Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pan American Day at Rio On Pools

Belize doesn’t celebrate Columbus Day, but does celebrate the equivalent Pan American Day on the same day as the US celebrates Columbus Day. It’s a bank holiday and the kids don’t have school, so since Tom has been working very hard with a crew of men from 7 Miles to chop the property lines of our neighbor’s property, he decided to celebrate the holiday with them and their families and have us all spend the day together up in the Mountain Pine Ridge.

We’ve all been hearing about a swimming hole on Privassion Creek, but none of us had been there. Julio got directions from his brother, so around 9 on Monday morning, Tom picked up Julio and Rudy and their families, then came back to pick up me and the food, and we headed for the Mountain Pine Ridge. Tom rode in back with the men and the boys, and I drove with the women and smaller kids riding in the front of the D-Max. I started to slow down when we got to the turn where I thought the swimming hole was, but Julio yelled from the back that I was supposed to take the next turn. I kept going and took the next left, and headed into the hills. The roads are narrow and washed out in spots, but overall not too bad. I drove for a little while, and then Julio shouted from the back that I was supposed to turn right. I drove on that road for a bit, and got to a T. I stopped, and made eye contact with Julio in the side view mirror and I started to laugh; he obviously had no idea which way to go. Janet, his wife, was in the passenger seat, and said while laughing, “He’s lost, isn’t he?” I told her I thought that was the case, and Julio told me to turn left. I did, and we drove down that road with Janet and me giggling in the front seat, watching a conference between the men in back which involved lots of gestures and plenty of laughing as well.

At the next intersection I stopped and stuck my head out to look at Julio. He asked me if I realized he didn’t know where to go, and I laughingly responded that I was aware that was the case. We decided to go a little further rather than turning around, so we picked a road at random and set off. All of the sudden, we crested a hill, and the beauty of the Maya Mountains and the Mountain Pine Ridge was spread out in front of us. We started down this road and came to a deeply rutted stretch of road, and Tom got out to investigate and see if we could get through. By this time we’d been driving around on tracks mostly used by the military for about an hour and a half, and Janet was starting to lose her sense of humor about the situation - perfectly understandable given that her five kids were in the truck, and she was wondering what we were going to do when we ran into soldiers. We decided to turn around, retrace our tracks until we got to a road we thought would take us back out to the Mountain Pine Ridge Road, and head for Rio On Pools instead of the Privassion swimming hole – and fortunately we guessed right, and we were at Rio On within a half hour.

We spent the day having a picnic on the rocks and swimming and playing in the pools. If a 5-star resort were to try to put in a water park for families on their grounds, they couldn’t do anywhere near as well as Mother Nature did with Rio On Pools. There are small, still pools for the little kids, deeper swimming holes, rock slides, waterfalls to get behind, and canals which make perfect swimming lanes for swimming lessons. Between the 15 of us there, all the nooks and crannies were used, and we all came home tired and relaxed. The most amazing thing, to me, was that our party had the entire place to ourselves for the whole day. As we were packing up to leave around 3PM a few more cars pulled in, but we’d been there for almost four hours all by ourselves – on a holiday with exceptionally beautiful weather. Only in Belize!

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