Monday, January 25, 2010

A Secret Revealed/ Our final post.

We had an adventure of a lifetime and we're glad that you were all able to share it with us via our blog. We leave you with this final sunset that we gazed upon on our last day in Belize.

So those of you who have been DYING to know what the "something special" was...we had a proposal. Matt Moore took Stacy Fausset in search of a message in a bottle. When she found the bottle there was a message inside that declared Matt's love for her--when she looked up from the note Matt was on his knee with ring in hand!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Home at last

Well we are all finally back in the lovely windy weather of Nebraska. We had a BLAST on our trip, but I think we were all ready to see our families again. Please check back in, we will be posting more pictures--now that we have the means--that we couldn't post down in Central America. Also, we will soon be answering the question of "what happened in Belize". Check back soon!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Last Day in paradise

The airport in San Pedro was very small and we took an island hopper (fourteen passenger plane) between the island and the mainland. This is Matt Moore in the co-pilot seat. Scary huh?!?

The girls were scared!

The view outside our hotel!

Wet Willy's Catina and Grill by Day and Club by night !

Our snorkeling experience from yesterday! We had a great time on our tour!

Stacy is stoked about her water in a bag!

SO... we discovered internet technicians and have fixed our internet fiasco!

Last night we went to Jaguars, which is a bar off of the main street. There was Karaoke there and everyone got a chance to show off their natural talent.

Today we had a free day to do whatever we wanted! We got up to have a delicious breakfast provided by the hotel, than spent some of the day out by the pool getting a tan... but a few got sunburnt instead!! Some of us rented a golf cart and explored the island, and everyone spent some of the day in the shops picking up souvenirs. The souvenirs here have by far been the best throughout our trip! Lastly a few went out and rented jet skis to play out in the water. All in all today was a great day.

PS We're sorry about not giving you more details about the surprise, we have communication issues and cannot release such detailed information!! Thank you for your patience!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Disconnected in Belize

Rural home in Belize with electricity.
Rural home without electricity.

This land was recently burned to create more room. I could be used for farming, building, or grazing.

A new orchard with the rainforest in the background. This place was burned off to make room for this orchard. The jungle that you see in the background will probably be "slashed and burned" within the next few months/years.

We lost our internet as of today for the rest of the trip. We are using Grant's phone to at least update a bit before we leave. There will be no more pictures however.

Today we went out to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve to snorkel. We saw tons of different fish, sea turtles, rays and sharks. It was an awesome experience swimming next to all of the animals.

Tomorrow we have a free day to ourselves. Everyone is using it to relax at the pool, lay on the beach, shop and get some good food. It will be our last day to enjoy the warm weather before we head back to Nebraska on Saturday.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A day at the zoo

Today we were able to sleep in a little bit longer than usual. We had a great breakfast at Pook's Hill and then were on our way to the Belize zoo. It was pretty awesome, we saw all different kinds of jungle cats, birds, tapirs, etc. We saw a jaguar and he actually did tricks on command! After the zoo we headed to the airport and boarded an island hopper which was a small plane that sat exactly the fourteen of us plus the pilot. Chris was lucky enough to sit co-pilot, we were all a little scared at the site of him sitting next to the controls ;) When we landed all we had to do was walk across the street to our hotel--very convenient! Our hotel is right on the beach equipped with a 24/7 pool. Tomorrow we are headed to shark/ray alley to snorkel and swim with sharks and sting rays--don't worry it's completely safe! After that we will probably spend out afternoon with a different kind of ray (on the beach!)

Oh and something VERY special happened at the hotel this afternoon but you'll have to check back tomorrow to find out :)

A very friendly tapir.

The bird is the word...

Our plane.

Everyone drives golf carts around here.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Into the underworld we go!

Pooks Hill--we stayed in cabana's and the whole place was built on Mayan ruins.

Well today was an exciting day! We woke early to be prepared for our day of tubing deep into a cave that is thousands of years old and was once used by the Mayans for religious purposes. Our day was started off right with a good breakfast of eggs, rice, and beans. I must say, Pooks Hill Resort has some of the best food and atmosphere we have experienced from a hotel the whole trip. As soon as breakfast was finished we headed out for the base camp of our cave tubing tour. Within the next two hours we were paddling up a calmly flowing river and into the cave! The entrance to the cave seem daunting at first but once we got in it was amazing!

The group just before entering the cave!

It had huge open spaces like rooms in a mansion, with stalagtites (formations hanging from the ceiling) that sparkled like chandeliers.

Almost as soon as we entered the cave our guide found a spider for us. Oh boy! He let me pick it up and hold it. It happens to be a perfectly harmless and blind spider known as the scorpion spider. It lives in caves in Central America and feasts on the crickets that live in the caves.

Adam holding the Scorpion Spider!

As we tubed/walked deeper into the cave, we came to places where we climbed the rocks and came to smaller chambers. Some of them had to have been 50 feet above the river!

We learned that the ancient Mayans would go into these high chambers to perform blood sacrifice rituals and we found ancient fire pits with bits of broken pottery all over the chambers. This is also the only Mayan cave in the world that has a carving of one of their gods. that was cool to see. We ate lunch inside the cave. Then at the end of the tour we came to a deep spot in the river. The guides let us jump off of a 20 foot cliff into the river! That was quite the adrenaline rush. Some people even took it a step further and jumped from about ten feet higher from the tree branches!

Ben jumping into the river from the tree

Now we are back at Pooks Hill chillin in the hammocks, looking for tarantulas, and staring at the wonderful night's stars. It gets so dark here you can practically seen the whole universe shining down upon you. It is just plain beautiful. I never want to leave.

Monday, January 18, 2010

First Day in Belize!

Hola! Well, actually we can say hello again! English is Belize's official language, a few of us are still using Spanish though. Today we went and visited Tikal National Park where we got to see more Mayan temples. More temples have been uncovered here compared to Yaxha. We were able to climb various temples and see what used to be palaces. We even climbed a 70 meter tall temple. After walking around these beautiful temples we were served a very good lunch. After lunch we left and drove to the Guatemala and Belize boarder. Tonight we are staying at Pook's Hill resort. We literally have our own individual huts that we stay in with only our roommates. Pook's Hill is also in the middle of the rainforest in Belize. Tonight everyone is sitting around playing guitar, talking, and enjoying each other's company. Tomorrow we are doing cave tubing! Also, if you click on the pictures below you can see a larger version.

A temple at Tikal

Melvin (our tour guide) with Meghan pretending to be his Queen in the palace

Austin on top of a temple

Matt and Stacy

P.S hi mom!!!! I miss you!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The only day in Guatemala...

Flores, Guatemala--look at all of those power-lines overhead! These weaving lines were typical in all of the cities in Guatemala and in all three countries for that matter.

Getting ready to zipline. While ziplining in Guatemala was a little more primitive and less sophisticated than the other places, we did get much closer to the actual plants--most times even touching them as we zipped by.

The bottom of a long climb up to the zip platform.

Climbing up up up

Hanging out on the platform

Aikins zipping through the forest.

Kern ziplining.

Moore on his way.

Stacy ziplining.

Colt ziplining.

Students chilling in the hammocks waiting to horseback ride.

Students + one horse at zip lining and horseback riding location.

Plummer and Meghan.

Cowboy Bassett.

Matt and a Guatemalan cowboy.

Colt and Grant...poor Grant got the slow horse :)

Locals carrying bags on rice on the side of a Guatemalan highway.

Horse on the side of the road in Guatemala. It was not uncommon to see horses, pigs, dogs, chickens, and many other things on the sides of the roads. Drivers needed to pretty much be prepared for anything! Some Guatemalans would tie their horses on a 10-foot leash on the side of the highway for the day...

Kids sitting on the side of a Guatemalan highway. This was another frequent site--a lot of their culture was based right around the highway.

An actual "puma crossing" sign in Guatemala.

They even have pizza hut in Guatemala!

Four people on ONE motorcycle (look closely). As you can see the transportation regulations a bit more relaxed in Central America than in the U.S.

The easiest way to get a load of people from point A to point B. This was another frequently seen site on our travels through Central America.

A typical site in Guatemala.

Today, we woke up and drove about 15 minutes to the Ixpanpajul National Park, to go ziplining. This zip line experience was fairly tame when compared to the other two, and so it didn't take very long. The park also offered horse back riding, and we decided to do that after we finished zip lining. Then we went to lunch, after which we got back on the bus. We drove a little more than an hour to the Yaxha ruins. This complex is an ancient Mayan city-state. There were multiple structures that had been uncovered, but even more that had not. We walked around the park, and then got to climb the actual steps of one of the structures. We also climbed the tallest temple in the park, using a wooden staircase built up the side of the temple. At the top we got to look out over the entire complex, and we would have seen the sunset but it was blocked by clouds. Tomorrow we will be visiting another site of Mayan ruins, and then traveling on to Belize!

The group of us before zip lining.

Some people on their horses

Climbing the first building

On our way back down the first building

The view from the top of the temple