Friday, January 23, 2009

Attack of the Sand Flies!

They call them blackflies here but they aren't the same as at home. But they sure do bite! I had these little red marks all over my arms last night but I didn't think much of them. But this morning they have turned into itchy red welts!!!! They are driving me INSANE.....
It's too cold mosquitoes up here so I wasn't really looking out for bugs... I am sorry for it now though.
So we had a wonderful long sleep last night we went to bed at 8:30pm we were SO tired after all that hiking, the temperature dipped to about 10 degrees last night so we lit the fire and put lots of wood on and crawled under the comforters into bed. We work up around 6:30am this morning and came up to the main house for our last breakfast.
I keep getting teary moments about leaving and going home. I miss people and I my house but I don't actually want my normal boring routine life back.... I know it's silly but I keep crying it's just been the most incredible month ever.
okay I have to go back to the room now and pack all my things... a chore I have been trying to put off all morning... it's 8:50am, our transport shuttle to the airport leaves at 10:30am....

Add 10:15am

So we are just waiting to leave now...
and I was reliving all the wonderful foods I have tasted while here... some that I forgot to talk about!

*bananas in rum sauce SO yummy..... was I think my favourite dessert we had this at Trek Stop.
*coconut icecream was also very good. Ben liked the soursop icecream.
*Lobster I can't stop thinking about how good all the fish was. snapper was good and I loved the fish burgers!
*we tried Guatemalan Fried Chicken, I already forget the chain name but it's a huge chain in central America and they opened some in the USA now too... they like their fried chicken!
*Ceviche! SO good here.... I LOVE and Ben LOVES ceviche! we will miss it dearly when we go home.

Trevor called me the resident foodie in the group. Since I know and got really excited about food!
Ashely thought it was really cool how excited and how much I expressed my love of she was the veggie in the group but loved how I talked about food and at least appreciated eating meat etc.... Yes so I am the "foodie"

we hadn't heard that many good things about food in Belize we thought it would be mostly bland and plain... I am happy that we were SO wrong!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Last Day of Vacation

So as the afternoon draws to a close after a very long day I am a bit sad. Going home with be a tough adjustment. This has truly been the trip of a lifetime, nothing I have ever done compares to this.

Today Ben & I woke up had Breakfast at 7am and left at 8am for our visit to 1000 ft falls. (which is actually 1600 ft tall since the British Army did a repelling exercise a couple years ago and measured it) It's the tallest in Central America. Our car & guide waited for us while we viewed the falls to take us to on actual drop off point for the days hike ahead.

Our drop off point was the beginning of the Cascade Trail and we hiked along the trail for most of the morning I would say, there are many foot bridges, ladders and zig zags across a stream with many mini waterfalls and pools where you can go for a swim. It was very beautiful and I really enjoyed that part of the hiking the most because it was visually so interesting and like a series of monkey bars and jungle gyms to play on!
There is a cold front here so it was a bit cool for swimming but we did have our swim suits just in case the mood struck us.

Then we hiked along the road for a while and hopped on the Lizard Trail which took us to the trail to the Secret Falls & Hidden Pools where we hiked along for 45 mins about before we climbed down into a steep valley to find a private paradise just for us! It was truly a secret waterfall and hidden pool!
There was a little covered dining area & hammocks where we ate our packed lunch and had a little relax. It was so special and lovely.
We set up the camera and the automatic timer and posed in front of the falls & pool so we could have a photo as couple to look back on and remember.

Then we continued on to our next trail Butterfly Falls. It was quite the hike in but the falls were SPECTACULAR! Then we hiked up to High Point where we had a wonderful view of the whole area of Mountain Pine Ridge. It was quite the view! I hadn't realized how high we had climbed.

We also saw thousands and thousands of leaf cutter ants. Ben and I never got tired of finding the ant highways and trying to find out which tree the ants were using and then follow their highways and find the home base! We must have taken SO many photos of leaf cutter ants, we seriously never got bored of them.

We also tried not to step on them, but on the Butterfly Trail we were nearly falling off the trail because the ants were using the trail and the bridge as their own personal highway! They are very cool insects.

It's really interesting because at one level (the highest) the whole area is a true forest of pine! And then if you go down into the valleys it's broad leaf jungle forest again! All day long we went back & forth between the 2 distinct forest types. There is a very clear line which divide each one which is very interesting.

Anyways at High Point I bailed on the hiking at 3pm I called and got pick up. I was tired and my leg (which a pulled a muscle in yesterday climbing the temples at Caracol was giving me problems & pain) so Ben took the radio and continued onward to Devil's Falls on his own and then he is going to walk back to the Inn. If dark falls before he gets back to the Inn he will radio for a pickup.

On the drive back I saw a Jumping Pine Viper snake. (I think that's the name) He was sunning himself in the sun after just eating, he was very fat! and he was very poisonous. The driver/guide pulled over and let me get out of the van to take a closer look, but still a good distance away! I didn't get a photo because Ben had the camera though.

Because the Inn owns 7200 acres of property and there are over 90 miles of trail systems when you leave on a hike they give you a 2 way radio in case of any problems and also so you can get someone to come and pickup you up between trails or take you back to the Inn etc. It's a very good idea I think and came in handy.

When I got back to the Inn I went in the Hot Tub! then went and had a shower came up to the main house and I am having a coffee and updating the blog. It's about 5:10pm now. I expect Ben back around 6:30pm or so. I am going to be hungry I worked up a appetite today! Oh wow! Ben is back and it's only 5:15! He has gone back to the room now to shower and change since he is gross & sweaty! lol...

Well I guess this is almost the end.

Tomorrow we fly out at 3:25pm from Belize International Airport and we arrive in Toronto around 11:30pm or something like that it's going to be a long COLD day of travel.

This has been the best vacation ever! the only thing that would have made it better I think is if Mike, Pauline, Nathan & Katey, Mom, Dad and Jeanetter could have come with us I think it would have been really cool to have done a big family vacation and broken up into groups depending on what activies you wanted to do etc.... Maybe sometime in the future we can do something like that.

We are SO coming back to Belize again!

Okay that's it for now.....

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Caracol and more!

Last night the sky was black and the stars were shinning more brightly than I can remember for a long time, it was amazing and quiet!
We went from the cheapest yummiest meal where I was smashing my lobster open with beer bottles to the most expensive meal of our whole trip where they move silverware around for you in 24 hours... quite the change!


Is totally different than Tikal but equally as amazing and stunning. We were one of four groups the entire day! So we had the WHOLE place to ourselves which was SO nice and incredible.... There wasn't more than 16 people total in the WHOLE site.

Our guides picked up in a big red Jeep much more appropriate than the little car we drove up in yesterday for these roads....

It was about a 30 min drive to the check point which is the Ranger station to wait for the rest of the cars to arrive to begin the convoy.
While we waited we had a pee stop and I played with new baby puppies only a couple weeks old! SO CUTE!

Then at 9:30 we started the convoy in to Caracol with our soldiers.
Tikal is only 14 miles away from Caraol and less than that to the Guatemalan boarder.
Caracol & Tikal were at war were each other frequently ...... with such a space between them I can see how and why!

On the drive in to Caracol which is 22 miles from the ranger station we saw a group of 6 Scarlet Macaws! WILD ONES! They were stunning. Dad would have flipped out I am sure!

We also saw 3 toucans and a bunch of other birds. Our guides knew LOTS about birds, it's his favourite hobby.
We also saw a toucan that had been attacked by a hawk but was being taken care of and was going to be fine in a couple days to be released. When we saw him he was laying in a box with a towel, he was very beautiful. They were feeding him bananas and papayas. lucky bird!

We were allowed to climb everything and go EVERYWHERE in Caracol. It was very cool. We even went right inside the burial chambers and tombs!

Everything there is so intact compared to any other site I have viewed. It was stunning, totally stunning. Mom and Dad would be SO amazed you would love it, totally love it. And love that there is NO other people!!!!

After Caracol, we stopped at the Frio Cave which is a very large cave but very short you can see each opening from the 2 entrances & exits.

Then we stopped at the Rio On Pools on nice days you can stop and swim there, but the sun had gone away and it was cloudy and cool. But it was nice to stop for a photo. Ben says he could have spent all day taking photos there. It was very pretty.

Then our guide took us to Big Rock Waterfall. Quite the STEEP hike down, a short walk, but very difficult! There was one other group there of like 12 people and Ben went swimming in the pools at the bottom of the waterfall.
He said the water was pretty cold but he stayed in a while and played. I wasn't feeling that great the bumpy roads had made me a little car sick so I was a bit dizzy and didn't go in, plus likely too cold for me anyways. On the way back I sat in the front of the jeep which was better.

Our guides dropped us at 5:30pm and we came back and showered and Ben is having a beer in the bar with his computer and I am having a glass of wine typing.
Dinner is at 7pm... 20 mins which is good because I am STARVING!

After dinner we are going to take a bottle of wine back to our room, lite the fire and play some cribbage!

Hidden Vally Inn is the nicest place we have ever stayed as a couple. We discussed it last night.... by far the nicest and most exspensive. It's totally awesome here and really romantic.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hidden Valley Inn on the Mountain Pine Ridge...

We began our travels today at 10am and arrived here at the resort at 4:30pm it was a LONG day, made a little tough by me not feeling 100%, I was kinda very out of it during the travels, but at least it was on a travel day and not an activity day! (that would have been much much worse)

So we got to San Ignacio and hired a taxi to drive us to the resort, which is on a dirt road the WHOLE 1 hour was on a DIRT road, and seriously dude's car took a major beating! I few times I thought the car was just going to breakdown.

Even though the taxi driver had taken some air out of the tires I was still very sure that we blew a tire a few times and was shocked when we didn't. I was happy though that the driver checked the spare first before we headed out of town.

Finally after a very bumpy, dusty 1 hour drive we make it to the most beautiful place I have ever laid eyes on! It's a gorgeous resort with great decor, fireplaces in the bar, dining room, lounge, reception, living room etc... and they are all lit this evening and I am sitting here on the computer drinking a glass of red wine. Ben is on his computer, and I am doing my thing on here, listening to soft music and the sound of fire crackling in the background. It's picture perfect!

I had forgotten how much I missed having really hot water! When we checked in the first thing I did was have a hot shower and crawl into the comfy bathrobe and read the literature on what there is do here with Ben.

We have booked Caracol for tomorrow. We leave at 8am to hook up with the convoy that leaves at 9:15am. The convoy has an armed guard escort to prevent robberies and holdups that were happening along the road by Guatemalans who were sneaking across the border to terrorize tourists heading to Caracol (which is a Belizan Mayan Site) Anyways now everyone goes together once a day and leaves once a day in this convoy with the army escort and there hasn't been any problems since they began doing it this way.

I am very excited for Caracol tomorrow! I should be feeling better tomorrow too, so I am not too worried about that.. and when we get back from Caracol I have set my mind on swimming in the pool and heated Jacuzzi they have here!

I love this place I could live here forever! Okay now I'm going to go and check out dinner!

Last Thoughts on Caye Caulker

So today we left Caye Caulker we took the 10:00am Water Taxi to Belize city, then took public bus to San Ignancio where we got a taxi to Hidden Valley Inn... but more on that later....
Now some thoughts from my final day on the Caye that I thought up while in transit today...

I will never again be able to eat pineapple anywhere else after here because it's so fresh & sweet!

I LOVE coconut milkshakes and could drink them every day.

I also LOVE bbq'ed lobster and the price!
I had a whole lobster w/ garlic mashed potatoes, rice & beans, rum punch and a strawberry cheesecake for dessert last night all for the price of $25.00 Belizian! Which is $12.50 USD.

I also LOVE the fresh squeezed orange juice, for 1 litre it's $5.00 Belzian or $2.50 USD I am forever spoiled now by the fresh orange juice I was buying here every morning!

So we went to The Spilt and lay around yesterday morning and I went in for a short swim and snorkel.
Ben also snorkeled for a bit, it was nice and calm, good for him to swim around and not get overwhelmed by the salt, currents & waves.

By about noon I wasn't feeling so well, my old friend endo decided to give me a very difficult day... so I had to go back to room, take some drugs and lay down. by dinner I was feeling a little better thus my WONDERFUL dinner as descibed above.

Trevor joined us for dinner (since the group is done now he has a week off before his next gap tour) Trevor said he would hook up with contacts for the next time we want to come down here and visit. I said it would be a while a few years, but even so he said no problem.
I think we will very likely do at least 2 weeks in Nicaragua (with Trevor's help we have become VERY interested!!! and Honduras (Copan in particular for another week) and maybe like 5 days of Belize to hit up the spots we missed for our next vacation.

Sunday and yesterday were both sunny although Sunday was cool with lots of wind.. but Monday was HOT and so was today....

Last night was early to bed, so we could get up and pack this morning and leave for Mountain Pine Ridge.
As the water taxi pulled away we left our sunny warm island for more jungle on the mainland!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Caye Caulker

Friday night we went out and partied for Sara's b-day, it was good times. Sat was spent recovering from Friday but it was rainy again anyways.... The sun peaked out for a bit though, and finally there was a nice sunset and we fely postive leading into Sunday and our all day snorkel, sailingtrip.

The snorkel trip was good, saw lots of fish, sea turtles (which was cool) lots of sting rays and one shark. the groups befor us,scared away th sharks apparently so that was disappointing.
ben did better snorkelling than 5 years ago, but still only went on 1 of the 3 stops. I got good photos of the marine life though, but all day on teh boat took it's toll on me and I was a bit seasick, not like actually but I was feeling great, and it lasted into the evening and affected me being able to enjoy dinner. 2 half days trips would have been better. I skipped having any of the rum punch because i was feeling poorly. Ben did too.

ps I hate this keybaord the keys are sticky and it's taking forever to type b/c the space bar hardly works....

I already miss all of our new friends..... everyone went home today :( okay I gotta go meet Ben for dinner, I am very hungry, last night on the Island!

oh ya the otto here is GO SLOW! that goes for service in the restaurants too, so you have to get there before you are already hungry to eat!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Rainy Day Friday....

Okay another day of rain... yesterday all rain, today all rain... although a few moments ago a patch of blue sky appeared! We are all praying for sun tomorrow!

Today we girls went shopping and got pedicures or manicures, it is Sarah's birthday so the girls spent the day together. I got a pedicure, and I picked a bright coral colour polish and the girl did a flower pattern design on my big toe. I have happy feet!

And I bought a cute dress for tonight! With all the rain and wind there isn't much to do besides shop and get pretty and do internet... Ben is drinking at sports bar owned by Canadians he is enjoying cheap beer! I knew better than to drag him shopping!

Sarah is getting a massage currently and I decided to buy internet time (which is not chea)before returning to the hotel to get all dressed up going out tonight to celebrate Sarah's birthday! we are going to dinner as a group and then dancing and we ordered her a birthday cake (a surprise!) I am going to wear my new dress.

So yesterday when we got to the island we had a small late lunch I had a lobster wrap SO good. For dinner I had grilled lobster with garlic butter sauce! And this morning for brunch I had a lobster omelet! Lobster is very cheap here so I am filling up :)

I was a little sad to not have any email.... or comments on the blog today :( where is everyone?

Tomorrow Ben and I would like to rent Kayaks and go around the island.. and hopefully go swimming at the spilt (which is where they tried to make a nice beach and a hurricaine washed it awaye and divided the island into 2 parts... now called the spilt. But is still the best swimming to do on the island. And apparently to find sea shells....
Katey I have my snorkel and I am ready to go and find a pretty shell to bring home for the baby so hopefully it's nice and warm and sunny tomorrow so I can go swimming/shell searching at the spilt.

Sunday is our big sailing trip and snorkel day with 3 stops - one being in Sting Ray/Shark Alley (nurse sharks) where we swim with them. Lunch is included and on the way home, RUM PUNCH too! Hopefully we have sun for the trip I think being on a sail boat will be totally awesome! And it's the last day we will be all together since everyone leaves on Monday.

Ben and I staying here on the island on Monday and leaving on Tuesday for Mountain Pine Ridge, where we are staying for 3 nights at the Hidden Valley Inn. Which is a posh place to stay with fireplaces in the all the suites and you can book a private waterfall and champange lunch for the day! Ben says we have been good on budget, and after all this rain we deserve a little treat. We have done well staying in pretty cheap places without hot water etc.... and last night we had ants coming out of our sink, a WHOLE colony of ants and I was totally freaked out, it was gross but it was fixed.... we think.... I half expect the ants to be back tonight....
So staying at the hidden valley inn will be really great. I am looking forward to it, also while we are there we are going to visit Caracol another Mayan site which was a rival city to Tikal.

Okay my 30 mins is coming to an end!!! is there any news or gossip going on ??? I would love to know how people are doing....

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thursday Travel Day

It's cloudy and drizzling, but not too bad.... I hear the islands are just partly cloudy and it should be clearing up soon! Let's hope so!
I can already taste Lobster I am thinking about it so much!!!!!
more later... must catch the bus now to Belize City to then catch the water taxi to the Caye Caulkner.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

crystal cave

i am a wicked caver! i hiked 4 km up a mountain to the entrance of the the crystal cave. we descended 300 ft into the cave to the bottom and then climbed up back to the top 300 ft and hiked back the 4km to the parking lot.

I forgot to say last night that the hike was through the rainforest it was steamy and warm, like a steam bath! Inside the cave was VERY humid, sweat poured off us the whole time but my skin looks fantastic! The rainforest was very beauitful, stunningly so!

i am so incredibly proud of myself. the cave was harder than the atm cave but awesome! the formations were incredible and our guide rudy was amazing. i have never done anything like this before and rudy really added to our experience with his stories of the mayan people and his personal stories of exploring these caving systems.
it was sarah, (whose last name is haynes mom) marcie & tim from colardo and ben and me again, the fab 5.

ben is also having lots of fun too and loved the caving too. lots of small spaces and places i couldn't imagine going on my own. ben has been taking lots of photos.

yesterday i was a little down and homesick but today i am much better and feeling good. i am happy to be missing the cold snap and snow back home.

tomorrow we head to the coast and the islands, here i come beach!
although we have a long day of travel tomorrow.
today is day 18 of my vacation and i am so excited to finally be going to the beach and eat lobster! trevor says the restaurant called the happy lobster you have lobster and eggs for breakfast! i am very excited about that meal!
okay goodnight!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

camping in the rain in belize

the rain starting on day 1 of the canoe/camping trip and hasn't stopped, sometimes it slows to a drizzle but then it will pour heavy again. everything was wet, we were wet and a bit cool....
but thankful the support staff did all the hard work and cooking. the guys were awesome. but i am glad the camping part is over.
now i hope this cold front leaves so we will have sunshine for the beach days on friday.

i am using bens tablet computer, so no keyboard, slow to write. we are using the hotel wireless, but i am really not a fan of the place we are staying, partly because of my mood likely and the rain.
i am too tired and cold to type really too much about it tonight. i think i am a bit homesick today. the weather made most people cranky and we got annoyed with each other easily i think.

tomorrow we are getting up and doing the crystal cave since it's the only tour here not affected by the rain. -lots of climbing and cool mayan cultural things, but it's a dry cave no water like the atm. i should have lots to say about it tomorrow.
ATM is closed to tours due to the high water levels right now so i am glad we did it when we had the chance.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

San Ignacio, Belize

So yesterday we got into San Ignancio around noon, checked into our hotel.
Our whoel group decided to do the cave tubing adventure. We did it 5 years ago when we were here, and just decided to go again, we didn't have too, we could have done something else, or done nothing, but we just decided to go along with it. It was still fun, and we enjoyed it, but it was the same caves we had done before. We went to bed early and rested up for the big adventure we did today.

Today we did ATM which is the Actun Tunichil Mukal caves. You hike 45 mins over land and cross 3 small rivers before you reach the entrance of the cave. Then you get headlamps and helmets and swim across of deep pool of water about 15ft across where you climb up onto the rock bank inside the cave.
From there is a full hour of wading in water from a couple inches in depth all the water to chest deep and scrambling rocks and making your way through all the twists and turns. There are some very small spaces! and it's a good thing I had a helmet because otherwise I would have brained myself a few times.
The way in was SO much fun, but really a challenge, and not at all a walk in the park. I was quite impressed with myself for being as good as I was as finding my footing, and places for my fingers to grip into the rocks walls as a crawled, and wound myself through the caves and the waters.
inside the cave once you reach about 1 mile inside is the burial ground for where the Mayan people tortured and people as sacrifices to their gods.
They were downright nasty, pulling peoples jaw apart, ripping out their ribs cages, and spinal cords and while the people were still alive and leaving them for die a slow, painful death. So far there are 14 different persons who have been discovered in the cave, although they suspect there are many more. The cool thing none of it is roped off, the whole cave is a living museum. you just walk around exactly as it was found! clay pots, artifacts and bones.
The coolest of all was a complete skeleton in the back of the chamber, they call her the crystal princess, because they know she was from a very royal mayan family they think she was about 18 when she died. We got lots of great photos and then spent another hour hiking back out of the caves going back the same way we came through.
Only about 50 people a day get to go into the caves, and there is much talk about them becoming closed to the general public soon. So I am VERY glad to have gone to see them. It was a life changing experience seriously. Ben and I had such a good time.
Only us, Sarah and the other couple our age from Colorado went of this tour, the rest of our group stayed behind and did other tours or had a lazy day.

Tomorrow is the first day of camping on the Belize River. We spend 3 days, and 2 nights camping and then back for 2 night in San Ignacio again ( we are thinking of doing the more difficult caving tour which includes some repelling!) Then from then on to the ocean and the beach for 4 days of relaxation and fun!

Okay so hopefully the hotel we stay in on the way back from camping has Internet, since we are staying at a different place than where we are tonight or last night.

Guatamalans are CRAZY!

So the title of this post is Guatemalans are crazy. Why are they crazy??? Because they are obsessed with fireworks. Trust me they light firecrackers morning, noon and night! I can not explain it enough to really give a complete description but I wil try!
I was REALLY angry the last day in Flores because they fire crackers continued until pretty maybe about 11pm or midnight. And there was a band playing in the square and lots going on in by the church. So I had trouble blocking out the noise to fall asleep. But at least I knew I didn't have to be awake until 7 30 the next morning to get ready and leave at 9am for Belize.

What I didn't know is that at 4am firecrackers would be going on continuously every 10 mins for the next 3 hours! yes every 10 mins from 4am to 7am a series if really loud firecrackers went off AND a man banging a big band drum the kind marching bands use that are wore on the chest and tha man was walking around the town going boom boom boom bbbbrrrrrrrrrroooommm (that was my version of a drumroll) and repeat...

I thought I was going to commit murder and they it got worse at 6am a full mariachi band began to play! and people were dancing and dressed up in costumes! Then they stopped in FRONT of our hotel and did the performance and lit of MORE fire crackers in FRONT of the hotel they were going off at my eye level in our 3rd floor street facing room. How do I know it was eye level??? Because I was WIDE awake and really grumpy, Ben could nothing but laugh apparently my fit of anger was funny to view.

Finally at 7am I had had it and I went and showered and got dressed for breakfast. So yesterday was a little rough for me having been up from 4am onward.

Trevor says they do it all the time. If they have a new baby, they lite firecrackers, if they get married they lite them, if someone dies, they have them, if someone's wife cheats on them they lite fireworks, Trevor says it's how you know they are Guatemalan.
But Ben, myself and the rest of the group have just decided that they are crazy!

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Tikal was AMAZING!

ps. my foot is fine. overnight it completly got better and no sign of anything today. I think I just stabbed it on a rock or dull glass yesterday.

Anyways it was very good day, I climbed 4 temples yes 4 temples, one was the HIGHEST temple called Temple 4 at 210 ft high. It was quite the climb and the first climb of th day, but totally worth as dawn broke over the jungle and a mist covered the tree tops and then peeking out of the jungle & mist were some of the tips of the highest temples of Tikal. The sun burned off the mist pretty quickly in the morning so I am SO glad we endured the 4am wakeup to leave by 5 to get to the park at 6am when it opened totally worth it.

Only 25% of Tikal has been excavated thus far, there are over 300o buildings as part of Tikal. They have unearthed 6 temples but they know and named a large mound of dirt, trees and brushes, Temple 7. It seems every year they find something new and add another piece to the puzzle of how the people lived and who ruled etc.... Currently they are still even excavating Temple 4 which we climbed. Only the top as been excavated so far. The bottom is still covered under the jungle. They have built wooden steps in order to get to the top of temple 4.

The 2nd climb was a lesser temple in the lost world complex of buildings, I got to climb the actual stone steps on that one.

The 3rd climb was the one that almost did me in! The wooden stais are not stairs at all but a ladder type of deal. and VERY steep, I mean REALLY steep. I got half way and was beginning to shake and sweat and was really thinking at the next platform I should just head back down because I couldn{t do the height. But then I decided that the view was likely worth it and pressed on! My heart was racing and when I got to the top I was dizzy and shaking from the adeneline and fear! I had to sit down and breath for a few minutes before I could walk along the top and rest take in the view.
The view was INCREDIBLE, and a couple of us fromthe group sat down with our feet over the edge (I took a photo of my feet actually and Bens too) it was very worth it and I am SO proud of myself for doing it. It was so scary and I had vertigo a couple times....
Going down was no easier! It was a slow decent, I walked down like climbing down a ladder, most people did it that way.

The last big climb was Temple 2. Which is one of the twin temples that face each other. 2 people have fallen to their deaths at Temple 2 so now you climb wooden stairs at the side to reach the top and not the stone steps. Temple 1 which faces it directly is closed to the public to walk on, so it can be perseved in good condition. Its really beautiful and nice to take some photos without little dots of people covering the temple steps etc.... and ruining the shot!

We were allowed to walk all over most of the ruins which was pretty cool, I doubt it will be that way forever. And going to Tikal in the morning was really good because there werent too many groups of people there yet by noon we were done and heading back to the bus, I am also glad we did it in the morning because it was nice and cool compared to the afternoon sun!

We got lots of great shots of Tikal and I really enjoyed myself it was very very cool.
Tomorrow is back to Belize and San Ignacio for 2 nights and then camping for 2 nights after that!

ps we are going camping on the Belize River, the same river we did the night croc tour in and saw all those HUGE crocs at the beginning of Belize!!!!

Oh the marching band is going by again too.... ok ben is ready to go.. he was ready 10 mins ago so I am signing off ! Tikal was SO amazing... beyond words really....

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Flores, Guatamala

So we are in Flores yesterday, today and tomorrow and then on Friday am back to San Ignacio in Belize. Tikal was not today it´s tomorrow... I am a dolt and can´t read the itinerary.....

Anyways .... so I am buying cheap time at an internet cafe around the corner from our hotel it´s a buck an hour... American. Not bad! and thankfully the keyboard is english with just a few different keys for their accents etc.... so not too hard to type.

Today was a water taxi to San Jose, had a spanish lesson (could have used that last week!) and swimming and relaxing and exploring Flores.
Tomorrow is Tikal and the 5am wakeup!
I stepped on something in the grass while swimming and hurt the bottom of my foot right on the sole of the feet near my toes.... it´s killing me to put pressure on it... I hope it´s better for tomorrow and all the walking around Tikal we will have. I thought it was a rock or glass... but I am not sure. There is no pucture mark that I or Ben can see, I just am worried that it won´t be better for tomorrow which would totally suck.

Flores is a tiny teeny island in Guatamala in a fresh water lake called Peten. It´s really beautiful. I am really excited for tomorrow & seeing Tikal.
Ben is more excited to see Caracol (which is in Belize and at the end of our trip) than Tikal but I am the opposite. Caracol and Tikal were warring most of the time with each other and Caracol is actually larger than Tikal, but not totally escavated yet.

Trevor our guide is GREAT! I really like him. The group is also really good. No wet blankets or annoying people to spoil things so that´s excellent! we have 2 nurses in the group. So I may have one of them look at my foot if it´s still bothering me tomorrow..
I am worried I was bitten as opossed to just stepping on something sharp..... it´s a bit swollen and painful, but I don´t know if that is just from walking on it ..... hmmm can´t find the question mark on the keyboard here....

Tonight I am going to try the White Fish dinner here, it´s a local fish from this lake and apparently really amazing... so I guess we´ll see! I loved fried bananas and icecream with honey last night! SO yummy....
speaking of food I am suppossed to meet Ben for dinner at a restaurant about 50 steps away from the internet cafe about now... so I guess I should get going! also my stomach is growling.

Tomorrow wil be a long day at Tikal. if I feel up to it I may post tomorrow since internet is so cheap and close to the hotel.

okay dinner time it is for me! just as soon as the marching parade-band goes by... for some reason they have a marching band and parade here everyday just before sunset. and firecrackers which are really just noise markers... yesterday was the 12th day of Christmas so the day about the wise men or something but apparently Trevor says they do it ALL the time for any reason.... okay the band has passed so I can leave now!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Gap Trip Night

Had my first pina colada of the trip! Finally feels like a vacation.... It was SO yummy. It was at a seaside open air restaurant this afternoon while we chilled out and relaxed in the city and I had a GREAT fried fish burger for lunch which really hit the spot!

Met our trip guide Trevor - seems cool and lots of experience. There are 11 people on the trip 3 single girls and the rest are couples. 12 of us total if you include Trevor. One couple is retired/older. The others are married younger like us. It looks like a good group. 2 of the girls went on the Kayak, island hopping tour here in Belize last week.

We met a single girl from Calgary in our group who is actually from Henderson PS in Kingston although she is 5 years older than me, she went to Frontenac HS. SMALL world!!!! Sarah is super cool, and has been on 3 gap tours before this to Ecuador, Peru & some others in South America. She seems to have traveled alot, since she has also been to the Greek Islands and Australia. We talked with her for a while. I think she will fun to hang out with, she likes to snorkel so maybe I have found a snorkel buddy!!!! (since Ben isn't really good or into it) She also camps and hikes a lot so Ben likes her too.. lots of common interests and things to talk about.

We leave tomorrow at 7:45 we have a 6 hour bus trip tomorrow ahead of us until we reach our hotel in Flores, Guatalmala from here in Belize City.

Wednesday is Tikal! we will be leaving at 5am from the hotel for Tikal we were told tonight ugg.... but you can see more wildlife and it's cooler temperatures to walk around so I understand the benefit.

Katey & Nate - Glad you are enjoying the blog... K bought you something I saw and it just screamed out to me that it was very you!! I can't wait to see you when we get back :)

Kris- I am also glad to have missed the freezing rain... I don't envy you. omg it's SO hot heat.... I have been eaten alive by mosquitoes though.... I am very itchy.

Mom K- Can't ever get enough of animals especially baby ones!!!!

Jenny- New Years was spent in El Rosario with the German couple and a lovely bottle of Chilean Red Wine in the cabin on the mountain... so peaceful and wonderful, it feels almost like camping in Ontario in the summertime. Although we fell asleep before midnight but that's okay :)

Okay it's 10:30pm I must go to bed !

I held a baby crocodile and touched a baby money!

Our flights and transfers all went smoothly... from Honduras to Belize via...El Savador.
We got to Belize early Saturday morning and then off to the sanctuary. We stayed with an lady in her home, she cooked for us it was basic, but very cheap and she was a good cook! We tried lots of traditional Creole food. Not American Creole, but Caribbean Creole. They don't like to be confused! It was relaxed and we used the weekend to just unwind and decompress.

The monkey sanctuary was pretty good. We went on a guided tour and fed black howler monkeys they are very endangered. One had a new baby only 6 weeks old! I held out my hand and the baby reached out and grabbed my fingers! it was SO cute... they monkey's are totally wild but the one troop is pretty used to people. We just fed them Coca leaves nothing they can't get themselves in the wild. They makes the loudest howler noises ever and sound like monsters in the jungle at sunset and dawn.... you would never guess that noise if from such a little monkey!

At night we went on a night croc tour in a canoe in the Belize river. It was pretty cool, lots of BIG crocs and one baby one that our guide caught for us and we held in the boat... so cool! I loved the baby croc and his cute little noises. both times it was just Ben & I and the guide so it was a nice private tour and we had lots of time with the animals.

Today we are in Belize city at our hotel, tonight at 6:30 we meet up with the rest of our gap tour group and go for dinner.
They like Canadian tourists here in Belize alot because we built their sewer system for them and I guess gave it to them basically for free. And we built some bridge for them too here in the city.

Oh ya it's VERY hot here!!! Honduras was much cooler cause we were in the mountains, but Belize we are dying of humidity and heat!

Tomorrow we go to Tikal & Flores in Guatamala Tues,Wed & Thurs. Friday we are in San Ingacio. Don't think I will get to a computer/internet connection until Friday... If I am lucky....

There is only one computer here at this hotel, so I am buying time for the first time of the trip so that's pretty good...It's quiet so far seems to be in between checkout & checkin times... but when the rest of the group arrives I am sure internet usage will be harder to get and I don't know what the computer facilites will be like at the rest of our hotels with Gap.

Friday, January 2, 2009

how ben almost died and other stuff.......

omg there are mosquitoes here! they attacked us at dinner. in the mountains it was 18-20 in the day and about 12-15 at night and there were no bugs. hiking was wonderful with no bugs. but down here in the city near the coast they are here......just when i was thinking how lucky we were to have no bugs.

a funny story i forgot to talk about before was the one when i almost became a young widow.

ben and i were hiking in la tigra and we saw a beautiful butterfly, i was anxious to try and photograph it. and ben and i followed it down the trail a bit, it landed and i hurried to catch kinda running over top of ben who lost his footing and one foot slipped off the cliff ! yep he nearly went down about a 75 ft drop down the mountain. he was not that pleased with me and accused me of trying to kill him. he says i pushed him but i deny that i did.... he was okay though and i couldn't help laughing about it and the shocked look on his face right after when it happened. with the commotion i lost sight of the butterfly and did not get a photo.

we both laugh now.....

so i hope the hotel in belize city has an internet connection on monday night and hopefully i can post then.

san pedro sula

we are in an americanized hotel near the san pedro sula airport tonight. the internet is very slow so i can not post photos. excuse the typos too please i must hurry and have much to write.........

didn't get to copan no travel on jan 1 being the holiday.... so stayed longer in el rosario and enjoyed the park la tigra. when we come back to honduras in the future we will visit then.

valle de angeles
so on tuesday we took a chicken bus to valle de angeles the artist village and stayed there overnight. it was fun, a very cute place, lots of shopping! we bought an oil on canvas painting they took it off the frame and rolled it up for us.
we had some amazing food. pinchos are kabobs we had a combo pincho of sauage and shrimp with veggies, rice, beans and tortias. we also had a mixes seafood ceviche which was amazing that day for lunch!
dinner was plato typical since lunch was so big, and some wine and beer and took in the night. there was a reglisious festival that night in the village square across from where we were eating dinner. it had a full drum set and guitars and amps and people in costumes, with flags and tamborines singing. we called it full on jesus rock. very interesting to watch......

El Rosario and la tigra
the next day we caught yet another chicken bus to san juancito, which really means they drop you at the road to san juancito and you walk to the town which is 2km.

let me explain chicken buses
the chicken bus was so full words can not describe it. people were crammed to the ceiling and hanging out the windows and doors of the converted school bus now public transportation affectionatly called chicken buses! we were not going to get on because it looked so full, but the bus money man waved us on and put our packs in the under the bus compartments. we were standing on the last step of the bus near the doors and the money guys were hanging out the doors with one foot inside the bus! seriously as the bus puffed black smoke and twisted and turned up and down the mountains we surely thought we would fall out and die.
at one point i starting laughing it was so commerical.

okay so back to our 2 km trek to san juancito.... then find out it's another 2kms straight up the mountain to the park and our accomdations.
thru research we discovered that there was a b&b we could try and see if they had room.... lucky for us they did.
we made it half wat to el rosario which is 1/4 up the mountain after our 2km trek from the road before we came across a another canadian girl who works in honduras and was going to the park for the day. she brokered a ride in pickup truck with some men who were going up for herself and us the rest of the way up the mountain for 300 lempira. highway robbery but i would have paid anything by this point.
2 times the truck couldn't go forward on the steep mountain and we had to get out and push the truck to get it going again and then run after the truck and jump in.
yes go ahead laugh i nearly died........but it is funny thinking back.

finally we make it to the top to CabaƱa Mirador El Rosario, it's a b&b owned by a german couple who speak english! so we did not have to stay at the visitor center thankgod. they fed us dinner and breakfast for the 2 nights we were there. the park was amazing and very beautiful.

this morning we packed our bags and they drove us back to the main highway to catch the chicken bus back to the city where we got a coach bus to san pedro sula 4 hours.... and we are here.
tomorrow we fly out at 7am to belize city.
plan is to visit the a monkey sanctuary 45 mins from belize city..... and stay there sat and sunday night then hook up with the gap tour monday in belize city and start our 2 weeks with them.

whew okay that's it!