Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Belize


Our next port was Belize and we were tendered there so we had to take a small boat over to the shore. It was quite a long trip so the water must have been shallow there for a long ways. It was interesting to see all the little boats scurrying out to the cruise ships to get passengers and bring them in.
 
Looking back you can see how far the ships were out. There were three ships there that day which was average. You'd think it would be crowded but everyone spread out pretty well.
 For some reason the photographer told Mendis to hunch down so we got an odd looking picture.
 
 So hanging around the dock waiting for the rest of our party (who never did show up) was a little unnerving because it was chaos there. There were bars on all the windows and didn't seem like a safe area at all although I am sure it was safer than it seemed to us. The city was not appealing at all and we were glad to be in our rattle trap van again and on the way out of town. This cemetery was full so they started putting crypts in the median of the highway which is odd. Everything was very haphazard and thrown together. IT doesn't bother them at all and they were a very happy people. They all drive vehicles they buy from the US that have 250,000 miles on them and fix them up the bet they can and go another 250,000. So we had an hour drive out of the city and out into the rain forest. The jungle was not really tall on the way there but very, very dense. If fact it was easy to see how in the Book of Mormon times people could have gotten lost like they did looking for Limhi's people or how Noah's priests stayed so hidden.
 So finally we arrived at the park where we did the zip lining first. It was a series of 8 zip lines. The first one was called the chicken run and it was just to give you some practice. Then there was alot of hiking up into the top of the mountain so you could zip line down from platform to platform. It was absolutely incredible. we loved it. The scenery was incredible and it was such fun. It took a time or two to realize you were completely safe and then it got super fun to just whizz on down the lines!
 Going on this one 1000 feet long over the river was incredible.
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 Even Mendis, although hanging on for dear life, had a good time.
 After the zip lining we hiked about 1/2 mile or so through the rain forest to the cave tubing. It was so beautiful. Our guide was Mayan and he explained how the Mayan people used all the trees and plants in the rain forest for medicine. He even showed us a Viagra tree lol.

Then he told us how the Mayans use everything and they even eat the termites for the protein. He claimed they were very tasty so don't you know we all had to try it. Well everyone but Jolynn who told Jeff if he ate one she would never kiss him again. He ate it! lol
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 We really liked our tour because every other tour we saw they ha to carry their own inner tubes and with ours they had a man that did it so they were waiting at the river for us. That was great. So we load up and they hooked all of our tubes together and off we went floating down the river.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 The cave itself was huge. Really high ceilings for the most part so it wasn't claustrophobic at all. There were bats over head but you really couldn't see them. Our guide told us floating down the river through the caves (there are 14 in all) was a Mayan ritual that young men would do as they became a warrior or like a baptism of sorts. It symbolized a rebirth by leaving your life and going through the darkness like hell and being reborn into the light. Very interesting.
 
 When we got out of the cave it was raining as we went down the river. It was so fun to have rain on us in the rain forest. It made it quite peaceful and relaxing. I could have floated for hours. There were monkeys up in the trees but we could never see any.
video
 
 
 Sometimes the water level was low so out guide would yell "Butts up" and he would drag us across so we didn't get stuck. Most of the time he paddled backwards and told us about the traditions and what we were seeing along the way. He worked his heart out.
 Back in the distance of this picture you can see the mountain that just popped up in the middle of nowhere and that's where the rain forest is. We had an hour drive back to the ship and it rained most of the way. We had to move our stuff away from the edge of the van because the water was pouring down the inside of the windows almost as bad as the outside. It was really pouring out there but we made it back safe and sound.
 Back to another fabulous dinner. We couldn't decide which desserts we wanted because they all sounded good so that night we got about three each. Crazy.
 
Our towel friend that night was pretty cute!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Roatan

Finally we got down to the Caribbean! It took awhile for the ship to dock and let us off. Actually getting off was a huge fiasco over towels etc. Big line, no fun. But we were excited to be there. Our first port!

We were greeted on the dock by this band. They sang and danced the whole time for tips.
 We looked for Jerry Lewis, Joan said he was the best driver, but we couldn't find him and just hired another tour guide to take us around the island.
We went in his rattle trap van and he took us around to everything there was to see.

 Our first and most fun stop was a petting zoo. this was definitely a new experience for all of us. They had quite a collection of unique animals and birds.
 Yes the monkey on the head was a bit creepy but we just concentrated on how cool it was overall.
 
 The birds were also a bit freaky to be carrying around on your shoulders and head but also fun.
 

 Mine kept pecking on my new Maui Jim's...not cool. But I was afraid to tick him off.
 
 There was a toucan and lots of other exotic parrots and birds.
 I can't remember what these critters were called but you could pet them and they were soft and course at the same time. And pretty cute too.
 He drove us all around and we saw some beautiful resorts. We also saw some real poverty all around us.
We were not too excited about the road blocks with the armed police either. They looked like young kids armed with their AR-15s. We had to keep stopping so they could see who was in the van.
 A gorgeous view up here but of course we had to drive through the poverty to get up there. It was so sad to me because I am sure we didn't see the worst of it. Overall we weren't that excited about Roatan. We were glad we saw it but we feel like we can cross it off our list and be done. If we came back to stay in one of their posh resorts that would be fun but I don't think we would ever step foot outside the resort especially alone. They did some lovely mahogany wood items and great cashews though!



A cashew tree. Very interesting. It's a major crop for them here.
 
 Alot of the houses are built up on stilts even on high ground but that is for air circulation to keep their homes cooler. Kinda cool. ahahha
Our towel friend that night.
 
  After another fabulous dinner we headed over to the production show "Broadway Rhythm & Rhyme"