Dressing down [dres-ing-doun]
noun – 1. A situation characterized by unnecessarily informal or lackluster clothing.
2. An informal chat where one takes advantage of one’s well-read, well-fed, well-travelled friends, using them for one’s own selfish purposes.
My friend Amy spent several months travelling Central America. She kindly offered to be the first sacrificial lamb for a dressing down…
AP: We chose Central America as we heard rave reviews from fellow travellers of how great it was. Prior to our trip we had been living in Canada for a year, so it was a chance to experience something culturally completely different and it was incredibly affordable! There was also a diving course on an island off Honduras that we were keen to do. We actually started our trip in Mexico and spent three nights of indulgence at a resort in Playa del Carmen. We backpacked for another night or two in Mexico but pretty much headed straight down to Belize. If we had more time we would have liked to continue travelling down into South America – will just have to go back another day!
TT: What was the weirdest thing you ate?
AP: Well, I didn’t actually eat it but the weirdest thing I saw for sale was a plate of lizards at some markets in Granda!
TT: What was your drink of choice?
AP: Drink of choice was definitely Flor de Cana – unfortunately the Nicaraguan rum was a little too easy to consume, the side effects being unable to move after a night out in San Juan del Sur!
TT: Did you see anything that just blew your mind?
AP: Swimming with 7m whale sharks in the Caribbean while doing a diving course in Utlia (Island off Honduras). We struck gold when on the last day of our course we got to get so up close to these amazing animals. In true Central American style where no rules apply, we all lined up on the back of the boat with our snorkels on and when the captain spotted a whale he yelled “go go go!!” and one after the other we simply jumped in the water with the whale sharks seriously only metres below us. Apparently it was rare to have the opportunity to swim with them and we got to do it five times in a matter of an hour or so. It was one of the best experiences of my life.
AP: Camera, sunglasses, lip gloss.
TT: Do you roll or fold?
AP: Actually, I’ve been know to do a bit of both! I’m probably more of a folder though.
TT: In the spirit of the ‘walk of shame’ what was the dumbest thing you did while there?
AP: Probably trying to learn to surf in El Tunco (El Salvador), after a massive cyclone, which saw the polluted local river run into the ocean. Needless to say after not being able to even think about standing up because it was so choppy, I got a bad ear infection from the gross water!
AP: Deciding to take a friend’s advice to go and visit Semuc Champey in Guatemala. It tuned out to be an incredibly long and bumpy ride – started in a bus that broke down, and continued in an old mini-van packed with locals and pigs stacked on top! It was definitely worth it to see the famous limestone pools.
TT: A lot of people are concerned about travelling that part of the world because of crime rates and not speaking the local language – was that an issue for you?
AP: No, but I was travelling with my boyfriend and we did stick mostly to the tourist trail. We heard of a lot of horrible situations other travellers had got into including theft, corrupt police, being held up at knife point etc, but I have to say we always felt pretty safe and were lucky to have such an awesome experience. I wish we had learnt the language a little more before going as it would have been nice to converse more with locals but it really wasn’t an issue to get by. Everyone was so friendly, and it was great to learn words and phrases as we went.
TT: Would you recommend Central America? Why?
AP: Absolutely! It revealed such a different way of life. The culture, food and people were amazing. Most people were incredibly poor, yet generally so happy with life. Makes you realise how indulgent and hectic out lives are back home. It was refreshing to get a different perspective.