|Belize, Central America
In late 1991, we were in Austin, Texas, close to many exotic and inexpensive Caribbean destinations.
Looking for a vacation with good snorkeling, rainforests, and Mayan temples, we checked the guidebooks and found Belize.
Formerly known as British Honduras, Belize has all three, plus an English speaking population. It sounded perfect.
We started with a flight to the island of Ambergris Caye. Our start was auspicious as Air Taca (known as Air Caca), lost our luggage on the first flight.
After a long delay, we then took an adventurous commuter flight to Ambergris Caye.It was about 5:30 and getting dark, at the time of our departure. As we approached the airport, 45 minutes later, we couldn't see a runway. The sun had set during our flight and there were no runway lights.
Our pilot started to land too early. We hadn't even reached the island yet. He pulled up to continue and as he did, beepers, buzzers and horns kept sounding. I didn't know what they meant, but I knew they weren't good. Finally, with some jeep headlights illuminating the runway, we made a rough landing and got off the plane.
A local, who flies a lot, told me that the noise was from the stall buzzers. Great.
Anyway, we walked through San Pedro Town to the Paradise Resort.
It rained for most of our stay in San Pedro, but that was okay.
The rain stopped long enough for us to snorkel. We spotted a shark and a lot of colorful fish.We then took a second interesting flight, into the rainforest. Because of the storms, no flights had penetrated the interior for three days. The pilot said to us, "Well, let's give it a try".
So we did. As we take off all is well, but we are heading for heavy clouds. No problem, we fly around them. It soon becomes obvious that we are just flying for clear sky. The pilot starts looking nervous. Making repeated calls. Leaning over the wheel and scanning the horizon.
We realize that we have flown around the storm and that he just can't find Gallon Jug, our destination. He doesn't hide it too well.
After many calls, he finally spots the runway and lands.
Chan Chich Lodge is set in
a Mayan plaza, amidst 'sub-tropical moist forest'.
Our room has a beautiful hardwood interior with 2 beds, a nice bathroom, and a desk.
The rain continued here, to near record levels.
Angie and I explored the wildlife and temples each day. And every night I would pull a stool up to the bar, in the main lodge, and listen to these stories.One night, I decided to sit by the river alone, and look for wildlife. I walked there with my flashlight turned off. The noises of the forest were loud and extremely intimidating. I wanted to turn around, but I couldn't.
If someone else was with me, we could have found an excuse to stop, but alone I'd only be lying to myself, so I kept walking.
I took a seat, and listened, as the noises by the river got louder. I could only imagine what was making those sounds.
Killer vampire frogs from hell, I believe.
The longer I sat still, the more noise I heard. My heart was pumping, my skin soaked
with cold sweat.
As I headed up the trail, the howler was getting louder. Suddenly, I found myself under
So, I started mimicking his sounds. They were somewhat bird-like.
Then I realized that I may be giving a mating call, or challenging his territory.
Did I ask him why he lost his job?
Of course I didn't.
At the airport we ordered a hamburger.
We then negotiated a ride to Altun Ha, the largest Mayan temple complex in Belize.