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Trip Report-Come Away To Belize With Me

Oklahoma City...
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Trip Report-Come Away To Belize With Me

Dear Hubby (DH) and I have returned for our 6th or 7th (depending on who you ask) One week only this time, so we knew we had to pack a lot in a little time.  Here's how it's gone so far:

The AA flight from Tulsa to DFW started out badly because a passenger saw a puff of smoke come out the engine.  Delayed about 40 minutes (it was exhaust), I called ahead and let DFW know we would be delayed.  After landing, we took the train instead of walking, as recommended by the crew.  Ran from the train to our gate where they were holding our flight and greeted us with smiling faces.  We apologized to everyone on board and were pleasantly surprised how supportive and friendly they all were.  The flight from DFW to BZE was uneventful.  Landed and found out none of our bags made it on the plane...went to Miami, Florida instead.  Yikes!!!  Checked in with the lost baggage desk and were assured our bags would be on a Tropic Air flight the next morning at 11.  (yea right)  We quickly made it through entry, purchased items from duty free, then went through customs with no problems.  Got to the Tropic Air desk to check in.   Remember at Tropic, all your bags are checked except for the small personal carry ons, so shift whatever you are uncomfortable with checking out of your carry ons.  The planes are small the there is little room, except on your lap.  At the plane, customs handed us our duty free items. The Tropic flight was uneventful, but provided gorgeous views, as usual.  

Walked a couple of blocks from the Tropic terminal to our condo and checked in, assured they would go get our bags at the Tropic terminal the next day and deliver to our room.  I'm about 50-50 on whether all these moving parts are going to end up in our favor.  

Our unit was glorious, as usual  (more on that later), but we don't have time to enjoy it.  Quick shower, change out of flight clothes, and hoof it to Wet Willys for the cocktail party, meet and greet, for those of us with tickets to attend Jerry Jeff Walker's  'Camp Belize' this week.  It's always fun talking, drinking rum punch, and hanging out on day 1.  Stopped on the way back at Lily's on the beach and shared conch ceviche.  Delicious!  Ordered rum punch, but did not like them.  

Made our way back to the condo, spent some time relaxing on the balcony breathing in the night air, listening to the wind blow the palm trees, trying to forget the hubbub that is life back home, the lost luggage, slowing our pace, realizing our hearts never left this magical place. (to borrow a phrase from a JJW song)...

Hey come away to Belize with me, show you how simple life can be

Long hazy days in the sun, 

Where it seems everyone has a smile when we meet

Under blue skies and emerald seas, warm winds and those coconut trees

They say your heart never leaves, once you've been down to Belize

Edited: 26 January 2012, 18:52
Tulsa, Oklahoma
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1. Re: Trip Report-Come Away To Belize With Me

JEALOUS sitting here in Owasso today! Enjoy!

San Ignacio, Belize
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2. Re: Trip Report-Come Away To Belize With Me

Nice! Thanks!

Oklahoma City...
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3. Re: Trip Report-Come Away To Belize With Me

Thanks for your replies. Day 2 tomorrow.

Oklahoma City...
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4. Re: Trip Report-Come Away To Belize With Me

Day 2 Beautiful sunrise, not much wind...we really wanted to do a couple of dives this morning, but all our gear went on vacation to Miami:) Instead, we took a long, refreshing walk on the beach and ended up at Estels for breakfast. Huevos Rancheros with fry jacks was the perfect way to start the day. It was delicious!

After walking to the Isla grocery store, where locals shop, (south of the big, pink market) we did some price comparisons on our way back. It was cheaper by about 30 per cent on the items we purchased.

Back at our condo to check on our bags, we were shocked to get a call at 11 ish that they were at Tropic and on the way!!! One of the bags contained school supplies we will be donating, so we rented a golf cart. The cart and bags were delivered 10 minutes later! They delivered them to our room and we left, deciding it would be more fun visiting the school and touring the island than unpacking so off we went.

Heading north, we passed by many of our favorite places and finally made it to the bridge. It costs $10 bz for the round trip. Just over the bridge on the left is Holy Cross School, a private school, where the supplies will be going. Being a former teacher, it does my heart good to see so much emphasis on education on this tiny island. There are MANY choices here, including one academy that has the reputation for being the finest in Central America.

After dropping off the supplies and chatting with Miss Linda, we kept heading north, ruts and all, to check out all the new construction and old favorites. Very fun.

Drove back to town and ate at our favorite restaurant, Elvies. It was just OK this time because their new afternoon menu did not have any of our favorites on it. We shared chrispy fish tacos. They were good, but small portion size. We really wanted conch ceviche, but all they had was Italian ceviche...really?

Drove south to the lagoon, looked for crocs, and drove back to our condo. Gotta get unpacked and get gear ready for the next day's dive. It was a fun and rewarding day and, although tired, we are energized by the island vibe and ready to take on the week.

Edited: 27 January 2012, 13:26
Oklahoma City...
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5. Re: Trip Report-Come Away To Belize With Me

Day 3 First dive of the trip, we decide to go inside the reef to Hol Chan for a check out dive. We had bought a package of 5 2-tank dives each with Ramones with our condo. It turned out to be a fabulous dive! At only 29 feet, we stayed about 50 minutes and saw nurse sharks, an eagle ray, tons of sting rays, reef fish galore, and more eels than I've ever seen on a dive before. Afterwards, our dive master took us to Shark Ray Alley to snorkel, which was a big surprise. We had no idea we were going there, but we went with the flow. He chummed the water with fish which attracted about 20 or so sharks and 5-10 rays. We then jumped in with our snorkel to get up close and personal. Not a fan of this type of situation. Enough said.

Came back to the dock, washed our gear, laid it out on our veranda, and rushed to the nearest restaurant, Blue Water Grill. Lunch was about over, but they let us order anyway. We both got the fish sandwich and it was delicious. Not sure if it was really the food or if we were sooooo hungry. Tired also, we took the longest nap ever. Dive, eat, sleep....that's my kind of a vacation.

It was time to get ready for our first Jerry Jeff concert at Wet Willys so we had to hurry, which I DON'T like to do on vacation. The way it works is this...get there with pre paid laminates around 4, find some masking tape and a marker, locate a chair you wish to sit in for the concert and write your name on the tape and stick on the chair. That is your reserved seat! You are then free to go eat dinner somewhere and be back at 7 for the concert. We met some other people from Oklahoma, started chatting, and decided to stay at Wet Willys for their authentic Belizian meal of stew chicken, stew beans and rice, slaw, and chip and salsa. At $10 US, I thought it was a bit over priced, but really good food.

Promptly at 7, JJW appeared and started playing. He had a cold and the sound system was not set right, but we all enjoyed it very much anyway. He quit early because he simply could not sing any longer. We stayed for a short while and listened to Dennis Wolf, which was great. A good time was had by all. Slept like a baby.

Edited: 27 January 2012, 21:17
Oklahoma City...
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6. Re: Trip Report-Come Away To Belize With Me

Day 4 Went to Ramone's to check in for diving. They put 5 guys and me together as a group and off we went. It was quite choppy, but we assured our dive master none of us get seasick so we carried on. 7-10 foot swells greeted us beyond the reef! We went diving once in St. Marten with 10-12 foot sweets and half the boat got seasick, so I was apprehensive. Thankfully, nobody got sick, but our next worry is getting in and out of the boat in those conditions.

After a back roll off the boat, we gathered at about 35 feet and started toward The Canyons. Our first swim thru was at 92 feet, which was fun. The rest of the dive was just ok. A couple of sharks and another eagle ray were about the extent of it. The reef does not look as healthy as usual to us, which might be why more sea life isn't present. Everyone came up to 15 feet for our 3 minute safety stop before surfacing, then the fun began. They threw a line out so we could stay with the boat. As we inched out way toward the boat, one by one, they crew took off our BCD's and tanks, then we had to hold on to the ladder while removing our fins. Everyone made it back on board, but with a few bruises from the ladder.

Instead of going out for another dive in the treacherous waves, we all decided to go back to Hol Chan, inside the reef, since we'd had such a great dive earlier. Big mistake! This time, the water was murky and the current was REALLY strong...trying to pull divers out beyond the reef. I let air out of my BCD and got down on the bottom and belly crawled against the current. No way could I have finned my way back to the boat. Everyone was exhausted and to make matters worse, we didn't see much this time. DH did have an encounter with a big eel who didn't want his picture taken, however.

Back at the dock, gear washed, we were again starving. This time, we remembered a little place near our condo that advertised whole fish, which we love. Went there and for $13 BZ, we got the delicious fish plus coconut rice, stew beans, plantains, and coleslaw. It was wonderful! Exhausted, we took another long nap, read, and really enjoyed our veranda. About dark, we took a walk down the beach to Hurricanes to listen to Barefoot Skinny. We shared a seafood platter, which was divine and enjoyed the music very much. Another fun day!

Oklahoma City...
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7. Re: Trip Report-Come Away To Belize With Me

Day 5 Ramone's cancels all diving due to the wind, so we borrowed bicycles from our condo and rode south, stopping along the way to go check out the beach resorts. Went all the way to the lagoon to see if there were crocs, but couldn't find any. We stopped at Maria's for something to drink, checked a few prices, and decided this is the place to shop for groceries next time.

After several hours of bike riding, it was again time to shower and walk to Wet Willys to reserve our seats. Got our same seats, visited with some great people, then went in search of pupuas in town. Evidently, there is quite a rivalry with two small restaurants across the street from each other. One store was in the middle of remodeling so we went to the one across the street, Waruguma. Ordering a lobster and a chicken pupuas to share, we enjoyed the local flavor of the place while waiting. We did not enjoy them at all and wished we had ordered the huge burrito or even bigger seafood ceviche to share instead.

Walked back to Wet Willys, visited with several people, then, again, promptly at 7 JJW began. He was in rare form! Voice strong and clear, guitar picking and playing exceptional, and very funny comments made this concert our all time favorite. Afterwards, he invited everyone to take pictures with him and he signed our laminates. VERY fun day!!!

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: Trip Report-Come Away To Belize With Me

What fun reading your reports. Thanks.

What are laminates?

Oklahoma City...
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for Oklahoma, Grove
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9. Re: Trip Report-Come Away To Belize With Me

Laminates are tickets we are issues with straps we hang around our necks. Thanks for your reply. Glad you are enjoying my reports. Trying to give back...

Melbourne
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10. Re: Trip Report-Come Away To Belize With Me

Sounds like you are having a great time. Belize is really not somewhere I know much about and I do not know anyone who has been there. You have inspired me to do a little research. Contine the fun and take good care.