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Day 54
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Sensory Overload

Feb 1

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2/1/2009 3:52 AM  RssIcon

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A blog is incapable of relaying this past week’s experience.  Any one moment could take a day to relate in person, but the combined experience is simply beyond expression.  For now, a broad outline of the temporal events is about as close as I think I can get.  My hope is that a little time to process the week will let me write each day up in due detail capturing both the visual and emotional aspects.   A small production company has taken an interest in my trip and is working with me to put a short documentary style trailer together to convey the purpose of this voyage.  One of the principle owners booked a flight at the last minute to travel with me from Cancun to Campeche to attend my first SOS Children’s Village visit.  I wonder now if she really had any idea what she was getting into. 


Jill landed in Cancun around 4:00 p.m. Monday afternoon.  I was waiting with a rental car ready to hit the jungle roads to Campeche.  Only one small problem, I didn’t have a map or much of a clue on how to get there.  To my complete astonishment, we hit the toll road and two toll stops and three military road blocks later we hit the outskirts of Campeche.  It was late, but we were both excited to be in a new city and still faced the challenge of finding a hotel in a city we didn’t know and didn’t have a map for.  At one of the city lights we rolled down the window and asked the car next to us in broken Spanish where the historical district was located.  Instead of stumbling through the language barrier they smashed it by waving for us to follow them and not five minutes later they were showing us the heart of the district.  Professing our gratitude we started reading individual street signs looking for our address.  After a few wrong turns and driving the wrong way on a one way road we solicited the help of another local.  Once again, we found ourselves following a couple on a scooter down the cobble stone streets lined with pastel colored buildings until we were led to the front door of our hotel.  It was one of the cheapest in Campeche, but they took dogs, a detail of particular interest to my pup Georgia, and it was beautiful.


Fueled on the beauty and kindness of what we’d already experienced we checked in and immediately went on a walk about.  A few blocks later we gasped as we stumbled into the town square beholding a beautifully lit cathedral and a small park that was completely deserted except for ourselves.  Somewhere over the plaza we heard music and instinctively started walking towards it.  To our utter delight we found a three pronged fountain synchronized to everything from classical greats to Christmas music.  Maybe it was the drive, but Jill and I were both mesmerized by the simple beauty of this fountain happily entertaining us alone at almost midnight.


The next day we woke early and found a little place near the square for a simple breakfast.  I think we were both curious as to what the day would hold, but I know my nerves were dramatically eased having Jill along with me for the first visit to an SOS Village.  Upon arrival we were shown the small office where the director was waiting and three young children played out front occasionally stopping to giggle and stare at the newcomers.  There was no interpreter and we were left to make what we could of each other through my broken Spanish, odd gaps being filled with nods and gestures from ourselves and the director.  The real breakthrough came, as I’d hoped, when I pulled Georgia from the shaded car to the exclamation, “Precioso” from the director.


We spent the next five to six hours playing with the kids and getting to know the staff and mothers of SOS Children’s Village Hampolol, Campeche, Mexico.  Georgia, ambassador of love and affection, stole the day quickly overcoming the initial shyness of the children.  The kids soon tore down my own reservations and the hours were filled with conversation and laughter.  I can’t remember an uncomfortable moment the whole day through.  We ate, played, took pictures of them and they of us, and when school let out a throng of smiling, laughing kids ran up to us throwing out hugs all around offering up their kindest of greetings.  The stoniest of hearts holds no chance of remaining rigid in the face of so much open love and kindness.  I think I would have left smiling and laughing still had it not been for the five year old girl who with arms clinging to my neck asked me to be her dad.  I am still haunted by the question, “when are you coming back”?


After breakfast the next day we made tracks for Uxmal, one of the largest, but less visited Mayan ruin sites.  We gave ourselves an hour to walk the ruins, Nikon cameras in hand, taking in the architecture of this once great city.  Four hours later we simply had to leave if we were to finish the 5 hour drive back to Cancun in time to catch the last ferry boat back to my boat at Isla Mujeres.  We made it, but I’ll never return to Merida.  That’s for another story.


Thursday and Friday were more of dream than a wakeful state.  We plied the streets of Isla stopping to shoot photos of any interesting detail that caught our eye and spent the evening with friends, food, and bebidas.  The time passed as though someone had cast a spell preventing any inconvenience from damping our soaring moods.


Jill left this afternoon and I have more work to do than I ever have.  There are pictures and videos to be uploaded and edited, stories to write, and a boat to bring back into an ocean going state.  I am about ready to move and will use the cold windy days that are here now to get the boat ready for the next window.  Wherever I go next, I know I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.


If you have a dream, decide today to make it a reality.  Get a pencil and paper and make a list of what has to happen to bring your dream to life.  Get detailed.  Make it a huge long list.  Then simply start knocking off each item on the list and you’ll get there.


Lee Winters
Phone: (281) 336-0855
Satellite Phone: 8816-316-59853

Web: www.SailingForSOS.com
Email: Lee.Winters@SailingForSOS.com


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