Lounging here by the side of the infinity pool, watching clouds drift across an impossibly blue sky, serenaded by parrots and other tropical birds while enjoying an ice cold beer, it’s hard to process the images we received this morning from our friends in New York.
White mountains of snow with cars buried beneath, people leaning into freezing winds, roads clogged and residents breaking out their snow shovels, it looked like winter on steroids.
And Boston looked even worse.
I put down the tablet and jumped in for another swim, thinking how amazing it was that all of this was happening just a few hours away. And when she-who-is-often-skeptical joined me, I could tell from her smile that I was still enjoying hero status.
Last month she wasn’t so sure when I suggested we take our main vacation early this year and spend it in Belize. For me, it was a snap decision that began with a coworker coming back to the office with a healthy looking tan, fresh attitude and stories of what sounded like the best two weeks one could imagine.
“It’s the most amazing place I’ve ever been,” she said, “On one side of the country you have these huge wilderness areas filled with ancient Maya temples and ancient cities, and on the other the Caribbean Sea and all these little islands and coastal villages and resorts, all protected by a huge barrier reef. The people are really friendly and, to top it off, everyone speaks English!”
She pulled out her smart phone to show us some pictures, and that clinched it. Now I just had to sell the idea back home.
Which actually wasn’t too hard. Once the novelty of being overseas during a time when we’re usually at home was overcome, it was just a matter of remembering what last winter was like and contrasting that against my friend’s descriptions of their tropical sojourn. And after we got on the computer and checked out Belize and the Chaa Creek website and Travel Blog I was told about, the next move was simple.
Call the travel agent.
And then came pleasant surprise number two. For a little off-the-beaten track place, Belize is incredibly easy to get to. We left that morning from JFK and with one stop in Atlanta were in Belize just after noon and in time to be met by a friendly driver who whisked us to Chaa Creek in comfort, pointing out sights during the pretty drive. Did we want to stop in the Belize Zoo, or save to for the return trip? We opted for the direct route, and before we knew it we were being greeted by the friendliest staff I’ve seen anywhere, given a nice cold welcoming drink and guided through beautiful gardens to our lovely thatched-roof suite.
That was a few days ago, although it seems like we’ve been here for longer, given all the things we’ve done and the easy familiarity we have with the staff. Even Mick and Lucy, the owners,stopped by our table one night to ask how we were enjoying our stay and if there was anything they could do for us.
Well, they couldn’t. So far it’s been absolutely perfect. The service is attentive without being in your face, the food is marvellous, and with swimming, horseback riding, canoeing and miles of jungle trails to explore, we haven’t wanted for anything. There’s a great little onsite museum, butterfly farm and other attractions, and we still haven’t been up to the Hilltop Spa, which gets rave reviews.
So far we’ve been quite happy to take it easy and unwind while taking in all the beauty of this amazing place. In the next couple of days we’ll visit some of the ancient Maya cities and temples and do the downriver canoe trip into San Ignacio Town, and a visit to the Maya ceremonial cave known as ATM, or Actun Tunichil Muknal is definitely in the cards after hearing Indiana Jones -type stories about the stone altars and tons of artefacts from other guests.
We originally planned to go out to the Belize Great Barrier Reef and explore the Caribbean, but now we’ve decided to save it for another trip. We’re just having too good of a time right where we are, and there’s no doubt we’ll be coming back to Belize. It already feels like home, and now that we know how easy and affordable it is, I have a feeling it is going to become a second home.
So while we sympathise with our friends and relatives up north, we’re quite happy to be where we are, thank you very much, and the severe weather back home is a stark contrast to what we’re enjoying right now.
Such as having she-who-is-no longer-skeptical disappear and come back with another cold drink for each of us.
“Thanks!” I said.
“Hey, when yuh hot, yuh hot,” was the reply. And it came with a great big smile.
Yep, I’ve definitely risen in her opinion over the last few days, and I’m milking it for all it’s worth.
It’s great being hot. Especially when it’s not too hot. More like having it made in the shade.