Trip Start Apr 01, 2004
12Trip End Apr 11, 2004
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The tender ride was pretty rough, fast and very hot, but we made it to shore safely and I was thankful. We got out of the tender and into an area that was obviously built just for tourists. We were supposed to meet our guide at a flagpole in the middle of a square by a bandstand
Once we left the tourist area, I saw why there was such a thing. Belize city is very poor with a great deal of crime. I felt really awkward being the "rich" American tourist being driven through the city. There were a few nice houses, but they all had 7" brick walls with broken glass and barbed wire on top. Our tourguide said the lootings are common due to people's desperation. Outside of the city, conditions were no less poor, but it seemed like people had more options. Nearly every house had lots of fruit or nut trees, chickens and a few even had skinny looking cows
I had pictured Belize to be lush and green, but it was actually quite arid. We saw lots of palm trees and Florida type scrub, along with cashew nut trees, several different kinds of mango trees, coconuts and papayas. Everything looked like it could use a long gentle rain.
After about 90 minutes, we reached the Spa and Horseback riding place. It was very nice, with several pools, a restaurant and a little walk away, the Spa. It had a palm thatched roof, open sides and mahogany wood floors. Apparently they also have guest rooms for people to stay over night as well. After a quick trip to the bathroom, we walked over to the horses. We had ridden up with a Mom and her 9 year old son and a Minnatonka Minnesota Special Education teacher. Once we were there, we met up with 4 college students on spring break. The 9-year old, Michael, was going riding without Mom, so we promised we'd look after him.
The horses looked well taken care of and most of them were quite feisty and ready to go
We started out crossing the savanna and saw Holler Monkeys and some odd, rather large birds. Then we headed into the jungle, which was very beautiful with huge palm and palmetto and lots of vines. The guide pointed out a snake, but thankfully neither I, or my horse saw it. My wife was behind me for most of the ride and amazingly enough, managed to take pictures and ride at the same time, even at a trot! We had a lovely ride for about an hour, which in the heat was just about enough. My horse had gotten quite excited about heading home and had a jolly time trying to run to the stable. We came to a understanding, which was "oh hell, who cares, I'm on vacation!" Of course, every time I'm on a horse, I just want to stay on, so I was bummed when it came time to dismount
I stopped being disappointed when I realized that it was time for my aromatherapy massage! My wife was scheduled for one too, but changed her mind as it was so hot. She decided to relax and have lunch instead. She had water buffalo, which she says was quite good. She also ordered a frozen pineapple daiquiri for me, which was delivered at the start of my massage. That was fun.
The massage studio was of the same thatched roof construction as the rest of the place, except it had a sand floor to absorb the massage oil. My masseuse was a wonderful woman with great hands. After the massage, she brought me to a room with stone walls and floors and a big well in the center. She threw bucket after bucket of cold water on me to rinse the oils away. It felt so incredibly cooling and invigorating.
Then we all piled back into the van and were driven back into town. We hustled to the tender and got on just before it left to go back to the ship. It turned out that we didn't have to worry about time because lots of excursions were late getting back. Our very sunburned tablemates had gone Cave Tubing and their 6 hour excursion turned into 10
I was starving after only having a liquid lunch and was very happy listening to everyone's day, while diving into my shrimp cocktail and red snapper. One couple at our table celebrated their 10 year anniversary that day, so the waitstaff and us sang Happy Anniversary to them and the ship provided a delicious, very chocolate, chocolate cake with a candle in it.
We went to see a great comedian that night,