Belize… Hell and back


Before you go on a cruise, part of the fun is what shore excursions you decide to take. When looking at the choices for Belize, I knew there was no way I would get the ground bound spouse to take a zip line tour. So remembering my young days of floating down the Guadalupe River in Texas in an inner tube with a large quantity of beer in an attached tube, I attempted to convince her that cave tubing was the way to go. When I informed her it started early in the morning and it involved over an hour bus ride each way, I was promptly shot down. After much crying on my part, which mostly consisted of “it’s the only thing I want to do, come on baby!”, she finally relented.

I should have listened to my better half. The Mayans thought the caves were the entrance to hell, and who am I to argue with dead people.

After a full day in Cozumel, we had a great dinner which I believe consisted for me of 2 shrimp appetizers, a steak and 2 lobster tails. I was more than a little stuffed.

It was at this time that I decided to end the evening by playing poker on the electronic table on the boat. After folding most of my hands for an hour and observing the table, I finally figured the table dynamic out. These were some of the worst poker players in the world! Only 2 players had any sense of starting hand selection, so I stayed away from them and beat on the other weaker players. After about three hours, I had doubled my buy in and decided I better get some sleep for the adventure that awaited.

Being the type of people that usually don’t like to get up before 10 AM on a cruise,  I booked the later excursion time of 8:30 AM. That meant you had to be on the pier in Belize at 8:30. Unfortunately that meant being in the Amber Palace theater by 7:30 AM as the ships anchor about 6 miles off shore. This was due to environmental concerns and wanting to protect their coral reefs.

After much kicking and screaming I got Laila out of bed and headed in the right direction.  We were both in the most pleasant moods at that ungodly time in the morning and did not have time to eat anything before we departed (Big mistake).

We then got on the bus and headed through Belize City to get to the caves. The most interesting part of the drive through the city was that it was at the time that all the children were heading to school. We must have seen 20 schools as we drove through the city. In Belize it is required by law that all children attend school. Each school had their own uniform colors so the police could identify where all the children were supposed to be.

We arrived after about an hour and half and had ten minutes to use restrooms and put our stuff in a locker. We then were geared up with life vests that smelled a little funky, a miner’s type helmet and an inner tube.

Since it was a water adventure I had to leave the digital camera behind and use a water proof camera we had bought in Cozumel the prior day. I will post pics when we get them developed.

We then began a nice hour hike through the jungle carrying our inner tubes. When we finally got to where we were supposed to drop in to the river, there was a line of about 300 people waiting in front of us. It was then that I discovered the source of the smell on the life jackets as I watched the sweat dripping off of them from all the people around us.

While waiting in line the lady (I use the term loosely) kept bumping Laila with her tube. As I could see the Georgia Girl whoop ass meter slowly rising in her, I stepped behind her  to help her avoid a criminal charge in a strange country. I figured how bad could it be, she was just grumpy. Well after getting banged by this lady’s tube about ten times in the next half hour, I saw her point.

Finally we get in the river in a group of twelve with our guide. They had all 12 of us linked together in double file by instructing us to hold the feet of the person behind us. Since they were strangers and their feet were on either side of your ears, this was a less than pleasant experience. When I think of paradise, stinky, wet stranger’s feet do not come to mind.

After about 15 minutes they allowed any of us who felt comfortable enough to separate. Having had enough of foot holding you didn’t have to tell me twice.

The river was moving very slowly so it involved a lot of paddling. For some reason the guide was being a little sexist and thought that he needed to be the one pulling all the ladies. He kept insisting that he would take care of Laila. Sensing her uneasiness about this, as well as seeing the “I will kill you look, if you leave me”, I insisted that i had it under control. This guide was very persistent, until I finally let him know in no uncertain terms was he taking my wife.

I consider myself a strong swimmer, but over an hour of paddling wore me out. When I could no longer raise my arms, we hooked on to the end of the group.

Somehow, we were the second group off of our bus into the jungle hike but the last ones off of the river. That gave us five minutes after we shed our gear to get on the bus. Laila got a bag of chips at the concession stand and a bottle of water. They were kind enough on the bus to give us a snack, a granola bar. Great first meal of the day at 2:30 PM.

We had an uneventful ride back to the dock and back to the ship.

In speaking with others that took the tour, they loved it. Of course they went on the slightly earlier excursion, had breakfast and didn’t wait an hour to get in the river.

I think I would have an easier time convincing Laila to go sky diving than to go cave tubing again.

Maybe I’ll let her pick the excursions next time.




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