Sunday, August 24, 2008

Cruise 2K8 Day 5- Belize

When we woke up that morning we went to Follie’s Lounge and got our tickets for the tender (group 2!). We were off the boat by 8:30, so it wasn’t too bad. We did have a long ride to the island though which seemed unusual to me that we had to “park” so far away from the mainland. (Belize is not an island, it is part of Central America and boarders Guatemala.)

We found our tour guides from easily right outside the port where they had told us to meet them. We boarded a nice air-conditioned bus and enjoyed our tour guide, Kevin, as he told us a little about Belize, what to expect on our ATV and cave tubing adventure and even gave us a taste of the island’s cashew wine (it reminded me of homemade scuppernong wine). Kristin had jokingly asked if she could have the whole bottle when he was pouring her shot and after he had given everyone a taste, he called her to the front of the bus and challenged her to chug the rest of the bottle! She made a good effort but couldn’t finish it, so we helped her out!

It took about 40 minutes to get to our ATV spot. Now I have to say, when we booked this excursion I was worried about getting all muddy. Well, I had to let that go because there was no way to avoid it! It was the rainy season in Belize and the whole trail was one big mud hole. But I had so much fun! I did make sure to stay a good distance back from the person in front of me so I would avoid getting slung in the face with mud, but my legs were caked with it by the end. It was a pretty good, long, narrow, winding trail through the rain forest and we all had a great time bouncing and sliding around on our ATVs!

After washing most of the mud off we boarded the bus to go to the cave tubing spot. We got there in about 5-10 minutes and got our tube and head lamps and made the hike up to the cave. It was a pretty long hike through some really beautiful rain forest areas and caves. We didn’t have time to do 2 caves so we stopped and got in the water at the first cave. The water was very “refreshing” (AKA- cold) but it felt good after that hike. The cave was so BIG! We got in our tubes and linked our feet through each other’s arm to form a chain. Our guide Richard did all the work. Pulling us through the cave and telling us “butts up” at all the shallow spots. It took a good 20 minutes or so to float through the cave and it was amazing. After we came out of the cave we floated a ways down the river back to the staring point. We even saw a HUGE boa constrictor sunning himself on a rock about 10 feet from us (yeah that really freaked me out!).

We took the bus back to the ATV spot where we bought some home-made tamales (soft corn tortillas and chicken backed in a banana leaf) and sampled the local Belkin beer (pretty good!). We also bought some souvenir “butts-up” t-shirts. Then we got back on the bus for the long ride back to the port.

This country is also very poor so I took lots of pictures of the landscape and sights on the ride back. We had to pass through a police check point and right beside it were what looked like fresh graves which kind of freaked me out. Our tour guides told us most people don’t live to be 65 there.

Our guides told us to visit the local market right outside the port for some good deals. We got back to the port and did some shopping and went to the bathroom inside first. We then visited the local market and I quickly realized I did not want to be out there. They are so pushy and it is kind of scary. This lady kept pestering me to braid my hair and I kept telling her no and she finally resorted to asking me for a dollar just for trying so I gave it to her just to get her to leave me alone! Some others in our group witnessed a local man stealing a handful of necklaces from a lady’s table. The local men were creepy and I kept trying to stay close to the guys in our group so they would leave me alone. It was NOT my cup of tea!

Even inside the port it freaked me out because all these people were selling marijuana pipes and even offered the “stuff” to go with them. I was so happy to end that shopping excursion and get back on the tender boat!

That night we had dinner in the dining room and then headed up to the Lido deck for the big deck party. Their drink special that night was Mojitos. They were pretty good! They had encouraged people to wear their bathrobes to the party, but that just seemed silly to us. Some people did and some didn’t, but it made for some interesting people watching. They had a really good Caribbean band that played all the cheesy group dance songs like the electric slide, Cupid’s Shuffle, and the Cha-Cha slide. (Yes we participated and it was fun!) They had a conga line competition between the red and blue teams (red was even # cabins and blue was odd # cabins). They did a big circle and went around and had people dance in the center which was funny. Overall it was a good time and I was glad it didn’t get rained out like the deck party on last year’s cruise.

Pictures from Belize:

Hint: Don't click "Download this video" just use the arrows at the bottom.

Next stop: Cozumel!

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