Wednesday, May 31, 2017

5-31-2017 Birthday Party for Dean

At the last minute Mark (behind the bar) decided to throw a surprise birthday party for neighbor Dean (in the white hat).

Lots of friends showed up and brought side dishes.

Everyone had a great time, as usual.

Tango was happy because she got to come down to the party also.

Some people (the restaurant owners) came later, after they got off work.

Eventually most people left and Dean and Janine's dog, Rufus, sneaked over and was allowed to say.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

5-28-2017 Monkey River Tour

Friends Dean and Janine wanted to take a trip to Monkey River since Janine's brother, Bret was in town for a visit. We had done the night tour a couple of years ago, but we wanted to see it during the day, so we went along.

We depart from Placencia with Captain and Tour Guide Terry at the helm.

We depart through a series of channels on the west (lagoon) side of the peninsula.

It's a fast boat ride along the coast and through mangrove-lined channels to get to Monkey River.

The first time we were here we ate at a restaurant in this main part of the village.

This time we past that and turned into a little bay, where we pulled up to the dock and placed our lunch orders in the ground
floor of the orange building straight ahead. The upstairs appeared to be the rooms that were currently hosting a group of
university students from Canada - they were here to study the howler monkeys we had come to see.

As we continued down the river we saw loads of birds, including many types of herons.

At the restaurant we picked up Terry's son TJ (Terry Jr.), and he was TERRIFIC at spotting all kinds of wildlife.

An Anhinga (called a "snake bird" because of the way it moves its neck).

The sack-like things hanging from this tree are nests of a bird called the Montezuma Oropendola. We saw one of the actual
birds (quite pretty), though we didn't get a photo of it.

TJ saw these bats from quite a distance away.

After a bit the boat was tied up and we got out for a jungle hike looking for howler monkeys.

We saw lots of these tiny little crabs.

A Strangler fig wrapped around another tree.

An Owl moth.

Giant bamboo.

Bret sporting one of the leaves that sticks to you like Velcro.

We saw a family of howler monkeys, and they were very vocal.

Back to the boat for a little more river tour, then back to the restaurant for lunch.

Bret, Janine and Dean.

A Great egret maybe?

Lobster pots soaking to get ready for the opening of lobster season.

On the way back we stopped behind Harvest Caye to look for manatees.

Harvest Caye is where they take the cruise ship passengers. It's a private island that has been carefully sculpted to look like a
little natural island paradise. Far from it, though - Harvest Caye has had some negative publicity recently because they
acquired a Scarlet Macaw (endangered) to keep in captivity and entertain the cruise ship guests. (These incredible birds
would normally be in the jungle - not on islands.) 

Little Harvest Caye

Back to the channels of Placencia.

Along these channels you see beautiful resort-type places, as well as less manicured working homes.

Um, something tells me the owner of this boat didn't mean to park it here...

Sunday, May 21, 2017

5-21-2017 Chocolate Festival at Nim Li Punit

 This post is a little different than the others.  Be sure to scroll down to the bottom to view some cool videos.

The crowd was large so we had to park on the Highway and walk .5 miles to the Ruin

The logo is faded, but you get the point :)

It was a hilly hike with large stones

The stonework here is a lot finer than on the other Belizean Mayan ruins we have been to

There were several booths

This is the Ballfield as you would see it if you visited here.  We have a video of them playing below.

You can blow this up to really read it well.  There is a nice interpretive center that you could spend a long time visiting

This is the sign and below is the actual tomb you will see

Nice how Belize is so hands on...this is the royal tomb

This video is over 4 minutes long and it is the ceremony that they held before the match.  The Lady speaking said that the Mayan would first bless the 4 corners.  That is what this video shows.

Below is a cool video of what the Ball Playing Action looks like