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Friday, June 1, 2007

Belize!


Well, it was a fabulous 13 days that Drew & I spent in Belize and although I'm glad to be back and no longer needing to spray every inch of me with insect repellent 24/7, I do find myself missing the traveling life. I felt so free and loved the fact that all I had to worry about was where to sleep when we got to the next town and what fun adventures we wanted to embark on when we arrived.

We started off in the northwest region in a town called Orange Walk. From there, we took a riverboat tour down to Lamanai to see some Mayan ruins. It was an amazing ride downriver. Along the way, there were tons of white lilies that opened up just around noontime each day.

Lamanai was not a huge Mayan site, but it was interesting to know that it dated back to 1500 BC! We climbed the tallest structure there (125ft) with the help of a nifty yellow rope. The top offered great panaromic views of the jungle & the New River. Below is a picture of one of the stelas, an upright slab of stone on which inscriptions were carved.

After two nights, we took a 4 hour bus ride down to Ian Anderson's lodge near central Belize. Almost all the buses in Belize are old U.S. school buses, so it was one hot ride. We stayed in a cabana with no electricity and no curtains, just screens on the windows and door so that you could feel the breeze pass by. Our only source of light was oil lamps. We had no TV and loved it! The only thing that bugged us were the troops of howler monkeys that screeched and growled at high volume in the middle of the night.

My favorite part about this place was the outdoor shower. You go into this open-air hut basically and warm water trickles down from holes on the bottom of a tin pail as you stare up into the jungle. A very unique experience!


Here's Drew taking a nap after a long day's play. (Side note: He won first place in the Biggest Big Toe contest during freshman year in the dorms. I'm so proud.)

On day 2 at Ian Anderson's Lodge, we booked the River Cave Expedition and lucked out with a great guide named Vida. He was knowledgeable about the plants, animals, and history of the place. We river tubed down to the mouth of the cave. The above images were taken while I was laying in an inner tube. :)

Here's Vida and Drew during their rock skipping competition. I ended up beating them both with 6 skips! Ha ha ha!!

Inside, the caves were pretty extensive. We followed Vida around in the dark cave with headlamps on our foreheads as he showed us various animals and cave structures. The most amazing one was this Mayan carving (apparently the only Mayan cave carving in all of Central America) of the rain god, Cha.

On Day 5, we headed back to Belize City and took a water taxi over to Caye Caulker. This was a small island where the primary form of transportation is either by golf cart or bicycle on the white sand streets. The island is so small that there are only three main parallel streets -Front, Middle, and Back. Drew and I biked around to explore the island.

The crooked dock - I think it took a beating when Hurricane Hattie hit the island back in '61.

Our friends Tho & Marissa joined us on Caye Caulker midway on our vacation. We took a snorkeling trip and swam with sharks, sting rays, and...drum roll please...MANATEES!



That's Marisa saying hi to the nurse sharks before she dove in. Isn't the water incredible?

For lunch we stopped at another island, Ambergris Caye, and had some well-deserved margaritas. Yum.

The above image is the Split on Caye Caulker. It's where Hurricane Hattie split the island in two. It's also where everyone goes to swim on the island.

Well, there are more stories to tell - like the tick that sucked my blood for 3 days (thanks Drew for telling me it was a scab!), but I must be off to bed now as it is an unspeakable time of night by now. I think this is going to be one of my longest blogs ever. Hope you guys enjoyed it!

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