Archive for the ‘blog’ Category

Goodbye, San Ignacio. Hello, Caye Caulker!

After spending four nights in San Ignacio, the remainder of our trip was to be spent on the island of Caye Caulker. We ate our last breakfast at Parrot Nest, got a ride into town and caught the bus for a three-hour ride back to Belize City.

Dscn3183Belizeweb-1

We meant to take the express bus that would have cost about $90 US, but due to the Saturday street market going on, the express bus was being re-routed to the regular bus stop. There was some miscommunication and we got ushered onto the regular bus. It cost us $16 total for all six of us to make the trip and it wasn’t too bad. Quite an interesting experience, in fact.

Dscn3184Belizeweb-1
Dscn3187Belizeweb-1
Dscn3188Belizeweb-1

Some of the scenes through Belize City as we took a taxi to the Water Taxi terminal.

Dscn3193Belizeweb-1
Dscn3194Belizeweb-1

Waiting for the water taxi to take us to the tiny island of Caye Caulker. You can see all of our luggage there…

Dscn3196Cayecaulkerweb-1

Getting onto the boat…

Dscn3197Cayecaulkerweb-1

We are here!

323Cayecaulkerweb-1
Dscn3199Cayecaulkerweb-1
Dscn3209Cayecaulkerweb-1

Our room was a two-bedroom apartment at the Sea Dreams Hotel. It was right at “The Split” where all the swimming happens and had AC. It was a treat after our jungle accommodations.

Dscn3202Cayecaulkerweb-1
Dscn3206Cayecaulkerweb-1

The courtyard of the hotel…

Dscn3210Cayecaulkerweb-1

Breakfast on the rooftop was included. These were not icky continental breakfasts. There was no menu and each morning was a surprise. The staff would tell us what it was going to be and then bring us each a plate. The coffee was delicious and fresh-squeezed orange juice. Yum!

Dscn3212Cayecaulkerweb-1
Dscn3213Cayecaulkerweb-1
Dscn3215Cayecaulkerweb-1

“The Split” where we swam in the Caribbean Sea. The water was teeming with small fish and crabs. The sun is intense! I missed a small area on my back and it burned the first day. Luckily it was the only burn all week.

Dscn3233Cayecaulkerweb-1
Dscn3236Cayecaulkerweb-1
Dscn3241Cayecaulkerweb-1

San Ignacio, Belize Iguana Conservation Project

San Ignacio Resort Hotel (not where we stayed) has an Iguana Conservation Project open for tours. We spent an afternoon there visiting the iguanas and then stayed for lunch.

Waiting for the tour. Check out the leaf bug near the ceiling…

Dscn3119Belizeweb-1

Zoomed in…

Dscn3117Belizeweb-1

The guide taking us out to the iguanas…

Dscn3122Belizeweb-1

We spotted a Golden silk orb-weaver spider along the path. A golden web!

Dscn3125Belizeweb-1

They call them banana spiders.

Dscn3126Belizeweb-1

The iguanas scrambled up Jason’s leg to get to the food on his lap and his leg got scratched up. Pants would have been a good idea.

Dscn3133Iguanabelizeweb-1
Dscn3142Iguanabelizeweb-1
Dscn3147Iguanabelizeweb-1
Dscn3152Iguanabelizeweb-1
They kept leaping onto the kids from the handrail. Luckily I was tall enough they didn’t jump on me but the kids handled it well. They had so much fun!

Dscn3155Iguanabelizeweb-1

Then we moved over to the baby iguana cage…

Dscn3159Iguanabeizeweb-1
Dscn3172Iguanaweb-1

310Belizeweb-1
Dscn3173Belizeiguanaweb-1

Waiting for lunch…

312Belizeweb-1

Tikal National Park, Guatemala

We took a tour to Tikal in Guatemala, “one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya,” according to Wikipedia.

One of the best experiences was just driving through parts of Guatemala and getting a chance to see yet another country. Large portions of the roads were unpaved, livestock and pets roam alongside the road and run across, families lounging in hammocks outside their homes and women were seen lined up along the rivers and lakes hand washing their laundry.

Driving into the park, we stopped to see Spider Monkeys…

Dscn3015Tikalweb-1

Ceiba, the national tree of Guatemala. It’s huge!

Dscn3022Tikalweb-1
Dscn3024Tikalweb-1

Practicing their Tarzan moves…

Dscn3026Tikalweb-1
Dscn3027Tikalweb-1

Tarantula…

Img 1122Tikalweb-1
We hiked along a path about 5K to get around the site and see everything. Approximately 30% of the ruins are unearthed, they estimate.

Dscn3032Tikalweb-1
Dscn3036Tikalweb-1
Dscn3038Tikalweb-1

Temple 2…

Dscn3100Tikalweb-1

Dscn3031Tikalweb-1
Dscn3041Tikalweb-1

Temple 4, the tallest pyramid built by the Maya, is 70 meters high. Even though there are technically steps going up from the bottom, they are so steep they are not seen from the top. These pictures don’t convey how freaky it was to be looking over the tree tops.

Dscn3067Tikalweb-1
Dscn3063Tikalweb-1
Dscn3077Tikalweb-1

Simon was making me panic seeing him tripping around close to the edge….

Dscn3073Tikalweb-1

Dscn3065Tikalweb-1

What is Jason looking at? About a half inch from the top center of the pic is where a Spider monkey is lounging.

Dscn3089Tikalweb-1

(zoomed in) The monkeys were so high up…

Dscn3093Tikalweb-1
Dscn3095Tikalweb-1
Dscn3097Tikalweb-1

Whew! Lunch before the long ride back to Belize.

Dscn3103Tikalweb-1

Cahal Pech Mayan Ruin in San Ignacio, Belize

Our first Mayan Ruin experience was just a quick taxi ride up a hill in San Ignacio to Cahal Pech. It was an expansive park setting with a museum.

Dscn2958Belizeweb-1

Dscn2955Belizeweb-1

Dscn2970Belizeweb-1
Dscn2999Belizeweb-1

Can you see the Bergemans up there?

Dscn2983Belizeweb-1
Dscn2981Belizeweb-1

There was a little boy, about 6, following us around-his family works the gift shop there. I asked him if he gets to play here every day and he nodded yes. The only minor hiccup was getting a bunch a fire ants in our shoes and feeling the stings. The kids screamed as we yanked shoes off and brushed the ants out. We learned to watch out for them. The’re tiny!

Dscn3004Belizeweb-1

We were all impressed with the size of the various leaves…

Dscn3006Belizeweb-2

Dscn3014Belizeweb-2

One of the ruin tour guides explained how small the Mayans were and temples were built steep with big steps. Climbing to the top is a spiritual act that requires some effort. This is me starting the spiritual ascent. I make it look so easy, eh?

(need to locate the awesome gif that goes here)

Parrot Nest Lodge in San Ignacio, Belize

We had such a wonderful time in Belize! Now that we are home I can work on the many photos taken and start sharing them here.

This was our first international travel with our four children and it could not have gone better. We traveled extremely light, “the Rick Steves-one bag” method and it made things easy.

We used two eBags Mother Lode TLS Weekender Convertible bags for all of our clothes/packing and a smaller backpack for waters, snacks, camera and other day pack items. The eBags are exact carry-on luggage measurements and carry easily with backpack straps. We were able to travel light and avoid checking any luggage. We only packed four days worth of clothing and did laundry once during the trip. From the airport security to customs; taxi to hotel staff, we got so many comments about how light we packed. People kept asking where our bags were. “We have them right here on our backs!”

The path from the main dining and hang-out area to our cabin at Parrot Nest Lodge in San Ignacio…

Dscn3176Belizeweb-2

Our cabin…

Dscn3177Belizeweb-3
Dscn2894Belizeweb-2

No AC or TV, screens without windows, tin roof, geckos all over and the deafening sounds of crickets and tropical birds. It was fabulous!

Dscn3109Belizeweb-3

The lodge is family run and feels like home. Breakfast and dinner were served fresh and unprocessed every day. The only unhealthy food we saw the entire trip was the fake maple syrup (too far from maple trees :D) and the ketchup. Maybe I’ll need to add 3oz of maple syrup to my carry-on liquid ration next time. ha!

Dscn2904Belizeweb-1

The Mopan River right in front of the lodge.

Dscn2928Belizeweb-1

I asked the kids what their favorite part of each day was and on this day Lotus said it was when she found this flower…

Dscn2932Belizeweb-1

The main hang-out area where we chilled on hammocks and used the free wi-fi. The owner hooked the kids up with some paper and markers. A book shelf full of children’s books kept Lotie busy.

Dscn2942Belizeweb-1

This is the “toy box” I packed in the day-pack. It kept both Lotus and Simon happy on many occasions. We also brought two iPads loaded with things to watch…

Dscn2919Belizeweb-1

Many family pets hanging out with us…

Dscn2920Belizeweb-1

We ventured into town for lunch and sight seeing…

Dscn2943Belizeweb-2

Seeing all the school kids in uniform was fun. Every school is affiliated with a church and every school has their own uniform. They all bust out for lunch and return later for the second half of their school day.

Dscn2948Belizeweb-2

more of the same

We stopped by my parents house on the way to the store. I think we’ve had to go to the grocery store for single items every day this week…but that’s okay, more biking!

My brother Chris’ new bike. The handle bars are awesome. His dog, Honey rides up front.
Dscn0954Chrisbikeweb
Dscn0956Chrisandhoneyweb
Chris tries out Jason’s new bike…
Dscn0957Chrisweb
Jason tries out Chris’ new bike (with Honey)…
Dscn0958Jasontestweb
I pedaled the cargo bike with both of the big guys. I guess they wanted to relax while I huffed and puffed but I did it! I had to tell them several times to quit the shenanigans back there, they were jerking the bike all over the place. We rolled up next to a blind and nearly blind couple that ride a tandem for the second time so finally introduced ourselves. Cool folks!
Dscn0964Isaacxandercargo0413Web

bribes for biking

It takes the promise of ice cream to get these big guys to go on a bike ride apparently.

Dscn0948Bikeyicecream0413Web
Dscn0953Bikeyicecream0413Web

Family bike rides are back!

30 days of biking kind of went out the window when Jason had a seizure and scared us half to death. We were stewing in our thoughts of worse case scenarios.

But, Jason’s MRI and EEG were both negative for any abnormal findings and we are much relieved! Next week he will have a sleep deprived EEG and his broken toe evaluated by ortho but we can handle that, no problem.

To get him back onto a bike in the safest way we could think of, during his doctor ordered driving suspension, we picked up a recumbent trike off Craig’s List. He loves it! The best part is I get to cruise kid free on my bike.

20130426-193526.jpg

20130426-193544.jpg

20130426-193606.jpg

The boys wore matching shirts and I had nothing to do with it!

20130426-193622.jpg

20130426-193647.jpg

Forestry center and zoo

We stormed the forestry center museum and the kids were a blur of motion as they checked everything out. The staff tried to herd them in with a field trip group but Isaac set them straight. Whew!

The zoo was the usual sad display of caged animals. The mom and baby elephant caged and standing head to the closed door was the worst! I’m at the point where I’d like to not support it with our patronage but the kids ask to go every once in a while. A moral crossroad indeed.

20130425-100312.jpg

20130425-100343.jpg

20130425-100400.jpg

20130425-100442.jpg

20130425-100501.jpg

Onion skin dyed yarn

My friend Sally has done a ton of onion skin yarn dying, mostly using the yellow onions. She gets a gorgeous variegated yellow.

I wanted to give it a try with red onion skins. The two colors red onion skins yield are green and brown, according to this website.

Onionwheel0413
Sally helped me through my first yarn dying-I was hoping for the green but got something in between, more of a khaki color.

Dsc 0022Redonionskindyedyarn0413Web
Dsc 0048Redonionskindyedyarn0413Web
It was fun and exciting to see what comes out of the pot and I think It will make a nice sweater. Hopefully I can find a great pattern.