Monday, April 15, 2013

What a weekend!  It has been non-stop fun since Friday evening after school.  Carly and I scheduled a three in one tour for Rio Frio Cave, Caracol, and Rio On River.  Our tour was an all day activity for Saturday. We left at seven and began our adventure in a Range Rover.  We began the two hour drive to Carocol on the bumpiest road you could ever imagine.  Only the main roads here in Belize are paved,the others are dirt, or worse. I was riding in the backseat and at one point we hit a pothole big enough to cause my sunglasses to fly off my head and me hit the roof of the car, and this was with the seat belt on.  Three hours of this fun in all.  It was just the two of us with our friendly tour guide Randy. He was great!  Our first stop was the Rio Frio cave which stands for cold river. This cave was more like a tunnel because you could see right through to the other side.  It had the most beautiful scenery and was massive!  There are pictures in my album. Then we hopped back in the rover and headed another hour up to Pine Ridge and Caracol.  The roller coaster ride continued. Belize is unique in that it has two main types of vegetation with abrupt changes in the various regions. For example, one minute we were driving through areas with hundreds of pine trees and the next minute we were driving through the rainforest. We finally reached Carocal, which is the largest Mayan ruin site.  Words can not explain how awesome this experience was.  You will just have to check out the pictures. Randy gave us a short history talk and explained each one of the structures, what time it was built and used, its purpose, etc.  Then we climbed to the top of EVERY single one of the structures.  I'm talking hundreds of stairs. It was so neat to check out their living quarters, the structures for the elite class, the tombs, and other artifacts.  I probably took way to many pictures.  Our tour included lunch and we got to eat under a cabana.  Our day of fun continued when we got to the Rio On River pools.  This was the perfect way to end our day and cool off.  The place on the river that we went had waterfalls and pools of refreshing cool water.  Carly and I explored a bit and climbed up the waterfalls and rocks.  Randy then dropped us off at the town market, which is a big hit on Saturdays and we got a chance to see all of the fruits and products that the locals sell.  Every fruit under the sun is available here, which makes me a very happy camper.  Pineapple has become a part of my everyday diet.  You just can't beat it for 50 cents.  We made it back to our home, showered and change and then grabbed some nachos on the town square. What a day!

Sunday was just as eventful.  We met some locals, Mason and Alex, on Saturday night and invited them to go to Xunantunich, which is another Mayan ruin site.  We met up at 9 o'clock sharp and caught the bus, an experience in itself.  The bus only cost $1.50 in Belizian money which is like 75 cents with our currency.  Then we had to catch a ferry across the river and the nice driver let me crank the ferry across.  It was so cool.  We met some American girls from Kentucky and California that work with Teach for America.  They were visiting because one of their friends was getting married here at a resort.  So, we hung out with them and our local friends.  We climbed to the very top of the tallest structure at Xunantunich and we could see the Guatemalan border.  I'm not going to lie, it was pretty intense being up that high and we posed for a picture with our feet dangling.  By this time we were sweating as we had climbed so so many stairs and we had walked over 2 miles to and from the site.  Our friends invited us to go to the river and cool off.  So we got some lunch to go and headed for the river.  We enjoyed our lunch on the bank and swam at Sandy Bay, also known as the Mical River.  After cooling off in the river, the boys dared us to jump off the 30 foot cliff.  Since I can't turn down a dare, I was game.  The boys decided that we would make our own path to the cliff.  Let's just say that Carly and I got a big dose of nature on Sunday.  We climbed under logs, up trees, up and over rocks, all while on the side of a cliff. When we finally made it to the jump, Mason went first.  I was next.  Alex had to help me get to the jump spot because at one point you had to swing out over the river in a tree to get to the other side of the rock to jump where it was safe.  I have never been so scared.  Once I was up there, I was convinced that it was way more than 30ft, but I put on my big girl pants, held my breath and jumped.  It was probably one of the coolest things that I've ever done.  Apparently the cliff has different spots where you can jump, with 30ft being the shortest and l20ft the highest point.  I have to do the 120ft jump before I leave, but I've got three weeks to prepare myself.  After our fun at the river, the boys invited us to go watch them play community basketball and hang out at the park. It was a perfect way to end a Sunday.  Sundays are family days here.  All of the shops and businesses in town close on Sundays and the Belizians really respect Sunday as the day of rest.  Hundreds of people were out enjoying the river and just spending time with their families.  I hope every weekend is this fun!

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