18 January 2014

Ya betta Belize it! Mayan ruins and a dinosaur on my head!

We slept soooooo good last night.  After I put up yesterday's blog post I laid down and then it occurred to me that my body was exhausted.  Even though my mind was super excited my body didn't get that memo.  It got the "Girl, you betta lay yo' self down" message instead.  We all had a good night's rest. 

While buying dinner last night I asked for the best breakfast spot for the next morning, as always I'm planning ahead.  The cashier told me that Pop's has the best breakfast in town, hands down.  After we all got up and ready we got out all of our family sillies, and headed 3 blocks up the road to pop's.  Family sillies include tickle attacks, relentless teasing about who stinks, asking if anyone peed in the bed, etc.  anything silly we start off the morning doing it.  Upon entering Pop's right away I knew the food would be good.  I had two hints: #1. It had a leaky air conditioning unit.  As soon as you walk in if you are under one of the 5 leaky spots under the A/C unit a drop of water will hit you in the head every 3 seconds or so!  That ladies and gentleman means the food is so damn good "ain't nobody got time  to even think about that A/C unit!"  Hint #2. Every booth with filled with locals and tourist alike.  There was no place for us  to sit.  Until the waitress suggested that we sit with a local guy and his son.  Obviously this is a "close culture" where squeezing 6 in a booth is not a big deal.  Even if you don't know them.  They welcomed us into their booth and we chatted until their food came.  The dad is a local barber and we had a great convo about local culture and things to do in the area.  He suggested a nearby Mayan ruin that was in walking distance...  "Right up the road". After they ate, they left just as our food came, by then there was a crowd waiting outside that included a few American Mormon missionaries.  Our breakfast was delish!  The kids had bacon, egg, and bean breakfast burritos.  I had scrambled eggs, sausage, and a waffle.  AlphaPoppa had Johnny Cake (they call it Jack here) with egg, ham, and refried beans.  With our juices it came to $20 total, approximately $5 a person.  Well worth it.  Belize is extremely affordable for a family and I imagine even more so for a solo traveler.  

After dinner we took a quick stroll down the main strip.  I picked up some post cards, a cute bracelet for myself, the boys got bracelets that say Belize and AlphaPoppa got a couple of shot glasses.  On the way back to Hotel Tia Maria I stopped by the pharmacy to get bug repellent (I left ours home) while the guys continued back to our room.  Even though Mosquitos aren't a problem at all,  I wanted to be well prepared, just in case.  The pharmacy was so basic compared to our pharmaceutical empires back home but seemed to have everything the town needs.  

So after a long transportation debate the guys won.  We would take a taxi to the ruins then walk back.  I wanted to walk both there and back.  First of all the kids get tired and sleep better at night, second of all I'm super cheap and didn't want to pay for a $6 taxi for the ride.  We arrived at the Mayan Ruins of Cahal Pech.  It was $15 for us all to get in and we decided to go without the $25 tour guide.  We walked through the museum first reading about the Mayan civilization and that specific site.  We would see a pyramid, temple, and an arena.  The path leading there was well-paved and an amazing jungle walk.  The first thing we came upon was a group of archeologists digging at the site, to the left of the temple.  I don't recall ever being somewhere where real life archeologists were partaking in important work.  It was pretty cool to think of the things that they would find and the mysteries they would solve.  Up next were the pyramids. The kids (and us adults) had so much fun, climbing, running, and jumping.  We climbed to the top, we felt like Mayan rulers looking down on our empire.   We then ran over to the arena.  The steps are wide and easy to climb.  We then doubled around the back through a tunnel to a jungle cliff, then headed around the back to what we believe was a temple.  Since we didn't have a guide we agreed to try to figure it out ourselves then to research it when we got home. We spent hours there. Climbing up and down, Posing like royalty, hiding, climbing in dark tunnels.  It was far more fun than I'd imagined.  On the way out we talked to a group of archeologist from Montana USA.  I asked if they knew what happened to the Mayans, did they really just disappear?  They gave me the 3 theories because no one really knows.  Theory 1- they were attacked by another army. Many were killed others fled.  Theory 2- there was a severe drought that made them all leave. Theory 3- aliens came to earth and took them away..... No seriously they gave me aliens as a theory!!!  They were a great bunch and asked if I could adopt them so they can travel the world with me.  If I could, I would adopt you all!  But since I can't I'll do the next best thing, share my tips, love, and courage with you through my blog, and soon a YouTube channel and book!  

One of the funniest things here in Belize is asking for a receiving directions on how to get somewhere.  AlphaPoppa and I have been getting some good laughs off of this.  As we were leaving Cahal Pech we met a freelance tour guide, he suggested that on our way home we stop at the Iguana Farm.  
-"How do we get there from here?" I ask.  He points down to the valley below the hill we're standing on. 
-"You see the red roof over there?  It's just past it".
- "umm, yea I see about 13 red roofs...." 
-"well it's just past that one right dere" still pointing toward the many red roofs.

I've traveled enough to accept these types of directions just as they are.  See to him this makes perfect sense.  To me the most I can get is, just go that way and ask 4 more people for directions along the way.  And that is what we did.  On the way to the Iguana Farm we picked up a bag of peeled oranges and a bag of peanuts from a street stand ($1 total). The people there pointed us in the direction of the iguana farm.  After a 10 minute walk of complaining children we arrived.  The Iguana Farm is located in the San Ignacio Hotel and cost $4.50 a person.  While we waited I thought about how fun it would be to have the guide put iguanas on my children's heads.  The thought of them frightened and in a panic thrilled me, especially after 10 minute of them complaining.  Yes I'm admitting it.  I'd like to think every mom has had that moment where you want the kids to, ya know... Suffer, just a teeny bit.  Ha! Well soon after that thought one of my life philosophies would give me what I deserved.  One of the reasons I use the alias Echo is because I believe life is an echo.  What you give you get.  Well in this case I wanted kids to be frighten instead it was me horrified standing in the iguana house with one climbing up my arm and perching itself in MY head. It serves me right!  I was truly petrified.  There is nothing cute or cuddly about these little dinosaurs. I reluctantly agreed to put one on my arm so the guy put it on my arm and walked away.  As he walked away the iguana decided to take a walk.  Up my arm and up the back of my head.  I was so scared I started to sweat, I'm surprised he didn't slide down my head!  Needless to say alphaPoppa and the boys got the laugh of their lives.  They really enjoyed watching their fearless mother almost have a heart attack.  The British couples on the tour with us also had a great laugh.  The Iguana Farm is rated as San Ignacio's #1 thing to do and I could see why.  After nearly catching my death the adult iguana was removed from my head and I was given a baby iguana instead.  I think I would have done much better if I'd been
Introduced to the baby first.  

After washing up and saying goodbye to our awesome guide and new British friends (I swear we bonded with them, sharing adventures does that quickly!) we headed back to town on foot.  
We stop in to the Belizean food restaurant again and had the fish special for lunch.  

Every plate was clean by the time we left.  If you are thinking about coming here, find good well priced food shouldn't be a concern at all.  It's very Caribbean and flavorful.

The rest of our night consisted of the guys watching TV at home and me wandering around this teeny tiny town.  I window shopped, met an Italian selling gelato, ran into people I met the night before, and just sat around people watching.  By the time I got back the guys were all washed up and playing card games.  Dude and I headed out to the hammock on the balcony to update our travelogue.  We still don't have tomorrow figured out but I'm sure whatever it is, Belize won't let us down.

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