This was our second trip to AC, after being there just this past Christmas and getting withdrawals so bad, we had to go back as soon as we could. I tried to keep this short & sweet, but it's just too much fun to share in a short post.........
Uneventful trip down, Vic & I flew Continental from Milwaukee thru Houston to Belize City, then Mayan Air to San Pedro. Stayed at the Mayan Princess, which we really enjoy. During the week we had the floor to ourselves most of the time, filled up a bit more on the weekends - I love the off-season!! It's pretty much in the thick of things - I get to wave at the Amigos del Mar boys every morning when I walk out on the balcony in my PJs, but I enjoy sitting and watching everyone go by - and it's a great location to catch the tamale & meat pie vendors as they walk down the beach - they just toss the food up to you, delivery at it's finest!!
Spent the first day stocking our frig (got soda/beer/water directly from the distributor by the airport), and re-acquanting ourselves with the island. Noticed definitely more cars/trucks, but less dogs. And alot more of the dogs we saw seemed to have collars, and were in better health. I'm hoping that's because people are keeping their animals closer to home instead of letting them run. Also seemed to get hit up by more kids this year - bracelets, soccer donations, etc. - probably because there weren't as many gringos on the island to hit up. Did learn something interesting - that if they ask for school donations, they should have a letter from their school, with a stamp & signature from their principal. Of course, this doesn't mean that the money will end up where it's supposed to, but I did give a couple of kids asking for school donations a start when I asked for their letter - they kind of mumbled something and walked away. Tho one kid just looked me right in the eye and told me I should give him money anyway - a shyster at age eight, gotta love it, if it wasn't so sad.
Dove with Amigos - George, Mikey, Juan were fantastic - even got Sabas to ride out with us one day, which was a treat. Changa & Melanie put alot of work into their outfit, and it shows - their service really is great, whether you're a new or experienced diver. They remembered us from our previous visit, and knew without us telling them that I need a little extra help (I'm a more nervous diver), and Vic is just fine being left on his own. We had a tropical swell come thru while we were there, which caused dives to be cancelled a couple of days, and the days we did dive were pretty choppy (3-5 foot waves), but they chose dive sites that kept us out of the worst of it. Vis was pretty murky, but it was still great - saw a bunch of rays, nurse sharks, trumpetfish, jewfish, morays (big one!), spotted eels. I got 3 days of diving in, Vic got 5 plus a night dive (I bailed out on the really choppy days).
Did Cave Tubing with Elito at Seaduced - everyone was right, he really was a blast. Because it was a cruise ship day, we went to the zoo first instead of tubing right away. Elito's been so many times that he knows each animal's names and habits. He got the howler monkeys howling, which was amazing to hear, and he knew which animals were okay to get closer to, and which ones to watch out for (and which ones can pee on you from 10 feet away!). He asked everyone's name at the beginning of the trip, and memorized them - we saw him several times after the trip, and he always made sure to call us by name - even remembered where we were from. An excellent people person. Got to hold the boa constrictor around my neck - that's an amazing reptile, and a great photo op. And cave tubing was really cool - we passed a cruise ship group as we were heading in (with Elito making sure we weren't going the same place they did). A mob of 40+ people, and it was sad to see all the trash they left on the side of the river. One thing to remember - Elito does not give 5-minute warnings - when he said it was time to move on to the next activity (get on the bus, head for the river), you better go!! I was calling him Drill Sargeant Elito (teasing, of course) by the time we were done - but he made sure we were home before dark, and it was cool watching the sunset as we sped back to San Pedro. Oh, and the trek thru the jungle to get to the tubing spot was very easy - 20-30 minutes max, a little muddy, but not strenuous at all (and my idea of exercise is getting up from my computer to put more paper in my printer). It was great to hit that 68 degree water after sweating through the zoo and jungle. Several people went barefoot, which wasn't bad for the jungle walk (if you don't mind mud squishing thru your toes), but they were sorry when they got to the water - lots of rocks. We wore our scuba booties, which worked out perfect.
Took the ferry over to Caye Caulker one day. It was nice to stroll around, even tho it was a cloudy, windy day with several squalls. And we got to stop at Rasta Pasta - and feed a little scruffy stray cat some of our food, since the portions were way too large to finish in one sitting, tho they were so good we gave it our best. It's a great little town, much quieter than San Pedro.
Most of our evenings were spent at either Cholo's or Fido's, hanging out with Lauri & Brandy from the boards (lodell35 & brandyk), who were a blast. We're really glad we hooked up with them - I don't think I've laughed that hard in a long time. Also ran into Rick & Cheri one nite at Fido's - they were having a blast, and Rick made sure we felt very welcome (before his unfortunate head-banging incident). And of course, I would be amiss if I didn't mention our favorite bartender, Dready at Cholo's - he really is a wonderful guy, and a killer foosball player. And his helper, Martin, is a real sweetie - he's quiet and pretty shy, but once you get him talking, he's alot of fun - he kept me company several times while Vic was playing endless foosball games with Dready.
Favorites for food - street vendors, Ambergris Delight for Seafood Pizza, Jambel Jerk Pit for Jamaican Me Crazy Shrimp - spicy! (lobster/fish special was fantastic too), Papi's for their lobster, cheeseburgers, fried chicken (also great fries), Lily's for lobster omelot and fantastic breakfast potatoes with sausage gravy (more like a hollandaise cheese sauce - yum!!).
Even though I'm not a constant poster on this board, I've been reading it religously for the past 18 months, and the stuff I learned here really made our trips special - thank you so much to all of you!!. It was a fabulous vacation, particularly made so by the warm, wonderful people of AC. After spending 10 days of saying hello and smiling to everyone I pass, I'm finding it hard to put back on my 'city' face. So until the glow fades, I'll just deal with having people think I'm weird when I say good morning to total strangers - sometimes they're even smiling back!!
Vic & Janet