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Thursday, December 10, 2009

CMDTA on Vacation – Belize

I’ve been to Belize before so I wasn’t sure what we were going to do at this port of call. We’d already gone to the Mayan ruins so we were not to keen on doing that again.

We did not buy an excursion through NCL for this port of call. We did however check out what they offered. They had for cave tubing that looked fun but they were charging over $90 a person to do it. That seemed really high to be driven somewhere so you can get in an inner tube and float down an underground stream.

Not knowing what we were going to do, we went through the misery of getting a tender ticket and waiting to be called. The good news was they were not using their life boats as tenders this time. They had actual boats. That was good because the ship was anchored so far from shore it would have taken a good hour for a life boat to make it to shore.

Once we made it to shore we looked around for some tour companies. We located one right on the secure port that was offering the cave tubing for $65 a person. That was about a third off what NCL was charging.

A bunch of us piled into a van, with multiple cracks in the windshield and of course, Latin music blaring. The driver got in, and floored it. We passed on the left, we passed on the right, and we passed with on coming traffic. We tailgated people. We drove on the wrong side of the road at times. We went around corners so fast we pulled higher Gs than Mission Space. We were about to go around the corner and the driver called out, “Let me know if you want to go left, center, or right up here. When we turned the corner we found ourselves heading towards a narrow part of the road with a tree in the middle. Someone yelled out right and we went right. I really wonder if we had yelled left if he would have gone left. I really hope he wouldn’t have gone center but he was an insane driver.

We arrived and all breathed a sigh of relief. I think a few people ran to the bathroom to change their underwear.

Next we all grabbed a tube and followed our guide down a jungle path. He stopped, stuck his hand into a mound on the side of the trail, and pulled it out with bugs crawling all over them. He said “It’s a termite mound. They are a great source of protein.” He then proceeded to eat the termites off of his hand.

A little further down the path he stopped by a hole in the ground and grabbed a long blade of grass and started poking down the hole. He told us he was trying to coax the tarantula out. I’m not afraid of spiders but my wife took got as far away from that hole as she could. He couldn’t get the spider our so we headed down the trail again. He stopped a few yards later and pointed. There was a big old tarantula off the side of a trail by its hole. My wife took off and a lot of people got nervous. Apparently they thought it was the rare South American flying tarantula. Yes I am kidding there is no such thing as a flying tarantula. Spiders to not like people. If you move towards them they run. When our guide got too close it ran down the hole.

We finally made it to the river. Most people slowly waded into the water. The rest of us followed the guide and jumped off the rocks into the water.

Everyone got in their tubes and linked up. You have to tuck your legs under the arms of the person in front of you. Once that’s done the guide said that there were some shallow sections and when we got there he’d say “butts up.” If you didn’t do this your butt would get pummeled by rocks.

Everyone put a head lamp on and we went into the cave. You wear the head lamps so you can see the inside of the cave and also so you can see all the bats hanging from the ceiling. It was a nice leisurely ride which included seeing an under ground waterfall.

We came out the other end, dried off, and got back on the van. The ride back didn’t seem as bad but I think we were just used to it.

We finished the day in Belize by getting a few drinks before we had to get back on the boat.

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