Experience the magical feeling of a Central American winter through the eyes of born-and-raised New Englanders.


"I can't Belize what a Panama Honduras you're being."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Out of Control

            Looking at the narrow colonial streets, terra cotta roofs and mist-covered tips of twin volcanoes in the distance reminds us of how happy we are to have made it to la pura vida de Nicaragua.

            Let us recount for you, if we may, our 72-hour, approximately 800 kilometer, and four bordered journey from Belize to Nicaragua.  From Punta Gorda, Belize, a sleepy Garifuna port town the locals call PG, we traveled one hour by open air boat through a rainstorm to Puerto Barrios, Guatemala. 

Slow to adjust back to Spanish and sopping wet, we were swept up with two kind travelers for a shared taxi to the Honduran border.  With a destination in mind but no real plan of attack, our newfound chaperones aided our pilgrimage from the dock in Puerto Barrios to San Pedro de Sula, Honduras.

            After sharing a cramped hotel room with our fellow travelers, we rose before dawn and from Central America’s largest bus terminal, we embarked on what would become a 13-hour, 600 kilometer journey.  

            After two movies about American firefighters (yes, two) we arrived in Nicaragua’s capital city, Managua, where a sizable portion of the surrounding neighborhood “greeted” us at the terminal with a mind to fill up the local accommodations and taxis.  Like sheep, we were herded to a mom and pop hostel where we sidestepped a crib to get to our room.

We managed to find a living room/comedor serving just what our stomachs had declared crave-worthy after a long journey—vegetarian spaghetti and vegetable curry (apparently favorite Nicaraguan dishes).  We returned to the ant farm which was our accommodation for the night and fell asleep to a dubbed epic starring The Rock—who is also, we can only surmise, a favorite Nicaraguan dish.

            The following morning greeted us with a short taxi ride to a very pushy microbus terminal where hasty drivers shepherded our bags, our wallets and our bodies into a bus before we could finish saying “Si, Granada!  One short hour later, we arrived in pleasant, friendly and familiar feeling Ciudad de Granada.

Calle la Calzada, Granada

From the Bell Tower of La Merced

            COMING SOON!
Jordan turns 30—what will he do?  AND… Isla de Ometepe, volcanoes and Costa Rica.

You won´t Belize it when we tell you!

From the ancient Mayan complex of Cahel Pech in the west,

 to the 5-acre paradise of Tobacco Caye off the southern coast,

  it’s hard to Belize how wonderful these last few days have been, as this country is a different creature altogether.  We traveled by painted former American school buses,
 past banana and orange plantations, and through thick jungle.

  English, Creole, Garifuna, Spanish, and Mayan languages all mesh into one barely decipherable mumble, but boy are people friendly! 
 And so, for your viewing pleasure, here are some photos of Belize:

 In the courtyard at Cahel Pech, San Ignacio

Even in historic Mayan ruins, Jordan is always getting ahead of me.

Even the fire engines seem tropical! San Ignacio

Full moon on Tobacco Caye, y muchos besos!

Our beautiful beach side cabana, Tobbacco Caye

The sun makes everything better.

 A last look from our private paradise porch, and now, for an extrodinarily long journey...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hasta luego, Guatemala!

From big city highways to cobblestone calles,
Before we heard south, we have to move sideways.

But first if we may, on our first week's stay:
Flores, Tikal, and El Remate.

We walked through a jungle, we climbed up a tree,

We saw our first Tucan and Spider Monkey!

Sunset from a temple, howler monkeys roar,

We trekked through the ruins 'till our trotters were sore.

En route to the temples we stopped for a spell,

While horses grazed nearby our lakeside hotel.

Adios Guatemala! We're on to Belize
Put our Spanish on hold - Hello beaches and trees!
(But first a few More Pictures)

On the left, facing east lies Temple I, the Tomb of King Moon Double Comb, and on the right facing west,  is Temple II, where rests King Jorangotan No Need Comb

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Greetings from Guatemala!

A view of the hills surrounding Antigua from the rooftop terrace of our first stop in Guatemala, La Casa Amarilla

El Parque Central, Antigua

     In Antigua, we stayed for three days while studying Spanish, drinking coffee, walking around the cobblestone streets, drinking coffee, eating out and practicing our Spanish, drinking coffee and, um... drinking coffee-about 5 liters in all!

Jordan with Max, a friendly Cuban gone Antiguan who sat beside us on a bench in the park and tipped us off to some good spots in town

The Guatemalan Milkman

The cathedral of Hermano Pedro, Antigua

     Antigua is a beautiful old Spanish Colonial town and the former capital of Guatemala until an earthquake devestated the city in 1773.  Much of the city´s architecture remains a shadow of what it once was, but in its own way has gained a new elegance.

The Cathedral of Santa Clara

    Now, the cobblestone streets, brightly colored houses and shops and the cathedral ruins form a perfect backdrop for rooftop Spanish lessons, coffee-filled afternoons and lazy meandering-- of which we indulged in all.

A picturesque Antiguan Calle

A splash of color amidst an old cathedral, Antigua

Antigua´s Calle de Arco

View from inside Las Ruinas del Convento y Iglesia de La Merced, Antigua

    Now, after dipping our toes into the language and culture of cosmopolitan Latin America, we are ready for jungles, beaches, Mayan ruins and all that is wild.  An overnight busride from Guatemala City has brought us to Flores and el Remate, on the shores of Lago de Peten Itza.  From here, we will venture onward to Tikal and then Belize!

Dawn over Lago de Peten Itza

Monday, January 10, 2011

¡Adios y bien viaje!

With so much to do and so much to express, we gave it great thought and will leave you with this:

Our packs are both full and we're ready to go
We're one step ahead of the oncoming snow
Nervous, excited, we long to explore
We'll see lots of sights, though our Spanish is poor
Worried? You ask, by the danger that lurks?
We'll chase it away with New Englandy quirks
So farewell to the friends and the family we'll miss
And from Dr. Suess, we remind you of this:
"With our heads full of brains and our shoes full of feet,
We're too smart to go down any not-so-good-street!"
We promise to write, to mind where we roam
And not to bore you again with another blog poem.