Monday, February 13, 2012

Beautiful Belize

I have always wanted to go to Belize... I'm not even sure why. I think someone told me years ago how beautiful it is, so I've had in my mind that I needed to see it myself. When Ryan told me our trip would include a day in Belize I did a happy dance for a ridiculously long time.  It did not disappoint!

We took a quick ferry ride from the ship...

This was our ship from the ferry... it is huge...

...and when we got to the port we got on this fun bus to take us to our high adventure cave tubing activity.

We had a bus ride that took us through the country to the depths of the Belizean jungle...

...and had a hilarious tour guide. Their company tag-line is "Butts Up" because the water is low enough that they do the guests a favor and tell them when to put their butts up so they don't scrape bottom. Our tour guide told us a bit about Belize... did you know that the national language there is English, but they have people who are of Mayan, Latin, and Creole descent also?

I thought this sign was hilarious.

The water table is so high there that they have to "bury" their dead above ground.

Belize isn't a wealthy country... but I still thought it had it's charm.

Many of the houses are painted bright colors...

...and it was funny to see people riding in the backs of trucks with all manner of foliage. We saw a man riding a bicycle with his wife in front of him, she was holding a baby on the handlebars and there was a young child behind him.... I wish I'd gotten a picture of that!

I loved seeing the different architecture. If I'd had more time I would have liked to have knocked on some doors and asked to see the insides of their homes. I'd probably need a lot more time to make Belizean friends so I would feel comfortable asking people to see their houses :).

Ele was a new friend that came on the trip with her sister who is one of the top consultants. We figured out that lives just a few blocks away from us. She was the life of the party!

Ryan and Ele and I all had the same shoes, so we took a photo, because we are nerdy like that.

We had a minute to go the bathroom, then got in line to get our tubes and head lamps.

Look at that funny tan line! Heaven help me.

We crossed a small river (the same one we would be tubing on)...

 ...and went for a hike through the jungle.

Aren't we cute with our rockin' headlamps?

We split into groups of eight or so and the guides hooked us together. The current was so low and slow in many places that not only did they tell us "Butts Up!" but they actually had to swim to pull us along. They would speak to each other in Creole on and off which gave me a little bit of a complex.

The inside of the cave reminded me a bit of Timp Cave... a lot of neat stalagmites and stalagtites.

It was really interesting... and they kept telling us not to open our mouths (for the bat droppings) but we never saw any bats.

There is a lot of superstition connected with the caves... many people from the Mayan culture believed that the water dripping from the cave ceiling was "virgin water" or that if you allowed it to drip on your forehead you would become pure again.

The jungle was beautiful... we didn't see many animals, but we did see some white toucans fly overhead. No one was fast enough to get a photo, and I can't even find one online anywhere... but they were really beautiful. I promise.

The tour company even fed us lunch... a lovely traditional tamale....

...that had a whole piece of bone-in chicken... not my idea of a yummy lunch, but that's okay.

This was one of our guides... there were more than a few awkward moments as they swam us down the river.... I already felt like a lazy, fat American and then one of the guides started to tell me that Creole originated because slaves developed it to speak about their masters without them understanding. Awesome.

They had a table set up with handicrafts for sale. I wish I had made some purchases there! I held out for shopping by the port, but I should have grabbed those bracelets while I could.

We spent a little time shopping near the port.
I recently decided that I when I got rich and traveled the world (and had a place to put them) I would collect nativities from each of the countries that I visited. Well, I'm not rich yet, and I still don't have more room to store and display things, but I'm not sure I'll get back to Belize any time soon, so when we found this neat nativity we bought it. I had been hoping for a beautiful wood-carved nativity that I saw on someone's nativity from around the world website, but there were none to be found. I am still glad we decided to get this one.

We hopped back on the ferry to head back to the ship for dinner.  I loved these photos that Ryan took of the Belize coastline. I'd love to go back some day!


Sara White said...

Love it! It looks like you had a good time cruising through the cave. We loved it also. Is there more to come? Your trip looked amazing!

Kristi said...

Oh, wow! That's so fun. That tubing trip looks like a lot of fun!!

Kristy said...

What a fun trip! And if work sponsored it, even better!! I need a warm vacation soon....