Day 1: Dog Sitting @ Lake Atitlan

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Time to wake up & wise up, in the dark!

My alarm went off at 3:30am and I had that nervous-night-before feeling of alarm-going-off worry followed by lighter sleep the closer 3am came

I was up and dressed before the 10mins snooze was over and by 3:40am downstairs wondering whether brushing my teeth was really a necessity at this time of the day. I laughed at myself, and felt the contagious excitement from los perros catching on!  They were full of energy that I had not experienced on my own yet and all I could wonder was what else have I got in store from my new furry friends today?

I got us all out the back door and armed with a bamboo walking stick and a mini LCD torch in either hand, I also had a chain-leash, near-end roll of toilet paper and a pepper spray in the pockets of the large Gore-Tex waterproof jacket.  Fortunately, I was told that the pepper spray had not ever been used in the eleven years of mountainous walking the owner had accumulated from living here already.  She said she had only tested it every 3 years to see if it still works.  Good to know!

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Yes, you didn’t do too bad Lady Jane but I can see this is going to be a longggggg month…!

I got into the slow stride expected of me and took a few deep breaths and off we went.  I had decided to stick with the ‘long route’ shown to me the day before I took over.  I enjoyed it more as it was slightly more simplified in terms of space and privacy without other houses and a ton of protective dogs guarding such houses as well as crossing rocky paths along the way. It is nonetheless, definitely tricky in its own sense.

Rati and Mini were close and actually I could see the older two not too far ahead of me.  When it came to the first river crossing they were all very quiet (usually antagonising the dogs at the only house along this route), and were waiting for my approval before shooting down the rocks and over the dry riverbed. 

It all went surprisingly well for my first day walking them alone (I had 2 practice mornings with their owner before) and I guess I was feeling nervous as I had no immediate idea how any of the 4 dogs would react to just being with me. Remembering the route turned out to be a little self-rewarding success and the dogs were equally smiley, happy and exhausted upon returning 90 mins later.

What I experienced from the first day is that when some senses are not able to function in their full capacity then the remaining senses become somewhat heightened.  Due to the mixture of walking in complete solitude (as a human) in about 80% total darkness for that time of the morning – what you come to realise is that there is none or never any – complete silence in nature.  It is so alive! 

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The feeding feast that is 5pm dinner for four

Just breathtaking really and quite literally, I found myself holding my breath a lot just to maintain the ‘total silence’ appreciation around me – which of course is not a good thing to do whilst walking, absorbing and nurturing the body, mind and soul but I will practise on this a lot over next month.

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The first day dinner feast – the beauty and versatility of the plantain 

While your eyesight remains limited in sussing out the path and what it needs to alongside it and to thinking it sees what it sees – it’s the opposite for your ears: your hearing becomes opened and accepting, yet above all this – it is still up to the power of the great mind – to decipher what exactly it is seeing, or wants to hear.

On that note, I hear my tea has boiled.

I am happy to conclude that this is going to be a very fun, challenging and insightful few weeks. I made a video regarding more of how I feel about what I am putting myself up for over the next month, click here if you want to see my excitement!

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