#020 - Tim Biskup
#020 - Tim Biskup
Destination: Caye Caulker, Belize
Date: 19 - 25 January, 2016
About the print:
Dimensions: ± 50 x 70 cm
Colours: 3 colour silkscreen print
Edition: 50 prints, signed and numbered by the artist
(frame not included)
A little word by Tim Biskup
“I expected to catch a lot of fih and drink a lot of Piña Coladas on the beach. Haha. Beyond that, I was trying not to think about it, trying o keep my mind open and take it all in. The one thing that surprised me was seeing the spirit of positivity in the Belizean people. Everyone seems so content and relaxed. I'm not sure I understand it but there is something to be learned from that. It makes me feel like I am to stressed out most of the time. Maybe I don't need to live like that?
Visually, I have this soup in my head of all the natural wonders of Belize. Fish, plants, mountains, caves, animals, bugs, signs, house. I honestly can’t think of one thing at a time. My overall feeling from the trip is a balance of joy from the people that I met and trepidation about the past. The Mayans were so crazy. They did a lot of amazing things and were so technologically advanced, but they were very violent and did a lot of scary shit. I just can’t stop thinking about all of those people that they murdered in the name of the gods. It’s got me thinking about religion a lot. People are dying every day because some psychopaths are convinced that they know the will of some invisible being. I know that’s a pretty dark view to come away with, but it’s sticking in my mind.
To be honest, the time that Nicki and I spent in the car driving around Belize meant a lot to me. Not because of the scenery, but because of what the trip inspired in us. The conversations that we had about ourselves and what everything that we saw and did meant to us. It made us closer.”
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
The Jaunt starts tonight.
Arrived in Belize. Our cab driver said we brought some Northern Rain with us.
Caye Caulker is soggy but we are here! Found our spot and settled in. The Jaunt has officially begun.
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Fishing today! Nicki caught us a red snapper.
Thursday, January 21, 2016
Snorkeling day today at Estel’s Dine By the Sea.
It started raining in Belize right after we landed. Luckily, it cleared up the next day and we went out on a fishing boat where I caught the only fish of the day! 🐟
Sweet little beach pups roam the streets. Really wanted to take this little guy home. 🐶
Today was the first day that the sun really came out to welcome us to #Belize and we actually got in the water! We went to Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley. This place is an assault of textures and colors. The sea is warm and clear. As I looked at these creatures I couldn’t help but think about how I would draw them or how I could use them in my work.
Friday, January 22, 2016
Today was our last day on Caye Caulker. We took a water taxi back to Belize City.
Old bottles at the car rental place. The lady who runs the place has a crazy collection of objects. Even some giant old copper kettles used to make rum.
We drove west to the Belize Zoo, which is more of an animal sanctuary for wounded, orphaned or otherwise challenged wild things. It’s better than any zoo we’ve been to. Not very commercial and very intimate. You can get uncomfortably close to all of the animals. It was a highlight of the trip so far. The tapirs are strange and adorable. We kept driving to a tiny village called Georgeville, turned left and drove 6 miles down a very rocky road to Chiquibul Ranch where we’ll be staying for the next few days. It’s remote and rustic. Pics tomorrow.
Saturday, January 23, 2016
Last night we ate some fantastic Mozambique style peri-peri at a place called Ko-Ox Han-Nah in San Ignacio. Maybe the best chicken I’ve ever had! We made it back to the ranch well after dark and shut down the generator for the night. The full moon lit up the whole forest around our thatch-roofed house. Sleeping in the jungle is like going back in time. It’s all chirping and rustling and cool breeze.
We woke up this morning and were picked up by our guide, Hugo for a canoe trip deep into the Mayan underworld. His parents told him never to go into the caves because there are evil spirits in there. Of course he became obsessed and knows all there is to know about the history of the miles of caverns spread out all over this region. This one reaches 5 miles into the limestone and in some places it is 300 feet tall. Other places we had to duck our heads to avoid the low hanging stalactites. He showed us an alter for human sacrifices that loomed about 15 feet above the water line on a jagged ledge. I’m never comfortable in places like this but I’m always mystified and captivated. The darkness, both literal and historical is unsettling. Knowing how deep we were into the cave and the shit that went down there…
After the cave we hit the farmer’s market and made our way to Big Rock Falls where we jumped off some cliffs into the chilly water. What a day!
Sunday, January 24, 2016
The plan for today was to go to the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) cave. It’s supposed to be amazing, but it’s a 10 hour trip and as I mentioned before I am not too happy about deep, dark, closed-in places. Besides, we went to that beautiful cave yesterday. I guess I’ve had my fill of that kind of thing. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I am afraid of lately. I grew up feeling like the world was unsafe. It probably started sitting in church and hearing all about the horrible shit that god was going to do to me if I thought about horrible shit too much. I few well placed earthquakes, a perfectly timed bolt of lightning and a fire that killed one of my good friends when I was about 6-7 years old are just a few of the things that led to my concerns about this place we live in. Fear is a complex thing for all of us, but for a kid with runaway creativity and a love of monster movies it became a theme of my life. It’s not as intense as it was when I was a kid but it’s there. I’m sure the cave is totally safe and I’d be fine but I’ve learned that life is all about facing fear strategically and this just didn’t seem that important to me. So, Nicki went on her own. The other folks on the tour seemed nice and I’m sure she’ll have a blast creeping around in the dark.
I dropped her off and kissed her goodbye for the day, had some breakfast in San Ignacio and just started wandering around. I crossed the big suspension bridge over the Macal River and walked through a sparse neighborhood that gradually thinned out and became a thin grassy road into the jungle. I love to wander aimlessly. It’s one of my favorite parts of traveling. Actually, one of my favorite parts of life. Wanting to see what is around the next turn is something like a spiritual quest for me. A perfect metaphor for life, right? Anyway, I kept walking and the jungle closed in around the road. I pushed the grass aside and stepped over vines until I couldn’t go forward any further. I guess I could have pushed through a little more, but I remembered what Hugo told me about all the snakes being very dangerous here and then I thought about the fact that I don’t know anything about this place, really. There is that fear again. Feels completely reasonable in moments like that. I turned around.
I found another road to walk down. One that was not quite as dense with jungle, but not well traveled at all. It was relaxing. Just what I needed. My mind wandered. Then I came to a spot in the road that was littered with small bones. Small deer-sized remains… lots of them and then I looked to my right to see a huge hole in the ground, probably 20 inches across, buzzing with flies. I could see a few feet into it. I’ve never seen a hole like that. A warm breeze that smelled like death wafted over me. Unmistakable. What the fuck?! I snapped a quick photo and headed back to town. That complex and wonderful fear creeping along with me. It stopped me from so many things today, but it’s with me and I don’t mind it. I passed a man chopping back plants from his house with a machete and thought about asking him if he knows anything about the hole and what might be in there. I decided not to. I like mysteries. I like to be a little confused by this world.
So, here I am at a bar full of ex-patriots drinking a cold Belikin and writing about fear. Not feeling it for now, but it’s nearby. Right over the bridge and down the road in a smelly hole surrounded by corpses.
Monday, January 25, 2016
So, we’re home now, but I wanted to post a few more thoughts and images from our last days in Belize. It was a short trip but it was packed full of adventure and hours of heavy conversation about the meaning of it all. Wandering through the jungle, into deep caves and rivers and in and out of the lives of people we met along the way has left us with a sense of awe. We saw so much beauty. So many smiles and waves, Heard tales of glory and devastating tragedy. By all accounts Belize is a poor country but we never saw a sad face and we were never asked for anything. We arrived home and felt such appreciation for all that we have. Mostly for our lives and our freedom. Not because we have more than the people of Belize, but because of the optimism that flows through the place. Thanks to all of you that followed our posts and bought the print. I appreciate your trust and support.
Before we left we stopped at a roadside shack for some Cow Foot Soup. A staple of Belize cuisine. It’s delicious but the texture of the cow ankle fat is… Challenging.
The motto of Caye Caulker… Maybe all of Belize.