Our First Day in Belize
Central America trip - The Conways Travel to Belize
We were greeted by Vicki Snadden and her husband Ray, owners of Pook's Hill. I liked them immediately. Vicki showed us around the grounds while Mike brought our bags to our cabana. (Aaron and I were able to pack in just two backpack -- this included our snorkeling gear for the Cayes and our camera gear. I highly recommend you pack light; it makes for very efficient and easy travel.) We visited the iguana rescue project on the grounds, and cooled off with a drink at the lounge and watched humming birds breeze by. With some time before dinner, we walked the nearby paths into the surrounding jungle and tried our luck at a little bird watching. I even had time for a well-desired nap while Aaron photographed the grounds.
That evening we had dinner with Vicki and Ray and other guests of the lodge. Being a vegetarian, I am always prepared to live on bread and butter, but Pook's did an excellent job offering dishes for all diners. The food was great and served home-style. It made for easy conversation and a charming atmosphere. That evening we were also introduced to our guide, Ben. Ben and Aaron share the same sense of humor, extremely dry, and -- gullible as I am -- I knew I was in for it. By the end of our time with Ben I was finally on to him, but not before I fell for many erroneous "facts" and sly sarcasm. For example: there is no such thing as a double-billed toucan, no matter what Ben may tell you (Yes, I fell for this). I'll get you yet Ben Cruz! Ben would turn out to be a phenomenal guide and friend. That night, Ben gave us a briefing on tomorrow's tour of the Actun Tunichil Cave.
We also shared dinner that night with a group of archaeologists, headed by Christophe Helmke. They were an interesting and smart grouping of Germans, French, Australians and I believe an Englishman or two. They had been working on a dig in the middle of the grounds at Pook's -- an ancient Maya sweatbath, extremely rare and extremely fascinating. Earlier that day the archaeologists let Aaron and I poke our heads in on the dig. I was a little awestruck and could offer nothing better than to comment, "Wow, this is so amazing." Well, it was amazing.
That night, it stormed and I slept like a baby.