Thursday, January 19, 2006

amazing trip

I got back from an amazing trip to Belize and Guatemala this week. So much went on, that it's nearly impossible to condense it into one entry.

Here's a nutshell of what we did:

~stayed two nights at Crooked Tree village, right on a lagoon, where we looked at a lot of birds and plants: including the sensitive plant, which when you touch it, sort of just shrivels up....Also we did went out on a boat to Blacks Creek, and the boat driver sort of crashed us into some tree branches. It was funny. :)

~Visited the ruins at Altun Ha (pronounced Al-toon-ha, kinda like Altoona sorta), where our chant was born: Altun, Altun, Altun Ha, with variations thereof later.

~went through Belize City, which is the main city for tourists, but we did some grocery shopping there. (Salted plantain chips are pretty good...I have some I brought home, but they may be a bit crunched)

~Belize Zoo with only native animals. However, they did have whitetail deer--but these full grown ones were about the height of my waist. I also saw some jaguars, macaws, parrots, otters, spider monkeys, and black howler monkeys (their "howl" is like a cross between metal and animal--I wish I could have recorded it).

~Stayed on South Water Caye for a few days. It was amazing....we snorkeled, met up with some Wm. Jessup Univ. kids from California/West Coast, and pretty much had an amazing time looking at the stars and being able to walk by moonlight in the sand

~Stayed one night in a Mayan village called Maya Center (how inventive)...learned how they make corn tortillas (yum!)

~Caves Branch, where we had interesting showers, and went on a cave tubing trip: we paddled upstream, walked around in the cave some, paddled some more, explored some more, and at the end, floated back downstream in the dark a bit. also made myself fresh squeezed orange juice here

~visited the Good Shepherd Clinic, where there was an English lady who told us how she got started in nursing, etc. J stayed at her house because as a Chinese citizen, she couldn't go into Guatemala

~crossed into GUATEMALA!!!!! the best three days of the trip I think. We stayed in this Mayan village right near Tikal (but it required an hour's drive over 12 miles). I think there wasn't anyone there that spoke English, just Spanish. Which was all well and good with me, mostly. I did a bit of translating, and getting us past the border (there were a bunch of tractor trailers) easily on the way back. It was amazing to be able to use my spanish. And I talked to these little Guatemalan boys, they were so cute!

~walked through the ruins at Tikal, and had amazing views from the tops of the temples.

But yeah, the trip was amazing, I love the pictures I took, and the people I met (Bob/Joy and Mark/Ann and all the other students that I hadn't really known before).

Being back here is kinda weird. The power went out today, and like Sarah, it didn't faze me. I just went on doing stuff, went to the bathroom using a flashlight (no big deal there), had "sun"light from the window. It's kinda strange being in the city, where there are so many buildings close together, trees with no leaves, no stars in the night sky. As for actual living, the food here's not that great (both caf and microwaveable) compared to there, I'm sleeping in a room that's filled with much more than just what can fit in my suitcase, and I'm not almost outside as I sleep.

I'm also seeing how a lot of stuff I have really isn't necessary. I was looking at the catalog in the airplane, and a lot of the stuff they had was really pointless, or could be made out of something else.

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