Thursday, June 30, 2011

Saying goodbye to Belize

Most mornings we enjoyed banana bread for breakfast. Their banana bread is to die for delicious! The previous morning we had banana bread and meat pies for breakfast. We decided that was our breakfast of choice for our last morning in Belize, except twice as much as we ate the day before since it was so divine.

We walked around the streets and beach looking for the banana bread man but couldn't find him. We went into a supermarket and asked if they knew where he was and they informed us that there would be no banana bread today because the island was out of sugar. Bummer! Turned out to be ok though because we found this taco stand and got some yummy beef and chicken tacos for breakfast. Not the tastes I associate with breakfast, but that's ok because it was super tasty and we got to experience a little family's business.

The mom was the one cooking/assembling the food. The dad was out on the street advertising for the business and telling people to come get some yummy breakfast. The kids were sitting by the side and the youngest in a box - her playpen. I love how family oriented everyone (and all the businesses) seem to be.
 We waited in the shade on the bleachers at the basketball court (where guys have games at night once the sun is down and it cools down a tad) for our water taxi back to Belize City. We enjoyed some mangoes, of course, and Eric chatted it up with this Spanish speaking couple visiting from Nicaragua, I believe. It was funny because the lady could speak English and was a chatter box (with the man sitting quietly looking down) until Eric said something to the man in Spanish, then the lady continued to be quite the talker, but the husband became equally chatty with Eric. I picked up bits and pieces of what they were saying, but it really made me think that I ought to learn Spanish. It also made me realize that the man I'd first observed as being shy was in actuality just unable to speak in English, but as soon as he was comfortable (by knowing someone spoke his language) he was funny, educated, and totally sociable. Another example of why it is a bad thing to judge.

 Getting on the airplane to Texas.
 Goodbye beautiful Belize! I hope to enjoy your beauty again one day!
We flew to Dallas, where my friends, the Mansells, who were in my ward growing up and I used to babysit for all the time, picked us up. They took us to their house, where we experienced some of the world's best hospitality. It was so fantastic to see them - I miss them terribly! They took us back to the airport the next morning and we excitedly flew back to SLC to be back with our sweet Reese. We were so ready to see her!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

More Caye Caulker

"Amigos Restaurant & Bar" was one of our favorites on the island. It was actually a Chinese food restaurant, despite the deceiving name. We went there 2 times, almost 3! That's saying something since we wanted to try out lots of different places. There are a lot of Asians in Belize and this restaurant was ran by an Asian family. Eric and I ordered honey chicken and chicken lo mien both times - best best best I've ever had! The honey chicken was like the most divine chicken fingers you've ever had, served with fried rice one night/fries the other (no rhyme or reason), and you dip the chicken in just normal honey - but oh my! It is goooood!
 This lizard liked sunning itself on our porch. This reminds me,while out swimming one day in Placencia, we saw an iguana that wanted to eat all the flowers off of this one bush. The bush's branches aren't all that thick, and the iguana was really large. It looked so clumsy trying to get to the flowers. I was pretty excited about seeing an iguana in real life.
 Here are a couple of pics inside of our house on Caye Caulker:
 Mine, Eric, and Ivan's bedroom. King sized bed = happy sleeping with 3 in one bed.
 The exterior. I wish we had a picture of the top balcony.
 We rented bikes for the last 2 days. Such a good idea! The island is just long enough that it gets kind of annoying having to walk for as long as you do to get anywhere. The bikes speed things up. We only got one bike per couple and were quite the sight. Micah and Rachel found out that it was illegal to have more than 1 person on a bike on their last day - funny law.

The bikes made moving our stuff from our house to the condo Eric and I stayed in the last day (because Micah and Rachel were leaving a day earlier than us) much less painful.

 At the south end of the island, the hurricanes took out some land to split the island into 2 on that end. It is rightfully named "the split". It is a fun place to go hang out and swim. Eric and Micah went there on Micah and Rachel's last evening and had some hussies trying to pick them up and a man try to pick a fight with Micah. Apparently night life is much different when you're a couple of single men (or women) walking around, rather than when you have a baby and pregnant wife in tow.

On the day Micah and Rachel left we went to the split to swim/snorkel before their water taxi took off.

 Eric, Ivan, and I spent most of the rest of the day at the split, meeting people, enjoying the water, and soaking up some rays. Ivan hung out with a Belizean man who wanted to hold him and take him around to meet other people [thankfully this wasn't my first day or I may have had a freak attack - not used to such hospitality], and then was so worn out that he fell asleep out at the split.
 The condo was completely air conditioned. Sweet relief after being outside for a good part of the day.
 Back to the split for an evening swim.
 At the split their is a grill and tables in the water that you can hang out on. Pretty picturesque.
 Since Micah and Rachel left, we used their bike until the rental time was up. Eric and I explored and enjoyed our last warm evening.

 We ate fried shrimp and fish and chips at a sports grill that night, enjoyed a funny conversation at the table next to ours, (I) got creeped out by some cockroaches, and started playing some trivia game they had going on. I'm sure it would have been funny, seeing as everyone else there was drunk, or would be soon, but they took like an extra hour to get started and we were worn out so ended up going back to our condo before it really got going.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

San Pedro

We spotted this boy playing on his front porch. He was excited about us taking his picture.
 Canuck cottage - picture taken by Rachel in honor of Eric, a true canuck
 This man was singing a song about " wonder why I shiver, it's because I fell into the river, because the sombrero I got for Christmas is too big..." and so on with multiple verses.
 One day we decided to take the water taxi to Ambergris Caye to hang out in San Pedro for the day.
 Ivan thought Micah was funny cooling off by the fan
 The ride there was REALLY warm. Ivan wasn't too excited about that. We had to stick him out of the window a bit to get some air to cool him down quite a few times.
 Sweaty, sweaty, sweaty
 First thing when you come off the dock you see....the LDS church. Sweet!
 We stopped at a pastry shop to get something to eat as well as cool down, since the building was air conditioned. It was a super nice little shop and the treats were yummy, not super sweet, but tasty nonetheless.
 We rented a golf cart for the day and drove as far as we could north and south in the time we had before the evening water taxi back to Caye Caulker took off. It was fun to see as much of the city as we possibly could. There were lots of super fancy resorts in San Pedro along the coast.
 We took some relaxing stops,

 enjoyed the funny signs throughout the city,
and ate at this great grill on the water. You can even float in inner tubes while served liquor if you want. We opted for normal seating, and non-alcoholic drinks. We had some delicious grilled fish tacos and onion rings.

 There are cool cabanas on the water everywhere. The law is that owners of property can build these but that they are for public use. So most of them are really well kept and in beautiful locations, and anyone can enjoy them.
 Someone Rachel knows told her that while on Ambergris Caye we had to stop at Manelly's Homemade Ice Cream. We tried homemade coconut, banana, mango, and Dulce de leche ice creams. I always have to endure through the first minute or so of eating items out of the country that contain dairy, because they always have a slightly different taste, but once I get used to it I SO enjoyed the ice cream. While there a little boy was trying to sell me some jewelry. He was however being super sneaky and told me that he has to just pretend like we're visiting because the owner of the ice cream shop doesn't like him selling in there and keeps looking at him. He would open his pocket for me to peek in and see what he had - though I couldn't even see since it was pretty dim in the room. Sadly, by the time we finished our ice cream we were too rushed to get to the water taxi for me to actually look at what he was selling.
 On the way back to Caye Caulker.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mangoes and Snorkeling

Mangoes are delicious fruits. Luckily Belize is chock full of them and they are dang cheap and even larger and tastier than what you can get at the supermarket. The only flaw to the fruit is its stringy-ness, which if you aren't careful can land you with teeth full of strings.
 Ivan fell in love with the mangoes. While on our trip he got to eat a lot of mangoes and drink a lot of water from our water bottles (in order to stay hydrated). Every time he'd see a mango or water bottle he'd start whining because he knew what they were all about.

 On our 2nd day on Caye Caulker we decided to go on a snorkeling tour. Micah read reviews online the night before and in the morning we went and talked to a couple of the shops to see what they had to offer. We decided on French Angel, and can't say enough good about it. I have yet to get online and give them the fantastic review they deserve, but I will.
Zach was our tour guide. There is an owner and a worker at French Angel who lead the dive, snorkel, and fishing trips. Zach is the worker - and I'm so glad that he was the one who got to take us out.
 Our guide had magical eyes and could spot things so easily. It was crazy! On the boat ride to our first destination we saw dolphins and tarpons, which are big fish.
We ended up doing a full day snorkel trip with stops at Shark Ray Ally, Hol Chan Marine Reserve, and Coral Gardens. It was incredible! We saw and swam with rays, nurse sharks, sea turtles, moray and spotted eels, billions of different kinds of tropical fish, and my all time favorite and dream come true....Manatee. I seriously still think about the manatee and think "seriously, did I really get to swim next to a manatee!?!?" As a kid I almost switched my favorite animal from a wolf to a manatee. That's a big deal you know, switching your favorite from one thing to another. I even did a report on them in elementary school, that's how fascinated I am with them. 
 Ivan came along in his floaty. He was a good kid. The other guided groups were snapping pictures of him. Our guide was so awesome. He pretty much forced me into letting him hold onto Ivan's floaty, insuring me he had 2 kids of his own and that he is good with babies, all so I could enjoy the snorkeling. Ivan would cry and Zach would give him his binky, shush him and tell him "Oh E-on, don't cry". Ivan's name was either pronounced I-Van, or E-On by the people in Belize, I liked both pronunciations :)
 Zach was even so kind as to force me into giving him Ivan to hold in the boat so I could go out snorkeling. If there was something particular that Zach wanted to find for us he would go find it with the group and then come back to the boat and tell me to go see it. I couldn't believe how awesome he was. Don't worry, we gave him a good tip, since he wasn't only a guide, but also a babysitter.

 This picture is totally fitting because Ivan and Zach are holding hands, they became good buddies. During the rest of our stay on the island, whenever we'd see Zach, or the owner of the shop, they'd say "Hi E-On/I-Van!"
By the way, Ivan is red in tons of the pictures, he wasn't burned, just super hot! It wasn't until the last couple of days that we all finally acclimatized and he was no longer a sweaty red baby constantly.