Sunday, September 14, 2008


I'm baaack! Did you miss me? I missed you. Kind of. Only it was so hard to miss you when I was so busy! This blog is normally devoted to the topics of books and reading, but I can't help but give you a quick summary, a top ten perhaps, of my trip to Guatemala and Belize. Ready? Here goes:

10. Our hotel in Antigua, Guatemala. If you go here, you MUST stay at Quinta de las Flores. It is hands down one of the nicest hotels ever and not expensive! Plus, the hotel grounds are filled to the brim with weird Guatemalan props perfect for funny photo shoots.

9. Kayaking on Lake Atitlan (even if Jeff forgot to put sunscreen on his knees and and ankles and got the funniest sunburn ever).
8. Banango daiquiris at the Palapa bar. Mmmmmmm.

7. Riding the Island Ferry in the pitch black under millions of stars to our hotel on Ambergris Caye in Belize. They go so fast it's just a tiny bit scary, and the air is so hot that the winds aren't even a little bit cold. It's like Pirates of the Caribbean, but for reals. And no pirates. I have no picture of this nightly ritual since it was super dark and our flash died while on vacation. You'll just have to trust me that it was cool.

6. Seeing monkeys. In the jungle. Up close. Except at first it wasn't exciting, it was terrifying. When they named them "howler monkeys" I feel that this was a gross understatement because dude, those monkeys are not simply howling, they are roaring like a lion! Erin and I were convinced a Tyrannosaurus Rex had been let loose in the jungle and made Todd ask one of the grounds keepers que animal could possibly be making that terrifying noise before we agreed to continue our foray into the ruin site. Here is a photo Jeff kindly took of me FREAKING OUT when I first heard the monkeys from afar.
And here is a picture of a monkey mooning us.

5. Climbing to the top of Temple Four at the Mayan ruin site of Tikal for sunset provided what was quite possibly the most amazing view ever. Ever. For serious. This photo doesn't begin to capture it, but it's the best we've got.

4. Laying in a hammock and reading.

Sometimes, I did some of my reading with my eyes closed.

3. The craziest thunder and lightening storm on Lake Atitlan. There was no rain, but one bolt of lightening literally hit the lake like 50 feet from where we were standing. I think we all hit the deck (and by deck I mean dock). The thunder came simultaneously with the lightening and it felt like we were sitting inside a giant firework as it was going off. The storm continued all night and would light up the giant volcanoes from behind.

2. Snorkeling in Belize. We saw giant turtles! And barracuda! And stingrays! And huge schools of the tinniest fish ever! Never mind that "Scuba Steve" (as we dubbed our snorkeling guide employed by the hotel - his name really was Steve) had a large chunk of his calf missing in the exact shape of a shark's mouth. Don't ask, don't tell, right? Anyways, he kept us safe that day so don't freak out Mom.
Apologies for the gratuitous swimsuit shot. I hate when people post swimsuit shots online, but I can't figure out how to crop this one on Jeff's mac and I like how obviously pumped I am to wear my snorkel gear.

1. Swimming with a manatee!!! When I wrote that I really wanted to swim with a manatee, I never actually thought I'd get to do it. But Scuba Steve made it happen and for that I will always be indebted to him. Since we don't own an underwater camera, this event was not documented but it was AWESOME.

On the flip side, here are the worst 5 things that happened on the trip:
5. Taca airlines made us wait around until 5 minutes before departure before telling us they could fit us on the domestic flight we'd booked 2 months prior. This caused me to run at least 1 mile through the airport, which is officially further than I've run in about 3 years. Thanks for nothing Taca.
4. Speed bumps. Guatemala redefines the term.
3. The 4 inch long scorpion we found in our hotel room in Belize.
2. The grossest hamburger ever that I'm not sure was even made out of meat and Todd dubbed "hambourgesa mysterioso" at our hotel in Tikal.
1. The unfortunate night I spent attached to the toilet after said Hambourgesa Mysterioso.
(Jeff wanted me to add his sunburn to this list, but seeing as I actually found his sunburn highly amusing, I'm not sure I can justify adding it)

Anyways, I'm back and I hope to post reviews for the books I read on the trip really soon - New Moon and Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer, Upside Down Inside Out by Monica McInerney, and Run by Ann Patchett.


Rachel said...

You were most definitely missed. Welcome back!

Mary Anne said...

YAY! You're back! And with fun stories and pictures!! Your trip sounds amazing save for the hamburger ailment. Welcome home!

Maree said...

Welcome back! Sounds like you had a great time. :)

Anonymous said...

oh beautiful! This is great!

Anonymous said...

You're carrying on a deep sea diving tradition that your father will approve of, I'll have him read this article. Your photos are lovely. And don't apologize for the swimsuit photo, it's polka dot!! mom