Rather than misinterpreting Maya beliefs to falsely predict the end of the world, researching and practicing ancient Maya medicine and natural healing techniques can open a new world of health today, noted author and Maya medicinal plant expert Dr. Rosita Arvigo advised participants at Chaa Creek’s 2012 Maya Winter Solstice celebrations.
Chaa Creek events coordinator Denise Duran said that Dr Arvigo’s presentation, “Tales of a Maya Shaman” was one of the highlights of the Belizean eco resort’s week-long Maya cultural exposition surrounding the 2012 Maya Winter Solstice celebrations of December 21, 2012.
“I think many of the people in the audience were surprised to learn how effective ancient Maya healing practices were, and how relevant they still are today. Dr. Arvigo’s presentation covered a wide range of topics and really inspired people to learn more about Maya healing and how to apply it to their own lives today,” Ms. Duran said.
In 1983 Dr. Arvigo began a 12-year apprenticeship with Don Elijio Panti, a renowned Belizean healer who had been using ancient Maya techniques that combine plants, prayers, massage, acupuncture, and herbal baths since 1931 to treat thousands of patients in the Central American region. He was recognised by the New York Botanical Garden for his "Distinguished Contribution to Science", and made a Member of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. He died in 1996 at the age of 103.
Dr. Arvigo chronicled her time with him in two of her books, “Sastun: My Apprenticeship With A Maya Healer” and “Rainforest Remedies: One Hundred Healing Herbs of Belize” and has gone on to refine his techniques for a modern audience, especially women, for whom Don Elijio’s treatments were regarded as particularly effective.
“Eventually”, Dr. Arvigo said, “I specialised in ailments of women using these time-honoured bodywork techniques that alleviate and prevent some of our very common complaints. The best part, though, is that it shows there really is an accessible alternative to surgery and drugs for abdominal and pelvis complaints.”
Workshop participants Laura Stegner Pessolano, from Portland, Oregon, and Lisa McElroy from Philadelphia, who attended the 2012 Maya Winter Solstice celebrations with her daughter Abby praised Dr. Arvigo’s talks for opening a new range of affordable and non-invasive health care options.
“This was a particularly valuable presentation in that it showed guests how some very simple, natural and inexpensive techniques can empower them to successfully manage their own health issues. Dr Arvigo emphasises that these ancient techniques aren’t meant to replace modern medicine or doctors, but can certainly be a valuable part of everyone’s health care,” Ms. Duran said.
Dr. Arvigo’s presentation was part of a week-long series of lectures, seminars and workshops held at Chaa Creek as part of Belize’s Maya 2012 Winter Solstice celebrations. Belize’s Maya account for over 12 percent of the population and are having an increasing active voice in national issues such as land management, ecology and social inclusion.
Other noteworthy speakers included archaeologist Dr. Jaime Awe, one of the world’s foremost Mayanists, author David Ruiz, Dr. Allan Moore and Maya flautist and musicologist Pablo Collado.
Chaa Creek proprietor and GM Lucy Fleming hailed the lecture series as a resounding success.
“Dr. Arvigo once again captivated her audience with her real-life journey as a Maya apprentice while imparting some very valuable information along the way. Combined with the presentations from our other expert speakers, our guests received a comprehensive education in Maya history, culture, cosmology and healing. What better way to welcome in the 2012 Winter Solstice and prepare for 2013?
“Chaa Creek will continue to support Maya studies and make our 356-acre nature reserve, which contains scores of Maya archaeological sites and the ancient Maya temple of Tunichilen to legitimate Maya researchers. What was presented at Chaa Creek this week is just the tip of a fascinating amount of Maya information just waiting to be discovered.
“Rather than marking the end of the world, we like to think that the Winter Solstice of 2012 will open up a whole new world of Maya studies for many people,” Ms. Fleming said.
We wish everyone Love, Joy, Peace, Abundance and Happiness not only during this special time but also far into the future. Happy Holidays!
As the Maya calendar rolls over in Belize with the end of the 13th Bak’tun and the beginning of a new 5,125 year cycle, the celebrations continue in Belize at The Lodge at Chaa Creek, according to marketing administrator Larry Waight.
“Surprise, surprise; we’re still here,” Mr Waight said as a large group of guests, staff members and their families, Chaa Creek’s owners and local villagers prepared for the procession to the ancient Maya temple of Tunichilen and an exuberant celebration to, as Mr Waight said, “Mark the end of one long cosmic cycle and the beginning of another.”
A far cry from the apocalypse scenario some people were predicting over the internet, and made highly profitable by the 2008 Hollywood blockbuster film, “2012”, the mood at Chaa Creek was upbeat and enthusiastic, Mr Waight said.
“People seem to be really engaged with the sense of a new beginning, that rather than the world ending, there is a future out there for all of us to participate in,” Mr Waight said, “In that way, with all the positive energy, this is the most meaningful New Year’s celebration I’ve ever experienced,” he said.
Belize was at the centre of the vast Maya Empire, which ran from around 2600 BC to the mid 1500s AD, and Chaa Creek sits in what is regarded as the heartland of the Maya in Western Belize, roughly the centre of the Mundo Maya, or Maya World, encompassing all of Belize and parts of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
“Living here in the Maya heartland it’s been frustrating to see all these bogus stories in the media about the end of the Maya calendar, Maya predictions of the end of the world and other nonsense,” Mr Waight said, “But right now we’re having a major party to celebrate the achievements of this rich and fascinating culture. “I think the ancient Maya would be pleased,” he said.
Chaa Creek, located in a private 365 acre rainforest nature reserve, is home to Belize’s Natural History Centre which, among other things, houses a collection of Maya artefacts and information about Belize’s rich Maya heritage. For the last week, the eco resort has been hosting a series of lectures and seminars to educate people about Maya culture in the lead-up to the 2012 Winter Solstice, a date of huge significance to the Maya.
The eco resort also hosts legitimate Maya research from universities and agencies such as the New York Botanic Gardens, which has been studying Maya medicinal plants in the hopes of finding modern application in areas such as cancer research, Mr Waight said.
“As always, we say that Maya fact is far more interesting than media fiction, and I think we’ve proved that to our guests this week. Now, with a traditional Maya feast and the 2012 Winter Solstice celebrations, they’re about to see how much fun it can be as well."
“We’re concentrating on doing it right, since it will be another few thousand years before we get to do it again,” Mr Waight said.
Travellers to Belize will find it easier to combine a Caribbean beach vacation with a rainforest and Maya temple experience, thanks to today’s launch of a new air service linking Belize’s San Ignacio Town to San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, The Lodge at Chaa Creek’s marketing administrator, Larry Waight said today.
According to Tropic Air, their new service will run between the Maya Flats airstrip located midway between San Ignacio Town and Benque Viejo del Carmen on the Guatemalan border, and the domestic airports at San Pedro and Belize City.
“The new service is a direct response to requests from its valued customers, and carries through on the airline’s commitment to the people of Belize. It also will allow for the growth of tourism in both regions, facilitating easy and quick transfers for visitors, and for increased trade between Cayo and the rest of the country,” John Grief III, Tropic Air’s President, said.
“We hope that in the coming months, we are able to add flights and other destinations from San Ignacio,” he added.
Mr Waight said that the new service will compliment Chaa Creek’s all-inclusive Belize vacation packagesthat allow guests to divide their time between Chaa Creek’s luxury rainforest experience and holidays at select Caribbean resorts.
“Tropic Air’s continuing enhancement of services makes it all that easier for our guests to combine a stay on Belize’s Great Barrier Reef, Ambergris Caye or one of our Caribbean coast partners. Our all-inclusive rainforest to Reef packages mean that guests are catered to from the moment they arrive at Belize’s International Airport until we drop them back off. And now Tropic Air just made these exceptional and affordable vacations even easier,” Mr Waight said.
Tropic Air was started by Mr Greif in 1972, beginning with one airplane and two employees. The airline now operates a fleet of 12 aircraft servicing 14 destinations in Belize, Honduras and Guatemala. Tropic Air employs over 250 staff and carried some 250,000 passengers in 2011.
The Lodge at Chaa Creek was started by Mick and Lucy Fleming in 1981 who, with the help of a few employees and local villagers turned their small family farm into Belize’s first eco resort. Chaa Creek is now a 365 acre private rainforest nature reserve with a Natural History Centre, working Butterfly Farm, professional Hilltop Spa, fine dining restaurant and lounge and employs over 135 people.
“We watched Tropic Air, Belize’s Caribbean Sea resorts and indeed all of Belize grow alongside Chaa Creek, and it’s just great to see how our growth complements each other to give our visitors the best possible experience.
“Now, with Tropic Air expanding services we’ll continue to develop our Rainforest to Reef affordable vacation deals to give travellers even more Belize vacation options and greater flexibility. It’s just another indication of Belize’s maturity as a premier travel destination,” Mr Waight said.
Belize has been nominated as a top beach destination in Central America by Trip Advisor, the world’s largest travel site that assists individuals to plan trips using advice from real travelers.
According to the newly released “Top 10 Beach Destinations in Central America”, Belize ranked seventh through ninth on the Trip Advisor list. The three popular beaches nominated were: San Pedro, Placencia and Caye Caulker.
San Pedro is "La Isla Bonita" that Madonna made famous and is a tourist mecca that boasts great beaches and plenty of dive shops where you can enjoy the sun, sand, and sea.
Placencia Peninsula is a lovely little Belizean seacoast village in Southern Belize with sixteen miles of white sandy beaches and is a favorite destination for diving and snorkeling.
Caye Caulker is a small island with a rare combination of rustic, laid back charm and comfortable amenities that has very little resemblance to the more hustle and bustle Caribbean hot spots.Travelers report that it’s “not for the party animal,” and appeals especially to backpackers, painters, divers and snorkelers.
Other Central American Countries that made it on the Traveler’s Choice 2012 Awards list were Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Hondura.
The Lodge at Chaa Creek is helping travellers make an informed choice with their Christmas holiday decisions by listing some of the top reasons for enjoying Yuletide in Belize.
While Belize is known for many things, such as a top dive spot, for its rainforests dotted with many Maya temples and archaeological sites and a laid back lifestyle, it can also be the perfect place for a Christmas holiday, according to Denise Duran, Chaa Creek’s Guest Services Coordinator.
Ms Duran said that based on her own observations and feedback from guests, she’s picked three of the top reasons why Belize is the perfect Christmas holiday destination for families, couples, singles and groups of friends.
“If you consider all the factors including natural beauty, weather, close proximity to the major US airports and what you get for your money, Belize begins looking like the perfect Christmas vacation destination,” she said, and listed three of the most mentioned reasons why.
One - Weather. “The weather is wonderful this time of year, with temperatures between 71°F (22°C) with and 80°F (27°C) and a monthly average of around 75°F (24°C) in December.”
Two - Affordability. “People always tell me that they don’t realise what a good deal it is here until after they arrive and see how much there is to do. Over the years Chaa Creek has really become a destination within a destination, meaning that once you arrive here, you can have a complete, affordable Belize experience without leaving our 365 acre rainforest reserve.” she said.
“For instance, last year the father of a family said they had the time of their lives and spent less than the previous year at home, because everything everyone wanted to do, from the adults, the teens to the young children, was right here and included in their all-inclusive Belize vacation package.
With the horseback riding, mountain bikes, canoes, nature walks, pool and everything else, they never ran out of things to do, and since all meals, tips, taxes and everything is included in one price, they just didn’t spend much money after they arrived. He said that back home, things like dinners out, movie tickets, and all the little treats during Christmas added up to a lot of money they didn’t need to spend this year. Let’s just say he was very happy.
Three - Ease. “The same man, and others have said that another surprise was how easy Belize is. It’s just a short hop from the US, and once here you have the thrill of an overseas holiday with none of the hassles. Our official language is English, our money is pegged two-to-one to the US dollar, and Belizeans are famous for being very welcoming, friendly and helpful. Again, with our all-inclusive Belize Christmas package, we pick you up, drop you off, and everything, and I mean everything, in between is taken care of, so you just concentrate on enjoying a magic Christmas.”
Ms Duran said there are many other reasons, including Chaa Creek’s commitment to responsible travel. “People seem to really appreciate how we’ve made sustainability and being Green luxurious. After all, Chaa Creek wasBelize’s first eco resort, and we do a lot of educational work within the tourism industry and community, so it’s second nature to us, but I love that our guests agree that sustainability is important. When they learn that 10% of all room revenue goes directly to environmental and social programs, they see that as another plus,” she said.
Belize’s festive approach to Christmas and its unique combination of the traditional and the exotic are also attractions, Ms Duran said, “From the Christmas trees, decorations, carols, turkey dinners and all the other trimmings, it’s a very familiar Christmas, especially for kids and couples. But there is a distinctly Belizean flavour – the lilt of the Creole language, the Spanish fiesta feel, swimming on Christmas day and all those things that make Christmas in Belize so special and, with the all-inclusive Belize Christmas vacation packages, very affordable,” Ms Duran said. “It’s one of those things you need to experience to believe,” she added.
Forbes Magazine’s choice of Belize as a top retirement spot confirms the tiny Caribbean country’s reputation as not only a desirable place to visit, but as a great place to live, Chaa Creek’s business manager Peter Tonti said.
“It’s been a best kept secret, but the word is getting out that Belize is a great place to spend not only an affordable tropical holiday, but a happy and healthy retirement, too,” Mr Tonti said.
The current (November 2012) online edition of Forbes Magazine features Belize as one of “15 Top Foreign Retirement Havens.”
In its introduction, Forbes’ photo feature states that, “Living overseas is different from just visiting. Before you retire to a foreign country, consider not just the weather and cost of living, but also healthcare; safety; tax and visa requirements; and how friendly the country is to foreigners. Here are some possibilities,” and then goes on to list fifteen of what it considers the world’s best retirement choices.
The authoritative magazine, known for astute investment advice and articles on subjects such as international trade and monetary news, recommends Belize and said that, “Belize has tropical rain forests, mountains and beaches. As an incentive to retire there, it offers people 45 and older who have a retirement income of at least $2,000 per month, a tax exemption on all income generated (through work or investments) outside of Belize.”
Mr Tonti said there are also other factors that make Belize a desirable place to live. “If you’re smart, your money can go much further here than at home and you can enjoy a lifestyle that, to my mind, is priceless. The weather is almost perfect, regulated by the Caribbean breezes and a huge expanse of rainforest covering most of the country, so with annual temperatures averaging around 81°F (27°C) and not much fluctuation between seasons, it’s never too hot or too cold.
“English is the official language of Belize, so it’s very easy to get along in, and with the Belize dollar pegged to US currency at two Belize dollars to one greenback, and US dollars accepted everywhere, money is easy to work out.
“Land is abundant, and can be purchased by foreigners, so there are plenty of lifestyle options, from having your own farm, beachside condo or to living in one of the secure Belize retirement villages that are popping up around the country. And, with the US mainland a couple hours away, it’s easy for friends and relatives to come and go,” he said.
“In fact, one of our affordable, all-inclusive Belize Vacation packages would be by far the most efficient and most enjoyable way of checking Belize out. We can get you from the inland communities to those on the Caribbean coast and islands such as Ambergris caye with everything in-between during one seamless, casually luxurious holiday. And, because of our network of friends and colleagues and other resources, our packages are usually more affordable – and a lot easier – than doing it yourself,” he said.
Mr Tonti said that guests can get more information about Belize through online sources such as the Belize Travel Blog, BelizeFirst.com or the Belize Tourism Board website, and by contacting Chaa Creek directly.
“Many of us came here to visit and never left. I think if people come here with the intention of looking around, they’ll quickly see why,” he said.
The Lodge at Chaa Creek ‘s recent recognition as one of the world’s best 100 hotels by the authoritative Fodor’s Travel guide is a win not only for the Belizean eco resort, but the tiny country’s tourism industry as a whole, Chaa Creek owner Lucy Fleming said today.
“We were very happy indeed to hear that Chaa Creek was selected as one of the world’s 100 best hotels by such a highly regarded source as Fodor’s,” Ms Fleming said, “It’s a win not only for us and our staff, but for Belizean tourism as a whole, which has been growing side by side Chaa Creek since Belize became an independent nation in 1981,” she said.
Fodor’s Travel has been one of the world’s leading sources for travel information since 1936, and currently covers over 7,500 destinations worldwide through its popular guidebooks, website and articles. The company recently released its second annual list of the world’s top 100 hotels, culled from a list of over 4,000 nominations taking in 41 different countries.
In acknowledging Chaa Creek, Fodor’s said that, “Affordable luxury, sustainable practices, and the best… natural offerings come together at this 23-room, all-inclusive villa hotel spread over 365 riverside jungle acres in Belize's Cayo district (Guests share the vast property with monkeys, jaguars, and more than 300 bird species.).”
Another Fodor’s review stated that Chaa Creek’s “…gracefully landscaped grounds, surrounded by 365 acres of rolling hills above the Macal River, are magnificent. On the grounds are the Rainforest Medicine Trail, Natural History Centre, butterfly farm, horse stables, Maya organic farm, one of the best spas in Belize, as well as a gorgeous bi-level swimming pool. “
Ms Fleming said that Chaa Creek’s success was the result of several factors, “We’re blessed with incredible natural beauty in Belize and are lucky to have the best staff I’ve seen anywhere in the world. When we started on a shoestring over 30 years ago, everyone pulled together to make it work, and that feeling that we’re all in this together has never faded. We really are like one big family, now with over 135 members all working together, and guests see and appreciate that.
“Since we evolved slowly over time we built Chaa Creek in harmony with the natural surroundings, and that shows. My husband Mick and I have gained a love and respect for the natural environment that only comes from living here, so I think we blend in and work with nature, rather than trying to subdue it. We’ve been able to show that you can provide a luxurious experience with sustainable Green practices by paying very careful attention to the needs of your guests and your surroundings,” she said.
Described as Belize’s first true eco resort, Chaa Creek contains fourteen thatched roof cottage style accommodations, seven suites, four villas and ten bungalow style casitas at its Macal River Camp, and offers horseback and mountain bike riding and hiking through miles of secure jungle trails, canoeing, guided tours and a range of activities as well as a pool and a fine-dining restaurant with a spacious jungle lounge. The Eco resort is known for its affordable all-inclusive Belize vacation packages, some combining a Caribbean island vacation with Chaa Creek’s rainforest and Maya experiences.
“By offering so many different activities and experiences we’ve become a destination within a destination, which allows us to offer casual luxury at affordable rates, and this, combined with our friendly attention to service has set us apart,” Ms Fleming said, and added that, “It’s great when your guests say that you’re the best place they’ve stayed, and when such a respected source as Fodor’s says that you’re among the very best in the world, well, that’s just icing on the cake.”
Two Belizean eco resorts highlighted in a recent Fox News feature listing Belize’s most ecofriendly tourism destinations are partners in affordable all-inclusive “Rainforest to Reef” Belize vacation packages and this means that guests are able to experience Belize’s lush inland rainforests and the Caribbean coast with two of “Belize’s very best”, according to Larry Waight, The Lodge at Chaa Creek’s marketing administrator.
In a feature titled “Eco-Friendly Stays in Belize” Fox news highlighted Chaa Creek, which is situated in a private 365 acre rainforest nature reserve in inland Belize, and Chabil Mar, which is located on the Belize’s Caribbean Coast.
“We were happy to see Chaa Creek picked as one of Fox News’s best ecofriendly resorts, and then, I noticed that our good friends and partners in two all-inclusive Belize vacation packages, Chabil Mar, were also on the list,” Mr Waight said. “What that means for our guests is that when you book one of those packages, you can rest assured that you’re getting the best, most eco-friendly inland and Caribbean beach resorts.
“It makes people confident that they are getting the best of the best while doing the right thing for the environment,” he added.
The Fox news feature article said that, “Chaa Creek, one of Belize’s first eco-lodges, has evolved from its humble beginnings as a working farm to become a premier luxury retreat. This sophisticated operation includes rustic-luxe, thatched-roof cottages, wonderful service, and modern amenities such as an infinity pool with jungle views and a full-service spa. The riverside setting on a private rainforest reserve is phenomenal, and myriad tours and outdoor activities are offered through the hotel.”
In describing Chabil mar, Fox said, “Chabil Mar on Placencia Peninsula has 22 spacious villas. Each villa is provided with eco-friendly bath products and there is LED lighting throughout the resort's interior and exterior. Chabil Mar is also affiliated with Project Planet, an initiative in the hospitality industry that encourages linen and towel reuse.”
Mr Waight said he felt it was no coincidence that Chaa Creek shared a spot on Fox’s list with Chabil Mar. “We partnered with Chabil Mar in offering our ‘Rainforest to Reef’ and Honeymoon packages because they share our commitment towards the environment as well as providing a high quality, casually luxurious experience for our guests, so it really shouldn’t be a surprise that we were both independently picked by Fox News.
“However, it’s great to see, and our guests can be confident that their all-inclusive Belize vacation is giving them the best of two different but equally beautiful worlds – our vibrant interior and sparkling Caribbean coast,” Mr Waight said.
Chaa Creek’s various all-inclusive Rainforest to Reef vacation packages allow guests to spend their Belize vacations between the two resorts with all accommodation, meals, transfers, activities and fees included in one set price. “It really is a fantastic way to see what’s so special about Belize and, in Fox News opinion, in two of the best eco-resorts,” Mr Waight said.
How did the ancient Maya feed huge cities with populations of over 150,000 without using the wheel or even having reliable sources of water? These and other questions will be explored during Belize’s Maya 2012 Winter Solstice celebrations to be held at Chaa Creek this December, owner Mick Fleming said today.
Mr Fleming, who with his wife Lucy began Chaa Creek as a small farm in the late 1970s and still manages the eco resort’s Maya Organic Farm, which uses traditional Maya agricultural techniques to supply vegetables to the Chaa Creek restaurant and local families, said people are often amazed to learn how productive the ancient Maya were as farmers.
“Many people think of the Maya as forest dwelling subsistence farmers, but in actual fact they were astute urban planners who successfully fed huge cities and armies for hundreds of years. When you think of the logistics involved, especially for people who did not have the wheel or draught animals, it’s pretty astounding.
“Not far from Chaa Creek, the city of Caracol had some 180,000 people at its peak, and they had no rivers or real water sources other than what they could capture from rain,” Mr Fleming said.
Researchers have long wondered how the Maya of Belize successfully farmed on such a large scale for such a long period of time. Paradoxically, while the reasons for the sudden, dramatic collapse of the huge Maya Empire after the ninth century AD are still debated, a disruption in the food chain is now considered to be a likely cause.
An interesting aspect of Maya agriculture which has recently come to light is the Maya land management system known as the “Maya Forest Garden”. Anthropologist Dr Anabel Ford, Director of the Mesoamerican Research Centre at the University of California, is a friend of the Flemings who has worked for many years at the nearby El Pilar Maya archaeological site. Dr Ford manages a project called Archaeology under the Canopy that explores how the Maya managed to farm within the Belizean rainforests, rather than clearing large tracts of land as other cultures did and still do.
“The research… at El Pilar is based upon the premise that the ancient Maya worked with their tropical environment, as opposed to transfiguring it, and by doing so created a flourishing civilization sustained by the natural rainforest ecosystem," Dr Ford said.
Mr Fleming said that the El Pilar findings should go a long way in explaining how the large, densely populated ancient Maya cities and communities were able to flourish on such a grand scale in an inhospitable jungle environment. He feels that the research is also important in discovering new ways to feed a growing world population while maintaining an increasingly fragile eco-system.
“Here at Chaa Creek we built the resort around the natural surroundings. Even back in the early days of farming, if there was a big tree in the way, we’d go around it rather than cut it down. People constantly complement us on the look of Chaa Creek and our landscaping, but it’s really just been a matter of working with what was there, as opposed to knocking everything down and then planting ornamental stuff around it. Later on we were pleasantly surprised to learn that’s how Chaa Creek’s original inhabitants, the ancient Maya did it,” Mr Fleming said.
These and other aspects of Maya agriculture, as well as Maya history and culture, healing, arts, crafts, music, pottery and home building, including roof thatching, will be the subject of the lectures and workshops during the weeklong Chaa Creek Maya 2012 Winter Solstice celebrations taking place around the December 21 2012 winter solstice.
A special Maya traditional village centre is being constructed at the Belizean eco resort’s Maya Organic Farm to house the workshops and give guests hands-on opportunities to learn from local Maya craftspeople, artisans, farmers and cooks.
In addition to the Maya workshops, a range of activities, including tours to the ancient Maya cities of Caracol, canoeing the Macal river, guided nature walks as well as hiking, mountain bike or horseback riding the network of trails throughout Chaa Creek’s 365 acre private rainforest reserve will be on offer.
“There is much we can learn from the ancient Maya that’s applicable to our needs today, and we like to think the 2012 Maya Winter Solstice celebrations will be an eye opener for many people,” Mr Fleming said, “In addition, of course, to being a great party,” he added.