Thursday, December 31, 2009

Belize - Lamanai Ruins

Our next port of call was in the beautiful country of Belize. Here, Laura decided to go on her own adventure excursion that we couldn't do because of the girls but we were super happy with the excursion we chose.We decided to visit the ruins of Lamanai. It was also fun because we got to get there by bus and then by boat. We all rode a speedboat and saw a lot of nature on our way to the ruins.Once at Lamanai, we were served a local cuisine for lunch and we sat and ate under a thatched tent. The food was very good.Once we were done with lunch, we got to go on a great tour of the grounds at Lamanai. We saw some amazing temples and structures that are super old and I loved walking on these old and sacred grounds.We saw the howler monkeys and the sounds they make are incredible. They sound like lions and the sound is very foreboding as you walk up to the tree where they play.Lamanai is a very large place with lots of huge ruins and we got to do a bit of hiking through jungle type forests and climb the structures. Since I had Ava strapped to me, it was a bit harder to climb so I didn't go as high as Lorne did. It was still amazing and beautiful and neat to think of what these people had done with so little.On the way back, we saw some more wildlife from the boat. We saw a crocodile, an iguana and more monkeys. It was so neat to see these creatures in their natural habitat.As we were waiting for the tender to take us back to the boat, we spotted Laura, back from her adventure and we rode back together.That night was New Years night and even though we were all a bit tired and grouchy, we stayed up to watch the new year roll in. Happy 2010!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala - San Felipe Fortress

The next day we hit our second port of call - Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala. I was so excited, having never been to Guatemala before and also excited about our shore excursion to go to the Fortress of San Felipe - I was imaging a little bit of Pirates of the Caribbean and was excited.
We got to ride another bus and since our excursion left to early in the morning, we had to sneak food off the ship and eat on the bus.Looking out of the window on the bus was amazing - the scenery of this country was magnificent. It was just as I imagined it should be - don't you love it when that happens? You see a place and it is just as you imagined it? It was a bit foggy but we were promised that when the sun came out, it would be a very beautiful day - they were right.Our big bus drove through crowded streets full of life and a bustling market. I loved looking at all they had for sale and wished I could have gone shopping!When we arrived, it was a short walk to the fortress - we passed a small cemetery and some great water views.The fortress was lovely and we had a great tour guide. She was thorough and we saw everything. It was amazing to me how small and compact some of the spaces were - it made me feel huge. Jasmine seemed to like exploring the fortress as well and we got some great pictures.Our drive back to the ship was as fun as the drive in and I took in the scenery of a beautiful country once more. I think I would love to see more of Guatemala.
When we got back to the ship we had some time to freshen up and then the local people came to the dock and did a farewell show for us. It was fun to see the dancing and hear the music and know they were bidding us farewell.Dinner, another show, a fun towel elephant on our bed and a cheeky monkey for a daughter, and that was the end of our day. Excellent.