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Archive for April 10th, 2015

Separate Adventures

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For those of you who may not know the story of how we came to know the Morales family, I would like to provide some reference. Cyndie met Dunia in 2012 when they were both participants in an Epona apprenticeship program. I think they both sensed right away that they were meant for each other. I met Marco and Dunia when we husbands joined our wives in Arizona for the weekend of their final session and graduation celebration in May of 2013.IMG_3299e

We met their teenage sons, Marco and Jose, when the 4 of them came to spend 2 weeks with us at Wintervale in December 2013, during the most dramatic winter we had experienced in a long time. We thought it an interesting coincidence that both boys had previously spent time as exchange students with a family that lives about a half-hour west of us across the border in Minnesota.

Those two weeks solidified a natural bond, and our visit to Guatemala became a goal that basically hinged on our ability to find animal sitters for the period necessary to allow for the trip. The timing that ultimately fit for everyone worked out ideally as it coincided with their week off, prior to Easter. Dunia and Marco came up with a fantastic fun-filled itinerary that allowed Cyndie and me to relax and enjoy every minute of what they had planned.

We had arrived on a Wednesday night, and the next morning both boys needed to attend a final day of school before their break. With them occupied, the plan sent Cyndie and me in different directions. I would be going with Marco to a prestigious golf course with great views of volcanoes, to have breakfast, then on a long drive to their beach house to check on the construction of a spiraling wood staircase Marco designed. Cyndie would join Dunia for her riding lesson and spend some time with the horses, before moving on to a spa for a hot stone massage.DSCN2990e

The view from the clubhouse was magnificent, despite the hazy cloud cover obscuring any sight of the volcano. Marco offered a picture from his phone showing what it looked like on a clear day. With the intent of diving right in to local cuisine, I ordered the Guatemalan breakfast: 2 eggs, a soft cheese, refried beans and fried plantains, all considered safe for my unfamiliar stomach.

I am very happy to report that, due to the very kind diligence of our hosts throughout our entire visit, we were guided exclusively to ‘safe-for-foreign-stomach’ food choices and bottled water. We didn’t experience any digestive discomforts whatsoever.

After breakfast, we set off on a beautiful and interesting drive on winding mountain roads to the Pacific coast and their beach house. Marco stopped to pick up some fresh vegetables right before reaching their place, and used them to prepare a spectacular lunch of fresh sea bass. I was in heaven.

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In addition to that fabulous lunch, we swam in the pool, and rode their 4-wheeler out on the ocean beach. Marco offered tastes of a variety of fruits, some picked right off the tree. He also served slices of the ‘apple’ fruit that hangs below the cashew nut, which has a very distinct astringent flavor. He showed off their young cinnamon tree, cutting some bark for me to smell and taste. It was richly intense.

As fascinated as I was with the scenery along the roads, the drive back to their house had me nodding in and out, despite my desire to see everything possible. Our late arrival the night before left me far short of my normal amount of sleep.

Back at the house in Guatemala City, we found Cyndie and Dunia out on the deck after their “double massage” day. Dunia had ordered hot stone massages, but their massages ended without any stones having been used. When she inquired, they discovered their mistake and simply started all over again with another massage using stones.

DSCN3010eEven though I had already seen a sneak preview that Dunia had sent to Marco’s phone while we were at the beach house, Cyndie described having been able to sit and ride on Dunia’s horse (first time on a horse since her hip surgery!).

We each had exceptional experiences that day. To top it off, Marco and Dunia prepared a wonderful duck breast evening meal. It was a day that felt like several, and on its own would have made a more than satisfying vacation, but it was just the first day of ten!

They set the bar high, but every subsequent day would get better and better.
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Written by johnwhays

April 10, 2015 at 6:00 am