Tom picked our next guests up at the Radisson in Belize City. Mother Cheryl was traveling with her 18-year old twins, Liz and Tom. Liz is studying to be a zookeeper, and she had scored an internship at the Belize Zoo, so Cheryl brought Liz down, with her brother, to make sure she wasn’t flying into a situation that was completely uncivilized. Sharon doesn’t indiscriminately hand out internships at the Zoo, so the first question Tom asked when he picked them up was how Liz managed to do it, and that was the first question I asked when they arrived here. By that time they had already been at the Radisson for a few days and had already been asked the same question more than a few times, so they all realized that Liz was about to embark on an experience that is much coveted.
On the way from the Radisson to here, they had time to stop at Jaguar Paw to go cave tubing after lunch at Cheers. Tom learned something on this trip – you can rent watershoes for $3US at Jaguar Paw, so no worries if you want to do that and you don’t have watershoes and don’t want to get your own shoes wet. Cheryl, Liz, and Tom had gone snorkeling and had visited Lamanai while staying at the Radisson, so they managed to continue their string of adventures on their transfer day.
The next day they set out for the Offering Cave. Cheryl and I had emailed prior to their arrival about what tours they could do during the one full day they were here, and we decided that since Liz would be spending more time in the country, staying here was a good opportunity for them to do something that is off the standard tourist track, but still a real adventure. Gonzo showed up at 8AM with Adrian, a gentleman from London vacationing in Belize. We were just finishing a batch of banana pancakes when they arrived, and they hadn’t eaten breakfast, so their departure was delayed while Adrian and Gonzo had the full-on Moonracer Farm breakfast. They then loaded into the Montero, picked up Don Antonio in San Antonio, and headed for the cave. The road hadn’t been cleared much since the hurricane, so Don Antonio packed a chainsaw, which apparently came in very handy. Gonzo let both Liz and Tom drive the vehicle and use it to pull trees out of the road, so half the adventure from their point of view was just getting to the cave – although that was fun too. They returned here with enough daylight left for a trip up to Big Rock. Gonzo drove them there on the fire road, so that was yet another 4-wheeling adventure, and I have no doubt Cheryl returned home thinking that we don’t have any real roads here in Belize! Gonzo and Adrian stayed for dinner that night, so the fun that began at 8AM didn’t wind down until well into the evening.
The next day Cheryl, Tom, and Liz had to leave to get Liz to the Zoo, but since she didn’t need to be there until the afternoon, they had time to go to the Butterfly Ranch on their own in the morning. Then, after the very long day the day before, Liz and Tom decided they needed naps (and I do remember that college holiday feeling of exhaustion after a whole semester and getting through finals), so Cheryl, Tom, and I hung out in the kitchen palapa. For Tom and me, this was the best part of the visit, since they are from a small town south of Syracuse, NY, and Cheryl grew up in Rochester. We remembered all of the same natural disasters (blizzards and snowstorms up there!), knew all of the places each other talked about right down to the road names and landmarks, and generally bonded based on our wealth of shared experiences. Apparently you can take the people out of Upstate, but you can’t get Upstate out of the people! They didn’t have to leave until mid-afternoon, when they all got in the little blue truck with lots of hugs to head for the Tropical Education Center and Liz’s internship – which, last we heard from Sharon, was going quite well!