Thursday, April 16, 2009

Caribbean Cruise: Belize City

Unfortunately, our wonderful cruise flew by at light speed, whereas my blogging about it proceeds at a snail's pace. Would that the reverse were true! In self defense, I'll say that severe carpal tunnel syndrome and de Quervain's tendonitis have hampered just about everything I've done lately. Next Thursday, I'll undergo surgery to correct both problems. As for now, onward to Belize while the pain meds are working!

Belize City is beautiful, embraced by brilliant turquoise water that we've come to expect in the Caribbean (which may explain why the port of Santo Tomas was not so lovely, at least to my eyes).

A very short bus ride from the port city took us deep within Belize's tropical rain forests. Our destination was Altun Ha, the site of Mayan ruins. An easy walk to the ruins hinted at wonders to come:

Unlike those at Chachoban, near Costa Maya, Altun Ha's ruins have not been fully excavated. The result is awe-inspiring -- ruins covered by verdant green and hedged closely by untamed rain forest.

If not for all the other Indiana Jones wanna-be's climbing the ruins, I could easily imagine being the archeologist in charge of an exciting dig.

I really loved being in this sacred space. The photos can't convey its other-worldly beauty:

Can you see the face in the Mayan stone carving below?

Here it is:

After we left the ruins, we traveled by bus to a way-station on the Belize River

. . . where we enjoyed lunch while this fellow skillfully mowed the lawn with a machete:

After lunch, we boarded this boat for a trip down the river back to Belize City.

We marveled at the lush riverbank's mangrove trees and birds. . .

for only a few miles before we experienced a deluge of Biblical proportions! You must take my word that the rest of the river was equally beautiful. My camera made the rest of the trip encased in a plastic rain poncho! (My Nikon and Fuji digital cameras are both fine, despite being soaked in tropical downpours.)

Back at Belize City, we met Andrea and Patrick who were quite happy after imbibing a rum-filled coconut! They had the full Belize city experience, thanks to a friendly cab driver who showed them the sights all day for $20 U.S. and a beer ("I'll take you to a place where you can buy 3 beers for $5." Hmmm -- wonder who should drink the third beer?)

We all agreed -- We all want to see more of Belize. I think we will be back at some time in the future! Meanwhile, on to Cozumel and our last port of call!