paul and Angelika

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Elsie again.......

Greetings all

This posting is for ‘Elsie’ as she is sure testing our endurance and patience these days.

We still have air somehow getting into the fuel system that we have to bleed air out every morning before heading out and for the heck of me I cannot fathom where the air is bleeding from.

Just before getting to Acapulco, this strange sound came from under the hood and on closer inspection found that the arm tensioning the alternator had cracked and as a result loosened the fan belt so we ducked into the local welder (soldadora) and patched that up.

On arrival in Acapulco we that found that the one radiator support had broken loose and suspect it was from the frigging speed bumps (Topes, reductores, vibradores or velociraptors as we call them).

We also fixed an oil leak at the oil pump which had one washer instead of two as normal.

I tied the radiator down with inner tube as a temp fix unto we found a welder today who kindly patched it up for us and then we went looking for a mechanic to look into a vibration that has been haunting us these last few days when we start approaching 70 km/h.

Before getting that far we had to find and get a look at the famous cliffs in Acapulco which in their own right are quite insane as they are very high and the drop off is into a rough ocean ‘canyon’, not to mention that the cliff slopes back a lot making hitting water a real challenge indeed.

It was also interesting to learn that the public are no longer allowed to dive, it is all done by one family who perform daily from about 1pm until 10 pm (under flood lights)

We finally made it today (August 7th) to Ixtapa and Elsie attended to discover that the the pinion gear in the rear diff needs replacement – bad news is that there are no such parts here so we had them do an oil change and have decided to risk the journey back as we are and hope the gear will hold up.

As of today we are close to 12,000 km that we have covered on the expedition and with a few thousand yet still to do.

We are staying tonight in a converted 2-car garage with AC, microwave and fridge (yes also another cold shower) but it is clean and comfortable and will afford us a good nights rest after a long intense and hot day.

With a candle burning beside me and Angelika asleep already, I bid you all a good night/day from Ixtapa.

Take care and stay well

Paul and Angelika.

PS we are in San Blas tonight August 9th

Monday, August 4, 2008

More Mexico

Greetings once again,

We are here in Chiapas tonight and all I can say is that the roads are so bad but it is truly beautiful here.

Once again, sorry for the lapse in updates but we have been dealing with Elsie as well as moving quite some bit this last while.

In Villahermosa we stayed with Roberto A Pérez Díaz at his Best Western Maya Hotel as his guest – this guy is another rare but true gentleman.

Elsie was losing oil out of the 4x4 transmission box but in short order, Roberto had arranged for a mechanic to come check her out, yea the dude came out to see Elsie and not vise versa as usual.

We left him to his devices with Elsie and we headed out to look at the Pantanos De Centla National Park which is an amazing wetland that encompasses the confluence of three major rivers just prior to exiting its massive body of water into the ocean.

Pantanos is truly an amazing place but very difficult to gain access to without the right water craft – the area also has some rare and unusual birds and fish species and I am sure some yet to be discovered.

Tobasco state is really beautiful and the next day Roberto took us south to Kolem Jaa to look at an adventure tour operation run by his uncle – the location is truly beautiful with jungle, river and lots of water falls and twenty rooms.

Back in Villahermosa we met with the Secretary of Tourism who also had an interest in the tents.

For a government official she was truly an amazing lady with her openness and enthusiasm about her job.

In Roberto we both know we had met another fiend for life and know we will be seeing again sometime soon.

True to his word when it came time to leave yesterday, Elsie was all patched up again and ready to roll on towards Palenque where we were to meet Carlos and Lyndia who we visited in Merida when we were there.

Palenque is a little known Mayan City Ruin but it so breathtaking and amazing in terms of the detailed architecture that was not evident in Tikal – as with Tikal, it is a very expansive ruins with only about 5% excavated.

The only drawback when we visited the site was that there were so many local tourists crawling over and through every orifice of the ruins – it is holidays here and thus lots of folks are on vacation.

A thing of interest in Palenque was that we saw about 6 new cars adorned with ribbons driving through the town honking their horns, they were on some path and passed us by three times – later Carlos and Lyndia explained that the ‘drive through’ was to announce the arrival on the new cars in town and obviously available for immediate purchase.

We also visited their site where they intend building a tented lodge close to the ruins – this boutique lodge when completed, will be so truly unique to the region.

After visiting an very beautiful waterfall and having a few ales, we headed to a small farm (finca) that they knew of with two cabins overlooking, yes more water and rapids.

There was the constant sound of water on the rapids and the howler monkeys creating the greatest cacophony we have heard to date and this was how went to sleep later the night though the monkeys crashed before we did.

Tomorrow we head south and hope to reach the Pacific by the end of the day.

One last thing of note about Mexico, wherever you go there are police and army bristling with automatic weapons and many stopping one on the road checking for whatever they are looking for.

Also, I will be so happy if I never see another speed bump in my life again J

Truth be told, as much as we have been worried about these security stops, we have only been treated well by them and hope this is the case for the rest of our journey through Mexico.

Take care

Paul & Angelika

PS: We have just arrived in Juchitan, a town very close to the Pacific Ocean, after a fantastic ride from 8000’ down through the mountains of Chiapas – The Chiapas is truly a beautiful state in Mexico.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Greetings again to you all,
Today we are in the City of Merida which is busy, large and boasts one of the oldest cathedrals in Latin America.
It has been a hectic few days and with more 'Elsie' adventures - as we were approaching Playa del Carmen (south of Cancun) we started to loose clutch fluid from the small slave cylinder near the clutch plate housing and by the time we got to the city I was driving with no clutch at all.
Luckily I found a mechanic close by who confirmed that the seals were bad and needed replacing and this was a Saturday afternoon when most places are closed.
First the runner kid went off in search of the seals but soon came back with news that none can be found so we tried pulling some old cylinders apart in the hope that any of the old seals woud work but these were all too small.
As a last resort we sent the runner kid off again with the whole cylinder to look for an old or new replacement unit - I was so happy to see him run in back with a new cylinder gripped firmly in his fist and a big smile on his face.
In short order we had a new but very stiff clutch working and we were on the road again to Cancun - we missed Cozumel because of the time spent on Elsie.
Cancun is just like Miami, overdone and over exploited and we found to be just more of the same and very expensive.
Elsie also never seemed to fit in over there but with a little bit of conferring with one of the hotel bellmen, we found ourselves in a quaint small hotel in downtown Cancun.
After dark we went out to eat and walked around only to discover it was way more fun away from the big resort hotels.
A client wanted to see us on Holbox Island which was some distance out of our way but we decided to take the time to visit them and made arrangements that we would arrive the Monday morning on the Island on the ferry.
We spent Sunday night in the only little hotel at Chiquilla that we could be on the ferry early in the morning as it is only a 30 minute ferry ride.
The crossing was smooth and on arrival we got on a golf cart taxi and bumped through puddles and trash to this small resort of the client.
No one was there to meet us so we had some breakfast and waited more than an hour for the client to show up at her own resort.
After the no-show continued we decided we had wasted enough time and got back on a taxi and headed back to Elsie and the road to Merida.
The Yucatan is really flat with low forest and very few physical features or even rivers as I guess most of them are underground and the roads in places are very narrow for the breakneck speeds some of these people travel at.
The last bit of the toll road into Merida was really good though very much patched up.
In Merida we stayed at our clients boutique hotel located right downtown in a very old building.
See what a truly amazing renovation job they did and believe me their attention to small detail is really amazing -
We will be meeting these same people further down the road this weekend when we reach Chiapas.
Today we will be heading towards Villahermosa but will most likely only get there tomorrow.
Enough for now...
Take care
Paul and Angelika.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Ola Mexico

Greetings all from Tulum,
This is the start of the Maya Riviera and we are still south of Cancun which we will pass in the morning as we head north.
Needless to say it is hot, steamy, swampy and sticky here :)
It is so different here yet also beautiful and we did two site evaluations and on one we saw these amazing underground rivers called Cenote's that are mostly interconnected with each other.
I am writing this in the dark so I will sign off now ant try to do an update tomorrow.
Wishing you all a fantastic weekend.
Take care
Paul & Angelika

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hello Mexico

Greetings and salutations
We are in Chetumal, Mexico tonight.
Elsie rode well though she has a bit of a 'hard start' going on and she never overheated at all.
Tomorrow we head to Talum for a few meetings.
Crossing into Mexico was rather strange because as we entered Mexico, the place was buzzing with cops and the minute they saw Elsie we were hauled over for 'inspection' - the cope dude poked his head into both doors looking for contraband and such like but then quickly waved us on.
I almost asked where we get our passports stamped but thought to myself not to invite more than we we will have to already go through as we have heard the worst about Mexico's officials.
So off we trundled slowly past more officials and then nothing.....I said to Angelika, "I think we might already be in Mexico".
It was the most painless crossing of all and NO ONE even looked at our passports at all, so legally or illegally, we are now in Mexico and loving it.
Keep tuned in for more updates and adventures.
Take care and stay well
Paul and Angelika

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wednesday - Elsie

Hi all
We are hoping Fedex will deliver the parts by noon today - if this is the case and all goes well, we hope to be on the road again tomorrow morning, so please check back here for updates on our status.
Take care
Paul & Angelika

Monday, July 21, 2008

Elsie update

Greetings all,
Yesterday we were on the island of Ambergris Cay and share these few pics with you.
Elsie still has her 'guts' out as we wait on a head gasket set, seals and a fan to arrive from the States and we hope to be back on the road to Mexico by Wednesday or Thursday.
Keep checking back here
Take care
Paul and Angelika

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Elsie update

Greetings all,

So we have our own adventures and those with ‘Elsie’, yesterday sure was one of the latter type events.

We had an early meeting with a client and then headed out north intending to cross over into the Yucatan of Mexico.

Elsie was running sweetly and was the quietest ever with the new manifold/exhaust gasket so we were happy even though everyone was talking of a possible tropical storm forming offshore.

All went well until we passed Corazol and we had already gathered all our “Elsie Docs” in preparation for the arduous usual border crossing with her, when we stopped to pee alongside the road and Elsie started to cook and steam.

I got her cooled down but was worried about our cylinder head gasket because there was too much pressure in the radiator for comfort.

We limped back to the town and opted to have the Toyota agent in Belize City (who knew us by now) sent out a trailer to fetch us so that we could have Elsie taken care of today.

The truck arrived late and we drove Elsie onto the trailer whilst the weather was still going nuts – not happy with the tie downs they had, I winched Elsie securely to the front of the trailer and we both piled into her as the truck headed back south to Belize City.

Now that was a funky experience, sitting in Elsie on the back of the trailer while trundling in another fashion cross country. – Quite trippy indeed.

We settled down in Elsie and had a few ales to celebrate Anders’s 20th birthday and chatted a few times with him.

After it got dark and approaching the city, thank goodness we had to slow down for a speed bump because the trailer wheels literally and figuratively came off and disappeared into the night as we ground to a rapid halt.

Without much ado, I hauled Elsie off the trailer, filler her with water again, we left the fellows waiting for their manager to come assist them, as we did the last few miles back into town on our own ‘steam’.

As parts are so scarce for Elsie, we have to wait until Tuesday or Wednesday for the parts to come in fro Guatemala City, so all things being equal, we hope to be on the road to Quintana Roo, Mexico by Wednesday latest if we can find the parts.

A last note of interest, as we were sitting in Corazol waiting on our ‘ride’, Angelika noticed this Creole dude pick some flowers and started to approach her.

Not knowing what to expect she thanked him but in short order he informed us that they were for all the raw ‘mozzie’ scars on our legs (yea we are pretty bitten up).

It was not the flowers; it was the leaves that he ground up in his hands until they made up a watery poultice.

There was no hesitation, itching as we were these last few days; Angelika wiped the green goo all over her one leg – it was almost like magic to see all the red inflammation recede within 10 minutes and the itch back off.

We were both sold on this newfound potion so we gathered up the leaves and saved them in a sealed bag for use down the road.

So we learned yet another thing and who knows, Angelika might yet start dispensing leaves in the future J

We hope you all have a great weekend

Paul & Angelika

Friday, July 18, 2008

Back to Belize

We're having some problems with Elsie's cylinder head gaskit and thus are having to turn back to Belize for repairs.

We should be heading back to Mexico by Sunday or Monday depending on how the repairs go. Anybody who needs to contact us can reach us via e-mail or via telephone at +1-520-465-7078

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Finally Mexico on the horizon

Greetings once again,

Belize is a truly amazing country going back to Columbus and the Buccaneer days.

Though small in size and known as British Honduras in the old days, it is only populated today but less than a quarter of a million people.

There are quite a lot of Maya people as well as enclaves of the Mennonites amongst them. Belize City is also very small for the capital city and really has no beaches – all the pretty pics one sees is of the off shore islands and the long barrier reef, the 2nd largest in the world we are told.

Getting back to the last few days of adventuring, we had a great time meeting up with Josh Berman, a journalist for the ‘Moon’ travel books and writing on Belize and Honduras.

He had heard of us being in the area and we had heard of him as well – so the moment came when we met up at Ken Karas’s Belize Lodge and Excursions, Indian Creek Lodge.

Ken has our tents on his Moho Cay island that we wanted to see and Josh was making his first visit to Ken’s three lodges.

On Tuesday we headed out on a small boat down the swift flowing river with Josh and the Maya guides, ducking and diving to avoid the low lying branches and thorns that had an aggravating habit of latching onto one’s self and shaking all and sundry of the insect world out of the branches and into the boat.

Despite this it was such an amazing experience to cruise the jungles and river into such remote country that we were taken aback when we rounded a corner and there was Ken’s Jungle Camp, in all it’s majesty, this is truly a camp built on steroids and very luxurious.

More stunning was the WW2 landing vessel moored at the dock that Ken uses as a work horse on the river and at sea to work on the erosion at Moho Cay.

After a 4 course meal we all turned in to sleep and were up early for a breakfast and then climbed onto a power boat and breezed the rest of the river out into the ocean to Moho Cay.

Moho Cay is small but really beautiful and it was so cool to see the tents in such a beautiful tranquil location.

We spent a short while there before departing to Punta Gorda where we got a ride back to where Elsie was waiting for us at Indian Creek.

Two things of note is that Angelika has now bypassed me on the quantity of ‘Mozzie’ bites, mainly on her legs and the itching has been driving her to distraction but she plugs resolutely on regardless of the discomfort.

On the other hand Elsie’s exhaust/manifold gasket started to break away and exhaust fumes and black soot started coming into the cab and also heated up the already hot interior.

The further we got the more throaty she was getting that we tried to patch the gaping hole with exhaust putty that Tom had given us.

When we left this morning for Belize City, it took only a few miles for the putty to break loose and by the time we arrived here, Elsie had lost the entire gasket and she sounded like a tractor doing Mach 1 and running on a mixture of steroids and Nitro.

Thanks to the guys at the local Toyota dealership who did a sterling job getting Elsie all fixed up whilst we visited a very unique proposed tent site in the Peccary Hills, run by Discover Belize.

So tonight we find ourselves preparing for Mexico as we plan on leaving in the morning to the north of Belize to enter Mexico just south of Chetumal.

Paul & Angelika

A quick note

Greetings all
Just a short note to say we are back from the jungles and a little worse for wear with 'mossie' bites but will be in Belize City today and most likely into Yucatan tomorrow.
I hope to update the blog tonight with pics of our most recent adventures but for now please check out the blog of a fellow adventure traveler we met whilst in a Livingston/Stanley moment -
Check back soon for more
Take care
Paul and Angelika

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More Belize

Greetings all

Well this last Friday was a runaround day trying to find appointments here close to the western border region and orient ourselves.

Before going on, there are quite a few voids in cell phone reception here and we are not always able to make or receive calls – also our comms provider has no agreement with the local operators for data service so please not that we are and will be unable to receive e-mail on the mobile phone for the duration of our stay here and will thus be only checking e-mail in the morning/evening when possible.

Be that as it may, yesterday we met with Tom Wilson of Baka-Bush Adventures, who with amazing graciousness gave us so much of his time and treated us to a more than full day of his time, knowledge, dry but keen wit than anyone has done since we set out on the expedition.

This included the privilege of seeing and experiencing the back country of this region as we are sure, few get to see or to share with him – this included more than two hours in one of the thousands of wet cave systems, riding bush tracks through the forests and ‘savanna’ patches that left me with so many déjà vu moments through the day.

These caves are so amazing to behold and would be insane to try and describe in their beauty and graceful elegance, not to mention the rich Mayan history coupled to them.

As we could not carry the camera, we include only a few pics taken before we commenced.

This awesome and breath taking experience also included riding zip-lines over and through the forest canopy, repelling down cliff’s to a few zip-line stations and ending up with a final zip descent through and into a huge cave opening.

Sometimes one moves through life and on those rare occasions one bumps into one’s kindred spirits, Angelika and I sure found this to be so true when it came to Tom, a true gentleman and a real man with a genuine love and connection with the bush and his environment in which he lives.

Sunday: We met up again with Tom in the morning close to Belize City where he keeps his Air Boats docked alongside the main road and next to a canal of water that connects to a vast marshland that few get to behold because of the inaccessibility thereto except with the use of these shallow draught boats powered by 400HP engines driven by aircraft propellers.

Noisy as they are, they allow one a rare insight and passage into an environment very difficult to access and strangely enough, the birds and other creatures do not seem to care about the cacophony and intrusion.

Riding an airboat was as close as one can come to an aquatic helicopter ride and so totally a trip to behold.

Leaving Tom was like saying goodbye to an old buddy, knowing we will meet up again soon down the road and being able to pick up within in seconds, whenever we meet up again……which we will.

We piled back into the ‘Elsie’ and headed south to meet up with such an amazing couple, the Ushers, who also in their own right, live on such an amazing piece of land with such a diversity of ecosystems that range from ‘savanna’ to forest, riverine, salt/fresh water lagoons and ocean frontage.

Just like Tom, it is so refreshing to see people who have a passion for the land they live upon, and yea, like Tom, we hope to soon see our tents becoming an integral part of that natural environment.

Belize, is very unusual, very beautiful, full of history and a place looking for something to happen when it already started to do so.

We packed in a quick river ride in the morning to evaluate the potential sites there and then packed up once again and headed further south to meet an old customer of ours at Ken at Belize Lodge.

So much going on here but we will try to update again tomorrow but we have no cell comm’s here but we do try to get e-mail at least once a day.

We hope to be in Belize City for our appointments by Thursday.

Take care

Paul and Angelika

Friday, July 11, 2008

The last of Guatemala and start of Belize

Greetings all
Gosh so much has happened since we really posted a detailed blog but that is the nature of the beast in being constantly on the move and as you have seen if you follow this blog, we have covered a lot of distance this last while.
Guatemala was truly beautiful and good to us even though we had only a few appointments there, we met some really good people and saw some truly beautiful country.
Most impressive are the Mayan ruins of Tikal in the northern province of Peten that cover a stunning area of 5000 square kilometers, most of the ruins are not excavated except for the palaces and Grand Plaza between them.
The gem of Guatemala is truly in the Peten Province and the "jungle's" in the region are particularly stunning even though they do not reach the heights of those in Costa Rica.
Dear "Elsie's" developed a short in our second battery (remember the waterless battery story in the beginning of the expedition) that had us having to jump start her - this led to the discovery as well of one terminal in the alternator that had broken loose and the indicator relay had given in once again of which we still need to get fixed here in Belize.
The crossing from Guatemala into Belize was absolutely fantastic on both frontier points with friendly personnel and an inexpensive and smooth transit through - this was so refreshing for us that we could not help but thank everyone for the experience and also 'Elsie' breezed through without much ado.
For these next few days we will be staying in a small place between Belize City and the Border to meet appointments on either side.
Above are a few pics ranging from Antigua to the Tikal ruins.
Take care
Paul & Angelika