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From the rainforest to the beach

Tapir - Belize\'s national animal
Tapir - Belize\'s national animal
Our resident roof lizard sang us awake this morning. The jungle seemed especially energized after the storm of last night, and unfortunately half of the insect population seemed to decide that our bathroom was the best place to start their new day. Im definitely learning to overcome my squeamishness of oversized insects!

We finished packing our bags this morning and headed down to our last breakfast. A misty fog held the grounds of Pook’s Hill this morning, and as we crossed the Mayan ruin en route to the lodge the fog seemed to breathe life into the ancient stones. Saying goodby to our new friends Vicki, Dave and Cat was bittersweet – it had been such a pleasure to meet them after months of working with them from our office in Montana, and our time with them was more than we could have imagined. The rains had changed the jungle road off the property, and the swollen foliage pressed in on both sides and above. We slipped and shimmied our way back to the freeway, and said goodbye to the rainforest and its treasures.

After a two hour drive, our driver dropped us off in at the bustling water taxi terminal in Belize City. We were a bit early for the next departure, so Ryan grabbed a Belikan and I enjoyed a pineapple smoothie while we waited for our taxi time. We spotted a TV in the waiting room, our first exposure to the “outside world” for the past week and were shocked to watch footage of the Japanese quake which had just occurred the night before. After gleaning as much info as we could from the news, we boarded the open air water taxi with about 50 other passengers and jetted our way from the mainland. The water was a thousand shades of turquoise, and we passed numerous little islands or cayes on our way. A quick stop at Caye Caulker to unload a few passengers, we were back on our way and arriving at Ambergris Caye in only 1 ½ hours. We disembarked onto the white sand, claimed our bags, and wandered down the beach. We located a island map after a few yards and found our hotel on the map. Two minutes later we arrived in the cool quiet courtyard of the SunBreeze Hotel, our home for the next 4 days. Smiling staff checked us in and we happily explored the beautiful grounds of our hotel.

We decided to head out into the town of San Pedro in search of some food. We left the hotel lobby on the street side an quickly discovered that San Pedro is BUSY! The narrow cobblestoned streets are packed with groups of tourists, swarms of gas-powered golf carts and a few taxi vans…and limited sidewalks. A sharp eye is required to make sure you don’t get run off the road! We wandered the busy streets for awhile and found a table at Fidos restaurant for our first island meal. Soaking in the ocean view on the other side of the balcony rail, we lingered over lunch while stray cats looked for a handout. There’s two ways to get around in San Pedro – street side, which we discovered wasn’t too relaxing, or the beach side. We spent the afternoon wandering the white beach of San Pedro, flip flops in hand. Plenty of entertaining people watching and not to mention the incredible Caribbean ocean just inches from your feet!

While at dinner that night, another rainstorm blew in. This time we were in an actual building, not an open air thatched cabana, so we sat and watched the rain wash the busy streets of San Pedro from our window table. We just missed the observance of Carnival, a riotous time similar to Mardi Gras, which had been celebrated on the island two days earlier. Evidences of Carnival were still obvious with bright paint splashed on everything. The rain seemed to clear the air and wash much of the paint away from this quaint little town, and we made a mad dash back to our hotel for our first night at the Caribbean.

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