Whenever the weather turns cold and bitter, I dream of a vacation. I hate cold weather with a passion! I don't dream of going just anywhere warm, I dream of going to Belize. More specifically, I dream of going back here. We went to Chaa Creek on our honeymoon, and although it was June and I didn't need the warm getaway, it was amazing. I've never had a better vacation, not even the ten days I spent in Europe.
Every single thing about our honeymoon was perfect. If you've never been to Belize, GO. The main language of Belize is English, so there are no language difficulties. It is a safe country, too. I know that in parts of Central America, it's not safe to leave a resort. In Belize, we canoed from our resort to a town two hours upstream. Although San Ignacio is Belize's second largest urban area, it was safe and friendly. We ate at a local restaurant and were laughed at by the locals when we paddled right by the area to tie off the canoes, with me yelling at Shane to STOP the whole way. I should add that while they laughed at us, two boys jumped right into the river to pull our canoe where it belonged. The exchange rate in Belize is one US dollar to two Belizean. That's easy enough, even for a math idiot like me!
At the risk of sounding like a travel agent, I have to reminisce about how amazing this vacation was. The resort at which we stayed, Chaa Creek, is an eco friendly place, which I loved! All of the buildings had thatched roofs made from palm fronds. We stayed in the treetop honeymoon suite, overlooking the Macal River.
The area where I'm standing also contained two couches and a table.
We were so busy the week we stayed at Chaa Creek. Every day, we had an activity of some sort, and every afternoon, we relaxed in the open air bar.
Although the margaritas were wonderful, my favorite drink was a rum punch. I've never had anything quite like it! Our second day there, we discovered that you could order chips and salsa from the kitchen. The chips took awhile because they were served fresh out of the oven, made from tortillas. My mouth is watering just thinking about it...
At night, we would enjoy an amazing four course meal in the restaurant. The meal always started with freshly made sourdough bread and real butter. Shane and I split a bottle of wine every night, and by the time dessert came, I was stuffed and happy!
We did so many things, some of which I never dreamed of doing. We went horseback riding through the jungle! At the end of the ride, I took my horse on a gallop through an open pasture, and it was so exhilarating, being in this different place and feeling really alive. We went tubing through a cave, wearing miner's hats! Our guide showed us cave drawings, from when the Mayans used the cave as a sacrificial area. It was eerie. He also told us the story of how the week before we were there, he took Billy Gates (and yes, he said Billy!) through the cave with his family and his security guards. The guide was young, and we got the sense that while he knew Bill Gates was a rich American, he didn't know quite HOW rich. We spent an afternoon at the butterfly breeding area where butterflies were so plentiful that they landed on our arms and faces. We visited Mayan ruins. One night, we took a hike and had a guide show us a tarantula and a nest of scorpions (after that, I was afraid to get out of bed in the dark!).
One morning, we asked for a wake up call so we could go on an early morning bird watching tour. Our suite had no phone, so we weren't sure how that worked. We soon learned that wake up calls in Belize involve someone bringing a fresh pot of coffee with china cups. Yes, it was the LIFE.
On our last day, I visited the spa and received the best massage and body scrub of my entire life. The combination of the massage and the warm sun beating down on me left me hardly able to walk afterward. As I stumbled back down the hill, I passed the bar, only to realize Shane was in there chatting with the bartender we'd gotten to know throughout the week. The thing about Belize was that when the employees learned we were teachers, they were so respectful and wanted to talk more. Every single person expressed their admiration for teaching and thought it was a noble profession. I loved that! I went into the bar, and we spent the whole afternoon talking to the bartender and concierge, listening to the stories of the famous people who had stayed there. The concierge called the "Very Important Pigs," which made us laugh. The bartender fixed us his special drinks, one called a funky iguana, the other a sexual chocolate. And, of course, I enjoyed one last pina colada.
(I don't know what happened to this picture that it uploaded all tiny!)
Best of all, we spent the week just being US. We had absolutely no cares in the world, not a one. Our favorite part of the day was checking the dinner menu, and we were so blissfully happy. I knew that when the week was over, it was back to teaching summer school, working at Build a Bear, and hoping to be hired full time at a school corporation in the fall. But none of that mattered. For a week, the world stopped. All the stress of the wedding and pre-wedding fights were GONE. Truly, our week ended on a magical note--as we flew into O'Hare on July 3rd, the city of Chicago lit off fireworks and the sky exploded with color around us. Such a welcome. I know we'll return someday, but I know it won't be for awhile. Even on the coldest days, looking at the pictures still manages to make me feel a little warm.