Sunday, February 28, 2010

It's Unbelizable!

Without exaggeration, Belize is my favorite spot thus far in Central America. The ocean there is absolutely breath-taking; looking out from a boat, in every direction you can see the ocean scintillating in various shades of blue -- light blue, dark blue, aqua -- all because the water is so clear that its color reflects the plethora of marine life underneath the surface. The islanders are extremely warm and friendly, and overall, it's just an amazing place to visit.

We only spent three days on the San Pedro Island, but it was three days well spent in paradise! I wish we had more time to linger in the waters, because Belize has various well-established tourism options, such as cave-tubing and snorkeling. In the small amount of time that we spent there, we opted for a half-day trip on the Catamaran to snorkel among the beautiful reefs. Belize has the second largest barrier reef in the world, and supposedly the plentiful fish keeps the usual predators well fed, so that they stay a safe distance from human divers and snorkelers. (This includes predatory sharks such as bull sharks and whale sharks.)

While we were snorkeling in the water, we saw a giant sea turtle, many big fish, and a few large sting rays. The guide went down and grabbed one of the sting rays so that we can pat it near the surface of the water. It was majestic and stunning! (Geoff also saw a small shark -- probably a nurse shark, which is extremely docile and common to the area; the tour guide has lots of pictures where the tourists are swimming among and touching the nurse sharks!)

On land, there was a constant breeze that kept the island extremely temperate. They speak English there, because they were a British colony until 1981. But, they're also extremely diverse, and they have a cultural makeup that descends from the Russian Mennonites, Kriol, and Spanish-speaking Mestizos! As a result, it's a very interesting and eclectic place, where you can get a lot of different (good) beers and foods, and people speak all kinds of languages amongst themselves. It's so unique, that the locals even have a proud tagline: "It's Unbelizable!"

Geoff, Andrea, and I loved it. :) In fact, Geoff and I are thinking about spending part of our summer there, renting out a house near the beach... So, if you are thinking about visiting Belize, that might be a really good time to do so!


In other news, I have finally purchased summer tickets to go to China! I haven't seen my parents for well over a year, so I'm very excited to be able to make this trip happen, both financially and logistically. :) But, I remembered belatedly that I'll need to get a visa before going to China this summer, and that's far from easy to do when you live in El Salvador. The closest Chinese consulates are in Cuba (which I'm not technically allowed to visit as an American citizen), Mexico, and Ecuador. There are also some additional difficulties, so it seems, with applying for a Chinese visa from a foreign country, because there are zoning restrictions and the consulates are not very patient with foreign applicants...

But, I'm not going to complain. This is a small snag compared to not being able to afford the trip at all, which is what I had feared. I just hope it will get resolved soon!

1 comment:

  1. Greeting from Cyprus, enjoyed the blog, Regards