Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Travel Tuesday: Belize Part 2. Vanilla Comes From an Orchid

Oh man I bet you all have been just salivating for this next post, checking and checking to see if I'd forget....well have no fear it's 10:45pm so I have 1 hour and 15 minutes left and then it's no longer Travel Tuesday.

Can I make an excuse for taking so long to write this? Jonathan and I spent the morning at his parents house loading up our new bed that they're giving us and taking his mom out to a birthday breakfast and then driving back to the house and then moving furniture around and then running errands preparing for our upcoming trip to Arizona for his good friend's wedding that he's in. We're busy, ok? ;)

So now I'm sitting in my new bed with the new sheets next to my new husband typing away about day 2 of our incredible honeymoon.

I think when we left off, we had just arrived at the inn, and I showed you some pictures, right?

OK so day 2...I'll just use Jonathan's words from our travel journal:

"0930: We woke up late to one of the staff members (Ofelia) knocking on our door and asking us if we would still like breakfast. We had found out yesterday that breakfast was from 7-9am and so I had set my alarm cell phone stylez for 8am. Unfortunately, it didn't go off or we somehow slept through it (unlikely) - but Ofelia was kind enough to come and get us so that we could have food in our tummies. Ps we encountered our first storm here in Belize last night. Meghan awoke to the rain beating on our room's tin roof and then woke me up so that we could look out side at the plants swaying in the torrential winds. Anyway, at breakfast, I ordered the Eggs Benidict with Streaky Bacon and Meghan requested the French Toast. Mine was good, but the French Toast was astounding - and we don't even tend to like French Toast.

(Inserted by Meghan after the fact): What made the French Toast amazing was that it was dusted with nutmeg, had a warm banana on top and a piece of bacon on top of the banana. Then it was drizzled with strawberry sauce. Mmmmm!

(Back to Jonathan's writing) It was one of those dishes that you expect to be the usual standard item, but that surprises you oh so pleasantly - just like the green beans at Bucca di Beppo back home.

So after our meal, we got ready to meet Uncle Mark's friend George, who was picking us up for a waterfall excursion. We applied a bunch of sunscreen/bug repellent and then waited in the lobby with our towels and hiking pack. George drove up in his big Jeep and greeted us warmly and with a sort of twinkle in his eye - which I didn't realize until later must have been his delight at knowing Meghan and I would have a great time today. George drove us down some narrow paths that crossed multiple rivers until we reached a dead end with a small walking trail branching from it. We got out as George hoisted a large pack onto his back explaining that his wife Melina had made us lunch and that we would have plenty to drink during our stay at the waterfall.

The path to Orchid Falls was beautiful and surrounded by a plethora of interesting flora; however once I could see the waterfall and the thatched hut/gazebo next to it, I knew that this would be a day to remember. We made it to the falls after navigating past some very slippery rocky spots made wet by the many springs feeding into the river. Then George gave us the lunch pack and a walkie-talkie, instructing us to call him when we were ready to be picked up. He sauntered off cheerfully, leaving us to enjoy ourselves at his family's private waterfall without anyone around for miles.

Meghan and I started by climbing to the top of Orchid Falls to take some photos. We followed that up with a jump off of the small dock/deck that was over the pool at the base of the falls. After fighting the current near the falls for a little while, we went back to the dock to grab a couple of beers, jumped back in and then rested on a rock shelf next to the waterfall to enjoy our beers. George had packed us some Belikin, which is the "Beer of Belize."

It was good, and after finishing the beer and having our toes nipped at by minnows, we went back to the gazebo, realizing that we were hungry. We set up our picnic lunch of curried chicken salad, black bean and corn salad with tortilla chips, buttered bread, white wine (a Chilean Chardonnay 2008), and some homemade snickerdoodles. It was all delicious, and afterward we rested in hammocks that were hanging inside the gazebo.

PS: we found a beautiful moth that doesn't move any more (aka the moth was dead)  - I think we'll try and take it home with us.

So after relaxing for a spell, we took some more photos and then decided to go for another swim. Sadly it was getting close to dusk, so we packed up our things, radioed for George to come pick us up and trekked back along the trail to where George and the Jeep were waiting for us. He drove us to his house along some fire channels that had recently been made to combat a wild fire that had started because of some dry lightning. The burnt pines and underbrush were still marvelously picturesque in the fading orange sunlight as we drove up to the house, stopping to meet George's son Greg and Greg's girlfriend, Kristen. They seemed kind, and we are looking forward to our adventure with them tomorrow at Caracol (Mayan ruins).

George's wife Melina was sweet and amicable and their dog, Bella, was excited to meet us. After reviewing our plans for the week and chatting for a bit on the veranda, George drove us back to the Inn via the road that takes you past a lake that his father made by damning up the river. (Lake Lolly Folly...the most idyllic summer camp lake name you could imagine).

After showering, we weren't quite hungry so we took our books to the hotel lobby and I read some of J.D. Salinger's short story "Franny" while Meghan tried to identify the orchid she had seen in the wild by the falls. There is a book on the shelf in the lobby with numerous orchids drawn in it. We also learned that vanilla comes from and orchid. Anyway, dinner tonight was great. Four courses again:

*Black bean with lime soup (and rolls)
*Tomato stuffed with pesto and mozarella (this was the first time I've eaten a whole tomato)
*Sesame encrusted red snapper with potatoes
*For dessert, Meghan chose chocolate ice cream and I got Banana Tres Leches Cake (I made the better decision, it was fantastic)

Needless to say, after dinner we were super stuffed, so we went to sit by the pool. There is an area there enclosed by a screen and elevated several feet above ground. Inside this structure there are chairs and hammocks but no lights, so in the darkness of the night with the gentle background lights of the inn, Meghan and I swayed in the hammocks listening to the jungle nightsong of the Pine Mountain Ridge in Belize. It is so relaxing. We went to be shortly after and set our alarms again in anticipation of our adventures tomorrow.

And so ended our amazing first full day in Belize. It set the bar very high - we will see what the rest of our adventure has in store.

Bring us that horizon,

PS: we saw a firefly while we ate dinner. It was nice.

PPS: We used our underwater camera today at Orchid Falls!"

the orchid I saw. but not the orchid that the falls is named after.


justumbo said...

did you take the moth back?

sounds like an awesome first day :)

Anonymous said...

yayyy!!!! so awesome! so glad y'all got to go there! love and miss you both!

Meg said...

yep, we kept the moth. It's in a little box.