The Trip 2013 – El Ramate to Antigua

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Note: This is a condensed version of the pictures I took with some added narrative. The rest of the pics can be viewed in the album The Trip 2013 – El Ramate to Antigua. Each picture can be clicked to see a larger version and comment / like.

After our awesome trip to Tikal in Guatamala we returned to our hotel on the lake shore in El Ramate. It had been a long hot day so we relaxed by paddling in the warm waters of the lake.

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The following day we hopped in another bus and headed to our next destination, Rio Dulce. We stayed at the backpackers which sits on the river

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We were quite literally on the water as the rooms were on stilts over the water

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I spent the afternoon learning how to stand up paddle

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It was good fun tho I felt it needed spicing up a little

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That evening we had fun playing around in the river around the hotel

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The following day was spent taking a day trip up the river to some small villages buried in the jungle

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In the jungle were a number of caves that we explored. We spent some time jumping off a ledge in the dark into one.

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The last part of the boat trip took us to the famous town of Livingstone to see the native people there, I however was more interested in the forna of the region

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That night was our last big night together so we partied in style.

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The following day we made our way to our final destination, Antigua, Guatamala. There we had our final meal together in a rather nice resturant that served savory and sweet pancakes. They didnt think much of their own terrace however.

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I spent the last 32 days with these peeps travelling all the way from LA, there were ups there were downs but I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Jac, Dan, Rosie, Ralph, Kelsie, Simon, Emma, Suzanne, Colette and Madeline, cheers guys!

The following day I made my way to Lake Atican for a relaxing few days at a health retreat on Lake Atitlan high in the hills 2 hours outside of Antigua.

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This was exactly the perfect environment I needed to unwind after the previous month of being on the road.

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It even had a traditional Mayan sauna

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The place was a perfect stop off before we embarked on the next 17 day adventure that would take us through 4 different countries

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The Trip 2013 – Playa del Carmen to Tikal

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Note: This is a condensed version of the pictures I took with some added narrative. The rest of the pics can be viewed in the album The Trip 2013 – Playa del Carmen to Tikal. Each picture can be clicked to see a larger version and comment / like.

After the wet and long trip from Chichen Itza we were all thoroughly ready to party it up in style in the party town of Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

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We rocked up to our hostel which was a really cool place where all the rooms surround a central space filled with tables, benches and hammocks. We had a great time that first night drinking great quantities of Tequila, Mescal and Corona.

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We spent the rest of the night dancing without our sandles on in a club right on the beach, no photos of that particular debauchery unfortunately.

The following day we hit the beach. I remembered to remove all electronics from my pockets this time before going in the sea.

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The following day we made our way for the tiny island of Caye Caulker in Belize.

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We had a great time in Caye Caulker. It was a tiny play with a really cool laid back feel to it.

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We spent the first evening there sampling the local food and drink.

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The following day we took a day tour out on a boat to explore the reef. On the way out we had a small bird problem.

When in the water we saw all manner of things, from Manitee’s..

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.. to turtles…

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.. to fish on the reef

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The following day we had to say a font farewell to Belize and make our way into Guatemala. First up in this beautiful country was the stunning lost Mayan ruins of Tikal.

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We had a great time there climbing up the various temples.

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Temple 4 was the largest temple there and offered incredible views over the jungle, including this one. Points to anyone who can guess which movie this view was in:

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There we also saw loads of animals including some monkeys..

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.. and some of these cute things

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We also saw some not so cute creatures

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I really enjoyed myself at Tikal, a truly magical place…

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.. I cant believe that less than 1% of this place has been uncovered, I can just imagine the treasures just waiting to be uncovered below the jungle.

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Needless to say Tikal for me is definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me… so far!

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NHS Social Innovation in Salford Competition

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Before leaving to go on my trip I entered a competition being run by the NHS called “Social Innovation in Salford“. The intention of the competition is to find people with ideas for how to solve some issues currently facing the NHS in the Manchester region.

The competition is split into several parts with the brief for the first part being:

How to give older people greater control and enable them to have more meaningful and fulfilling lives and in so doing reduce demand on the health and social care system

Its a really nice idea and a clever way to try to bring in new ideas to solve challenging problems that the NHS currently faces.

To enter you had two write a short (300) word proposal. If your proposal was short listed and you participated in the subsequent meetings you would win £1000.

My proposal was predictably related to technology and games. I suggested that mobile devices with games loaded on could be given to the elderly so they could keep their minds active by playing games. I also suggested that if tablets were used then other apps could be installed such as Skype that allowed the elderly to keep in contact with relatives.

During the early part of my trip I received an email announcing that I was short listed and invited to attend the meetings in Salford. Unfortunately because I was in North Carolina at the time I couldnt attend physically, instead they asked me to attend via Skype and create a video which details my proposal in more detail:

As a follow up, I was asked to create another video that answered some questions:

The leaders of the competition now have the option to select mine or one of the other proposals to take further and potentially develop it into an actual scheme.