Standing in front of the main waterfall at Seven Altars, Guatemala

Midnight shot, Hopkins, Belize

I can spend the rest of the year talking about Central America. I’ve got so many pics and videos to keep content fresh for the next six months. But that’s not all that this blog is about. However, let me just say a few more things. In all the beautiful surroundings that is Guatemala and Belize, there were three things that were nonetheless heartbreaking to see. First and foremost was the disparity of wealth. Now let me predicate this with the fact that I admit this was my first visit and I did not see all of the country. I have not done an national economic study on any of the countries to back up my opinion with discrete facts. That being said, I didn’t see, nor did I have the impression, that there was a large middle class. This means that I’m thinking the majority the people will fall on the outlying edges of the economic scale. The distribution of wealth seemed to me to be heavily skewed towards the right side of the bell curve. On one side of the river you find elaborate boat houses and on the opposite side, I’ll just say it can be pathetic. I even began to consider weather or not my presence as a tourist in some way exploited the poor of the region. Make no mistake, this is the system. I’ll be back. I’ll be more educated, more informed, and better prepared upon my return.

“Nakedness reveals itself. Nudity is placed on display. The nude is condemned to never being naked. Nudity is a form of dress.”
 – John Berger 

Kids playing just off the Rio Dulce

The second thing has to do with the poor condition of dogs in just about every city I visited. Sometimes conditions were so deplorable that you can see rotting flesh on some of these animals. Heather and I were almost attacked a couple of times by a pack of dogs, once in San Miguel and once in Finca Ixobel, though the Finca Ixobel dogs were owned by a tourist family. I was very pleased to see Ismael, who manages Casa Rosada in Livingston who has taken it upon himself to launch a tremendous effort to bring in Veterinarians from the U.S. to volunteer to come help heal, cure, spay, and neuter the animals, and educate the local population and owners of the importance of taking better care of their pets. Ismael is volunteering to host these Vets with free lodging and food for their services. This man is such a great guy!

And thirdly, I learned for the first time about the importance of saving our coral reefs. Admittedly, any time I have heard about it before, I didn’t really put much care into the notion. However, upon seeing the dead field of reefs while snorkeling a half mile off Tobacco Caye, it became suddenly a disparaging sight. It was awe-inspiring to witness the life amongst the corals as I swam around sting-rays and barracuda. The water was crystal clear, the marine life was so colorful and beautiful… and then everything turns gray and looks devoid of life. I’m a fan of coral reefs now. Please be conscious of your actions when swimming through or over them and help protect our reefs.

“The first time I added the art nude to my landscape photography it was as if I had added a soul, they took on a life and became much more than the sum of each. I was looking over the images after a photo shoot, I could hardly believe my own eyes and the beauty I had captured.”  – David Winge

Canoeing through mangroves, just off the Rio Dulce

I’m not sure when I’ll get back to Guatemala. I’d like to say I’ll be back in November. I’ve got one thing holding me up though. I feel like I need a model. It may be pathetic of me to say, but I think I’m having a more difficult time appreciating how gorgeous some of the areas I visit is when I don’t have a nude model to accompany me. During this last trip, I could not shake that notion from my mind. Yes, its beautiful to see. Yes, the waterfalls are gorgeous. I know the rivers, jungles, and cabins are precious to witness. But I need a nude model. Gotta have it. Can’t get around it. It must be done. The perfect situation? A new client hires me to accompany and follow her around to do just this and defers to my creative expertise and gives me complete artistic liberties to produce a collaborative work of art for the ages!

Yeah, so I thought it might also be cool to post a short video interview of Heather Rae upon our arrival in Hopkins, Belize. I had to reduce the quality to get it within Blogger’s size requirements, so I’ll need to work around that next time. Check it out. You just might learn something. BTW, the place we are staying here in Hopkins is the Lebeha Drumming Center & Cabanas. And more on her discussion of the History of the Garifuna people.