“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” - Jawaharal Nehru

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Vacation Part 2: Belize

Disclaimer - this will be a long post!

Hello warm weather, beautiful crystal blue water, and relaxation. Yes, we made it to Belize!

Nick and I were oh so very excited for this trip. Much needed relaxation for the both of us. The trip started off a little rocky. Our flight out of Dallas was delayed by 2 1/2 hours due to weather. Yep, shortly before we were to board a hail storm blew in. Our plane was re-routed to Oklahoma. It landed there and waited on the all clear to head back to DFW. So about the time we finally took off would have been the time we actually landed (had we left on schedule). Oh well, what can you do?

We landed in Belize City about 5ish. I should add I did pretty well on the flight. I think I was just super excited about getting there already. How short lived that was. I then realized I had to do something that scared the living daylights out of me.... get on a propeller plan. Yeah, not at the top of my list. But we had to take it to get to the island we were staying on - Ambergris Caye.

We received our boarding passes and proceeded outside to the small plane. It looked like a toy next to the 737 American flight we just got off. I'm walking next to Nick so incredibly nervous. We get to the stairs and one off the staff of Tropic Air tells me to wait.... that I will be sitting at the back. Excuse me? WHAT! He starts going on about weight distribution... the smallest and lightest people need to be at the back. The one time I wish I was not a petite female. I was even more anxious now. He could tell... then explained to me how this was a great day to fly (with a huge smile on his face). Yeah, whatever!

I say again, I CANNOT believe I got in that!

I sat next to two other girls (small as well). I was on the right hand side. I explained the the girl next to me if I inadvertently grab your arm/hand, I apologize. They were both really nice and we talked the whole flight. The small planes are really so different. It was fairly smooth but when we did hit a little turbulence the plane dropped some and since I was in the back you felt the tail moving side to side.... like window washers...just constant. Ugh! But we made it and I lived and faced a fear. Go me!

The view - obviously Nick took this. I was too busy praying I made it safely to the ground!

The resort we stayed at was amazing. So beautiful and the staff were wonderful. They handled everything. We were welcomed with a rum punch when we arrived. Yum. And also were informed we received a complimentary upgrade... 2 bedroom villa. Not like we needed it but we took it!

It was around dinner time when we got there so we went on a search for dinner. They have all this cute and colorful restaurants along the water. We had been given some suggestions but figured we would just wander. We did have a specific goal in mind though. The Mavericks were playing and Nick wanted to find the game. We stumbled upon a place called Fido's. The menu looked good and they had a bar area with a television with the game on. Perfect! As we sit down and turn to our left we then see the HUGE projector screen broadcasting the game. Nick was in heaven. They had a band playing in the background and it was just a great laid back atmosphere. The food was heavenly too!

GO MAVS! (As we speak they are fighting for that title!)

The next day we spent by the pool the whole day. Yes, I did have the SPF 85 and 50 coated on us. I am in dermatology! We ordered lunch from the bar - Caliente. Mexican food, haha! You would think we would be tired of it by now but nope. It was sooo good. I had chicken quesadillas and Nick and shrimp tacos. It really was awesome. We ordered drinks and sat by the pool.

Later that night we went on a sunset cruise on a catamaran. It was about a 2 1/2 hour trip and it was lovely. The sunset was just gorgeous. We had some rum punch and snacks. We met some really nice people as well. One couple was from Chicago and on their honeymoon. We met a lot of honeymooners. A lot. After the cruise we ate dinner at Blue Water Grill. It's rated the best restaurant on the island... it wasn't our favorite. Not too impressed.

He's the best!

So pretty!

The next day started off with a morning snorkeling trip with Alfonso. Apparently he is a celebrity there. If you watch the Travel Channel, which I do - since I love to travel, he was on one of Samantha Brown's Central America shows. She filmed in Belize and had him take her on a snorkeling trip. He's also like a "fish whisperer" .... wherever he is the fish are.

The water was crystal clear.

We didn't have an underwater camera... stupid, I know. Next time we won't do that. But we saw a lot of amazing coral, fish, and some scarier things like an eel and barracudas. The eel looked nasty... like it just wanted to bite into you. I stayed far away. The second part of the trip was Shark Ray Alley. Yep, sharks and sting rays. And what did we do? We got in the water with them. When did we get in the water - shortly after Alfonso threw in food to the sharks. Yep. We were swimming with sharks while they were eating.

He kept saying the sharks and sting rays are very friendly. I kept thinking... "didn't Steve Irwin die from a sting ray - his tail stabbing him in the chest." Right. But carpe diem! It was really exciting. Alfonso would put the sting rays on his head. We did get to touch both the sharks and sting rays... which are slimy. Oh, and Nick held a shark. Yep, for like 10 minutes in his arms. CRAZY! I couldn't believe he did that. He was holding a nurse shark and it just stayed in his arms. Unbelievable! It was a great experience.

We went back after snorkeling and just relaxed by the pool the rest of the day. Later, we had a nice relaxing dinner and watched the Mavs game!

The next day was a long day but ohsovery fun! We woke up at the butt crack of dawn to catch the prop plane back to the main island. Yeah, can you believe it? I took it again! We had organized this day to be "activity" day. We were going to go visit the Maya ruins, Xunantunich, experience zip lining for the first time and finish the day with cave tubing. Lots to do!

The Mayan ruins were so amazing and beautiful. It was really hard to imagine we were standing where an ancient civilization once was. Xunantunich or "Stone Lady" dates back to the classic Mayan era between 200-900AD. We went to the top of the highest pyramid, "El Castillo" which was about 130 feet tall. We were able to see so much of Belize and were able to also see into Guatemala. The intricate detail in the hieroglyphics were unbelievable. They were such an intelligent civilization and way beyond their time.

It was so pretty up there but incredibly HOT!

Next was zip lining and cave tubing. Neither Nick or I had ever been zip lining. He has a fear of heights so it's not something that is always at the top of his list. We got to the spot, received our gear, had a small tutorial, and were on our way. It was great! I loved it. I wish it had been longer. You are going to so fast and are so high... we were in the jungle part of Belize and it was just beautiful! Next, cave tubing. It was considered "dry" season in Belize so the water level was pretty low. There was certain parts we had to stand up and move our tube through. But overall it was relaxing. The underground caves had been there for millions of years. There was one part that sparkled like diamonds... wish it really was diamonds. I would have gone over there and taken one!

Later that night we decided to stay in and order room service. Much deserved after a wonderful and exhausting day.

Our last day in Belize was simply relaxation. We stayed by the pool and read and took a nap. Just heaven. Later that night we had a nice dinner at another resort... one of our better meals. They had a musician playing out on the patio we were sitting at under the stars. It was really romantic. That's one thing Nick and I realized we really miss... stars. You just can't see them in the city. It's sad too - they are so beautiful!

Belize was a great vacation. Just what we needed! I am already planning our next one :)!

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