Thursday, January 24, 2013

Now THIS is What I'm Talking About

Our next stop was Roatan, Honduras. Roatan is an island off the coast of Honduras and also one of my new favorite places in this world. It is most definitely my favorite stop with this cruise. You'll see why.

We woke up to this...
Isn't that a cute little pier? Very nice. And the trees everywhere. This is what I thought we'd see when it kept saying you had to walk through the "jungle" to get to the different Mayan Ruins. You saw the pictures. I thought a jungle was different.

Mamadillo liked it too!
So, we went down and looked around a little before our adventure that day.

This was pretty much the most Christmas-y thing we saw on the cruise!
Then it was time for our adventure. Anyone who knows me knows that I am an animal lover. That may be an understatement, but it's true. I love all animals, but I love whales and dolphins the most. One of my all time favorite days was whale watching with my mom in the San Juans when an orca swam right underneath the boat and looked at me. Wow. Anyway, I have always wanted to swim with dolphins, but there was a problem. I wanted the dolphins to be well taken care of. I didn't want it to be a money making scheme. So, I thought and thought about doing a dolphin encounter. I talked to a couple fellow animal lovers who had done it and they assured me that it would be great.

So, the decision made, it was time to go on our dolphin encounter adventure. We took a bus through the cutest village we've seen yet to the other side of the island.
This is a picture that they supplied but I thought it was kind of nice to see the whole thing.
We waded out into the water and there was our trainer and her dolphin, Margarite.

It was so amazing to be able to get this close to an animal that is just so darn cool.

At first, we weren't suppose to have our cameras with us. Because they had to take pictures to sell us and they wanted to be able to sell them. I think they were worth it.





When you see this as our Christmas picture this year, just pretend that it was this year and that you haven't seen this before.
After that, they let us go and get our cameras. Dad and I went trudging back to get them and when we came back, this is what we saw.
Yep, Brent and Mom getting extra time petting Margarite. This still makes me sad. I mean, fun for them **grumble grumble** but I wish I had thought of that!

Anyway, I shook that huge disappointment off and took a whole bunch of pictures.







This HAS to be one of my all time favorite pictures, ever!




I almost forgot the video. You might want to turn the volume down a little if you watch it. Margarite is SUPER loud! (Drives Daisy crazy...it's kind of funny!)

video

Before I was ready, it was time to go back to the ship. It was so much fun. I want to live here and work with the dolphins. That would be so amazing! Too much fun!

We did a little shopping when we got back to the pier.
Mom's more of a shopper than any of us, so we took a picture while we were waiting.

Too soon it was time to leave Roatan and go on to our next adventure. We got a towel crab for the night...
Saw a rainbow...
And a gorgeous sunset...

A perfect end to a perfect day! If you're ever in Roatan, definitely go to Anthony Key! Next time, I'm snorkeling with them!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Belize!

This year, I mean, last year, I got to spend my birthday in Belize. How many people can say that? Well, I guess all the people who live in Belize can say that, but how many people do YOU know who can say that?

Anyway...

When you take a big old cruise ship to Belize, you have to take a tender in. What's a tender you ask? It's a smaller boat that takes you from the big ship to the port. After a near catastrophe with tickets, we all got on the tender and were off for our adventure at Altun Ha Mayan Ruins.

When we were looking into what we wanted to do at the different ports, I couldn't decide whether I wanted to go to the Mayan Ruins out of Costa Maya or Belize. Then I realized that this was the reason I chose this cruise and we could do both. Hee hee!

I'm glad that we did both the tours. This one was interesting but not as good as the one from Costa Maya. Our guide was a little cheezy ("We hope you have an un-Belizable day.") and didn't really love her job. To her, this was just a job and an annoying one at that. But to our guide in Costa Maya, it was more than a job.  I thought it was interesting to see the difference in the ruins as well. Let's see what you think.
The ruins at Altun Ha are a little different. They haven't excavated all the temples because once they do, the temples start deteriorating. So, that huge mound in this picture is actually another temple similar to the others in the area.

You can also climb to the top of most of these temples. I climbed the smaller one, then left the HUGE one to Brent and Dad.


This is the huge one that Brent and Dad climbed where a lot of the pictures came from. I felt a little bad when I saw an old man with a cane at the top, but it was REALLY hot that day and I was still recovering from the hot of the day before. And the stairs are tippy. Ok, enough excuses.








 This is the one I climbed. Still a lot of stairs though!




 That's me and mom waving at the boys on the top of the big temple.
 Can you see the face?
 I just thought these stairs were funny.

I think Brent may have jinxed us though. The bus in Costa Maya was great. Super comfy, air conditioned, great. So, after we got back on the ship, Brent said, "I was expecting an old school bus for the tour."  The one in Belize was....well...not a school bus. But didn't really have air conditioning. And the roads in Belize are...well....HORRIBLE so I got a little car sick on the way back. I was glad to get out of that stupid thing!

The little port in Belize City was cute. Not a lot to do but we did get a couple of sodas, which were different. I got a coke, but it tasted different...I'm told it's because they use sugar cane. Mom and Dad got coke lights, which I guess are diet cokes. We're such world travelers!

Now that I think about it, we also got a couple of things from the jewelry store. Apparently the Caribbean is the place to go for jewelry because they don't have duty. Brent got a watch and I got a Tanzanite necklace. (I didn't know Tanzanite was originally December's birth stone, but it's so rare that they had to replace it with Blue Zircon.) It was fun!

Then it was time to take the tender back to the ship.

Our last look at Belize City...

When we got back to our room, I was surprised by...
A decorated room! Thanks for conspiring guys!

We had a great sushi dinner - I've been so into sushi lately, and then a quiet night. It was a great birthday!
I nearly forgot about our towel elephant when we got back from dinner.

Tomorrow, or, let's be realistic, the next time I blog, will be Roatan, Honduras and the dolphin encounter! Fun!