Saturday, February 18, 2012

Great Vacation Week with the Family

At the Pelican
The week leading up to our family's visit and the visit itself was emotionally exhausting for me (in a good way), so I'm way behind in writing the blog! Here's a quick rundown of our vacation week. Those of you who regularly read our blog will recognize a lot of similarities to the activities we had when Steve's sisters visited.

Arrival! A boring picture for most people, but I really like it!
My son, Jeff, and his wife, Stephanie, and her mother, Susan, arrived late morning of Saturday the 4th. Steve and I took the bus from home to Belize and then to the airport to meet them.

We had a rental car for the whole week. That's like an extra vacation treat for Steve and me, because of the freedom it affords us. We learned that we ARE allowed to drive in Belize if we are on vacation, so we took advantage of that. It was fun to drive the roads we've been travelling on the bus, watching out for the myriad speed bumps (they call it the Highway Patrol) along the way.

Our first full day of vacation we lazed around Dangriga, taking the pretty walk north of town to the Pelican Resort. They have hammocks out on a pier where you can read, sip a drink, nap or just look at the sea. Beautiful.

Monday morning we hit the road bound for Succotz, the village closest to Xunantunich and El Castillo, a large Mayan ruin. Along the way we stopped at Marie Sharp's "pepper" plant. Her company produces hot sauces, jams and jellies, and a few other products. The people of Dangriga are very proud of her success. Heading north along the beautiful Hummingbird Highway, we enjoyed the orange groves and rain forest-covered mountains. On to Spanish Lookout, a Mennonite village that is different from anywhere else in Belize. It has large fenced pastures, huge barns and storage buildings, and American-style homes and shops. We stopped for a pizza slice and some ice cream.

Susan and Marie Sharp
The Sleeping Giant, seen along the Hummingbird Highway.
You can see his face in profile, and his body lying to the left.
Xunantunich was just as magnificent this time as when we went with Steve's sisters. Two differences this time - I did NOT go up to the top; the other four did. And we had extra time to go over to the see the howling monkeys, the ones living in the wild. That roar is truly frightening. Should be used for a monster sound in a horror movie!

Four crazy people at the top. I just couldn't bring myself to go back
up there again. Too many bad dreams after the last time I did it.

Another shot of El Castillo
Tuesday we headed to Placencia for a nice overnight stay. The Sea Spray Hotel was right on the beach, had good amenities for not much money. Most of us took a jog or power walk while we were there. Placencia is a great place to visit if you come to Belize - but it's not very Belizean there. Touristy. Tuesday night was time for Karaoke, with everyone getting in on the act except the official photographer, Steve.

We checked out Wednesday morning and headed to the Coxcomb Basin Wildlife Refuge, what a lot of people call the Jaguar Preserve. Everybody was gung-ho for a good hike. Boy, did we get what we asked for. Straight up and down to get to a double waterfall, and then retrace to get back. It was beautiful, and worth the work. At some point, I admitted that I needed some assistance and Steve made me a good walking stick. I have no trouble going up, but going down steep grades scares me. That stick gave me the extra balance I needed. The best part was swimming at the foot of the waterfall!

Cold as it was, everybody eventually got used to the water and felt
invigorated. Susan and Jeff kept talking about the water's magical
qualities. I thought they felt better because of all the negative ions
generated by the waterfall. Maybe it was magic.
Thursday everybody went snorkeling (and napping and reading) at Tobacco Caye. Sorry to say we don't have a single picture, because nobody wanted to risk taking their camera. Brought back SEVEN lobsters for Friday's dinner.

Friday was another easy day in Dangriga, just lazing around, shopping, reading, doing some fix-em-up projects at the house. And Friday night was lobster dinner with Miss Patsy and her sister, Bernice. Patsy always makes me feel so good when she comes to eat. She compliments my meal, says, "You can cook for me every Friday, Cathy." It's extra flattering since she is a professional cook!

Saturday was my birthday (62!!) and we had a great time at the Belize Zoo and dinner at the Pelican.

Well, I've left out a few things for sure (especially the absolutely miserable Wednesday night watching the Duke-Carolina basketball game), but I hit the high spots.

Although I do a fairly good job when I'm angry or indignant, I've never been good at expressing my sentimental feelings. It was tough for me to say goodbye on Sunday. I had already had several tearful moments in anticipation of their leaving, but I still had a lot of boo-hoos left. Great memories, though.

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