San Pedro – Last Weekend

2 05 2010

So our trip is coming to an end, and really quickly! We arrived yesterday in San Pedro after a 2 hour boat ride. San Pedro is on Ambergris Caye and we are staying at the Blue Tang, right on the ocean.

Yesterday we spent the whole day enjoying the water and the sun and tried a couple of local restaurants. Today the plan was to get up and go on a 4 hour snorkeling trip to do some awesome things. However, the water is not cooperating at all, and they told us it was much too windy to go. So we are waiting and hoping the weather calms down and in the meantime enjoying more sun.

San Pedro is a gorgeous place, I think I could stay here forever!! We are here one more night and return to Corozal tomorrow evening. Tuesday and Wednesday we teach, and then we head for the airport Thursday morning. I can’t ‘belize’ that our trip is almost over!


San Ignacio and Rainforest

24 04 2010

Well we are a couple hours of a drive from home, home being Corozal of course, and ready to seal up our 2nd weekend of excursions. I cannot begin to describe how amazing this weekend has been!

I personally can’t get over the awe of the Mayan ruins that we keep seeing, and this weekend was no exception. We had Friday off from teaching this week and headed out early towards San Ignacio. Our first stop was at the Belize zoo where we saw jaguars, crocodiles, monkeys, amazing birds, and…I even held a snake around my neck! I however would not hold the tarantula, no thanks.

After the zoo we went to Xunantunich which is the 2nd tallest ruin in Belize. After a brief history lesson we began our climb to the top. 132 feet later we were standing on top of the world it seemed, looking out actually onto Guatemala. We hung out for quite a while at the top enjoying the breeze and learning about Mayan culture from our awesome guide…including what he believes will happen in 2012.

After Xunantunich we headed into the actual town of San Ignacio to our hotel, Marthas Guesthouse. Our rooms were amazing and one of them even had a huge veranda with a hammock. After a noisy night of sleep we headed out at 7:30 to begin day 2 of our exciting weekend.

We began the day by driving about an hour to an area of rainforest. We started out ziplining!! It was amazing. We did a short hike to the first platform and altogether 5 or 6 runs before we rappelled down to where we started. After that…we took a quick drive around the corner to the site for cavetubing.

When I first read about cavetubing I had no idea what it was. But let me tell you, it’s something you can only do in Belize…and is completely worth coming here for. Vitalino (our amazing tour guide who does a ton of cave tubing) got us geared up and then took us on about a 45 minute hike through the rainforest. We stopped along the way to see some caves, different trees and plants, and even for some to try eating a termite 🙂 After a long hike with our innertubes in tow, we finally arrived at our launch spot.

We all got in, got on our innertubes and put our headlamps in place…ready to float through the first cave. It was amazing! Vitalino guided us through and talked about the ancient uses for the temple, talked about the erosion and formation of the caves, and most importantly let us enjoy the cool dark silence. All we could hear at some parts was the faint sound of dripping water. It was incredibly peaceful. We ended up going in a total of 3 caves I believe…and catching some sunlight in between and at the end.

Going through the caves and seeing the stalactites, some which are almost the biggest in the world…was just insane. It’s a strange feeling when you want to know everything you can about a place you’re in while at the same time not wanting to break the silence for fear of not seeing and taking in every detail.

So now, I can say that this weekend has truly been a weekend of firsts for me. First time holding a snake, standing on a Mayan ruin looking into another country, ziplining, seeing a jaguar, being in a rainforest, being in a cave, tubing through a cave…it’s just crazy!

We now have just a few hours separating us from being back in our hometown of Corozal, taking showers, doing laundry, and relaxing the rest of the night and tomorrow. This week is our last big week of teaching, all 5 days, and then we hop on a boat for two hours to San Pedro. Our last stop is a beautiful resort like town on the ocean for 3 days and 2 nights. After that only 2 more days of teaching before we’re headed home to KY.

Adios for now!

A Slow Start to Weekend 2

23 04 2010

Today, Friday the 23rd we took a day off from school to begin our second weekend adventure. We left at 7 Belize time (7:30) and headed southwest. However, we didn’t make it far before we encountered some trouble with the van. So we pulled over to the side of the road and waited for another bus. We ended up jumping in a new bus with a couple from California who were going to Lamanai. Now we’ve dropped them off at their boat, said hello to our Lamanai tourguide from last week, and are back on the road.

This weekend we are heading south west around and to a town called San Ignacio. Today we are checking out the Belize zoo and the 2nd tallest Mayan ruin in Belize, Xunantunich (or something spelled similarly). Tomorrow we spend some time ziplining and then a few hours on innertubes floating through caves down a river. We also just found out that Belize is the only country that you can go cavetubing in, so I’m glad we’re going!!

Lamanai & Chetumal

18 04 2010

So… This weekend we went on our first set of excursions throughout Belize and beyond. On Saturday we went to Lamanai which means “submerged crocodile”, and is the site of an ancient Mayan city. I believe overall there are about 150 buildings but only 2 percent of it is actually uncovered and excavated. The rest is covered with mounds of grass, dirt, trees, and other vegetation. We had to drive an hour to the town of Orange Walk where we got on a boat and took about an hour trip down a river to Lamanai. On the boat ride we got to feed spider monkeys, see all kids of birds, bats, and other sights. Some of us even saw a crocodile!

Once we actually got to Lamanai, we had lunch and checked out the museum before we started our hike. We had the chance to climb up 3 ruins or temples. The first one wasn’t so bad, but the second… The High Temple, is the 3rd tallest in the Mayan world. Now that was a climb!! The view was amazing though…one of the best I’ve seen.

After a long hike and a lot of climbing we headed back to Corozal for a shower, a nap, and remedies for our sunburns.

Today…Sunday, we headed across the border for a little shopping, some swimming, and a Mexico stamp on our passports. We started in the city of Chetumal to have McDonalds breakfast, visit a “Wal-Mart”, and the market or mercado.

Now we are headed to Bacalar which is a sort of lagoon for swimming and water activities…perfect for the heat today. Only four days of teaching this upcoming week but we start out being observed Monday and Tuesday by our professors from Murray that are visiting. Next weekend we head to San Ignacio for many many activities. Hopefully more updates soon!

One week down!

16 04 2010

So the blog site is blocked at school, and so is Facebook. So I’ll try to write updates but until we get to a place with wi-fi I can’t update 😦

Today was the last day of teaching this week and it’s going great! I’m going to even give my first test next week.

I should talk about the heat because today is the worst day yet. On for Corozal it said that it was 88 degrees this afternoon, but it felt like 101! That’s about right. Teaching today there was no breeze at all, and of course no air conditioning!

Another fun thing that happens here is that we don’t know when but the power goes out every now and then. Last night in the middle of watching Pearl Harbor and planning for the day, everything went out for about 20 minutes. Water also is a little iffy.

But other than the occasional bugs, power outages, and heat….everything is awesome! Tomorrow we go to Lamanai which involves a boat ride and hiking up a big Mayan ruin. You can look up pictures online if you search for Lamanai. Hopefully I can update after the weekend!

Teaching and Stuff

16 04 2010

So after day one in the schools, I thought it’d be good to write just a little to let you all who care know about how the schools function. Very very different from American high school.

I’m teaching Business at Corozal Community College, the equivalent of 8th grade to 11th grade in the states, split into four “forms”, 1 through four (sort of like freshman through seniors). The students wear uniforms everyday, girls in white dresses and boys in khaki pants and a white shirt. They also wear either scarves (girls) or little shoulder fabric pieces in different colors to indicate what form they are in.

As far as classes go, students are in a class with their form, about 30 students…and they stay in the same classroom all day. The teachers however…are the ones that move around from room to room. There are 10 forty minute periods in the day, starting at 7:50am and ending at 3 or sometimes 3:40. The schedule also changes every day. So for instance an office class I’ll be teaching meets Monday at 11, Tuesday at 9, Wednesday at 12, Thursday at 2, and Friday at 8. Just to mix it up for the kids I suppose. Also teachers only teach about 4 classes. And each class they teach for a total of 5 hours a week, meaning they sometimes only are in the classroom 20 hours a week or less. On Tuesday for instance I have 2 classes in the morning, and then nothing after 9:50 but planning for the rest of the day.

Very interesting school! I do have regular Internet access from the school but cannot update the blog from there or access facebook. Only email and general sites. Also the teachers are pretty much the only ones with a big air conditioned room to work in, and of course the computer labs 🙂

By the way… Pics attached are of an award I saw at the school with the ADM logo of course, the other apartments gecko named Toby, and my class schedule… Look at all that planning time!!

First from Corozal!!

11 04 2010

Hey everyone!! Have some time tonight to write a quick update from Belize!! We are at a hotel with some wi-fi and planning to grab dinner a bit later.

So far Belize is amazing! It’s extremely hot, and very humid, but so far not a lot of bugs…just little geckos all over our apartment. We live about a 2 minute walk from the bay..which is awesome for a cool breeze and some swimming. We start teaching tomorrow…and I can’t wait! More updates soon hopefully, but for now I’m going to stop so I can put up some pictures.