In the spring of 1997 my ex-wife and I visited Guatemala where we spent the 18 days meeting buyers and making business contacts. It was her first time there, so we took a couple side trips including a visit to Tikal (finally)! And it was ALL that it was cracked up to be. Fantastic ruins, screaming Howler Monkeys, brilliant Toucans — more on that in another missive.
Unfortunately, some nasty little amoebas DID find their way into our stomachs despite our concerted efforts to avoid drinking and eating any suspect food. During the second morning of our 3 days at Tikal, I was weak and bedridden in the hotel — not feeling like taking the 1/2 mile walk to the main part of the ruins. I met up with her in the early afternoon to try to get re-energized. No luck. The Touristica,
Mayan God of Bad Water had different plans for me. I felt I needed to stay within trotting distance of the hotel.
I had made it the few hundred steps to the museum and visitor center where my ex-wife and I were seated upon the front steps when we were approached by one of the local tour guides who makes a living hustling tourists.
“My name if Angel,” said the small, old Mayan-looking man with gold-capped front teeth. “I am Tour Guide, Shaman and Curandero.” I realized that I might be talking to the man who was the subject of an interesting book I read this year called Sastun, My Apprenticeship with a Maya Healer by Rosita Arvigo, an American Naturopathic doctor who moved to nearby Belize to learn about the curative properties of jungle herbs from a Mayan Curandero – or witch doctor. It turned out that Angel had known and met the celebrated Curandero, named Elijio, who had died several years before.
“I know about 150 jungle herbs,” boasted Angel, so I shared with him my private troubles which he quickly offered a 15 minute cure. Leading me to the edge of the jungle he plucked and handed me a batch of Guayaba leaves, a native fruit, and told me to boil them in a liter of water with 3 sour limes at the local Comeador, or eatery. Upon cooling, drink the juice and you will be cured Angel said. He lectured me on the power
and need of re-energizing oneself which is where he spent the bulk of his healing energies. Then we parted.
I followed his directions, drank the juice and didn’t have to visit the Porcelain God for over 24 hours. I even found enough energy to visit the ruins that afternoon. Although I suspect that a lingering crawly thing still resides in my stomach, I haven’t been plagued since by the unspeakable explosive condition that so many tourists fear when traveling in third world countries.
Copyrighted By Josh Gerak