Jim was sick. He was the only one who drank water from Xplor Park’s water fountain. Before he swallowed it, Beth yelled for him to stop. He spit it out but if there were any parasites in it, it was certainly too late. I’d like to think that in a big tourist attraction such as this place, the water is filtered. Either way, we now refer to this as “Montezuma’s Revenge”. This is even funnier now since as I researched Mexican water for this blog entry, an article mentions that falling ill from drinking it is referred to as “Montezuma’s Revenge”. Well, that just confirms it.
He wasn’t able to make today’s excursion to Altun Ha Mayan Site & River Wallace. I went to the Excursion desk to cancel tomorrow’s excursion expecting Jim wouldn’t be 100%. The cancellation policy is 24 hours for a refund… so I thought. Anyway, the desk was closed and Beth, Anne and I had to start our excursion.
Here’s the excursion description:
Flanked by Mexico and Guatemala on the Caribbean coast, your Carnival cruise destination of Belize offers wonderful natural attractions and ancient history. Altun Ha Mayan Site & River Wallace is just the shore excursion for you if you’d like to visit an important Mayan ruin and see Belize’s wildlife in a lush tropical rainforest.
Step aboard a boat and hang on to your hat for an exhilarating ride along Belize City’s scenic coast. Then you’ll enter the Belize River, called Rio Wallace by the Spaniards during the Conquistador rule of the New World. The Maya traders and British loggers transporting precious mahogany also used the tributary. Keep your eyes open and your camera ready for a glimpse at the natural wildlife. You just may spot crocodiles, iguanas, howler monkeys, and even feeding manatees or dolphins during your journey.
After approximately 90 minutes on the river, your tour captain will tie up at a riverside dock for 30 to 45 minutes. Take the time to purchase a local lunch and browse the gift shop for Belize souvenirs. Then board your air-conditioned motorcoach for the 45-minute ride to Altun Ha, an ancient Mayan ceremonial center that covers five square miles. Archeologists did not know about this ancient site until 1963 when Hal Ball, a pilot and amateur Mayanist, noticed the existence of the ancient site from the air. Three plazas and thirteen structures mark the epicenter with the largest of the pyramids being The Temple of the Masonry Altars. This is where, in 1965, Professor David Pendergast of the Royal Ontario Museum discovered the almost ten-pound jade head of the Sun God Kinich Ahau in the tomb of the Royal Priest. Located only seven miles from the sea, Altun Ha was also a vital trade center during the Classic Period.
Interesting huh? Even I didn’t read all that. Consider yourself enriched. So anyway, we boarded a small boat. We began the trip in the ocean, transitioned to the river in brackish water and then into fresh water. Our tour guide, Melissa (Mel), was awesome. She spotted amazing sites along the river. She’s been doing it for 13 years. We saw dolphins, but missed the manatees. Iguanas. Crocs. Howler Monkeys. Bats. Herons.
Now for the nature pics:
Above/Below: Howler monkeys!
The temps started off nice but the sun started beating down. When the boat went fast, it was OK, but when we stopped to look at wildlife, it got hot fast. After about 2 hours of river touring, we stopped at Black Orchid Resort. We ate lunch there, then boarded a bus to continue onto the second half of the excursion, the ruins. A second tour guide joined us. Mel and Therese gave us a lot of info about their country as well as the ruins. They wanted us to spread the word about Belize since tourism is 25% of their country’s employment. There. I did my part. Look it up. https://www.travelbelize.org/
We got to the ruins and for Anne and I, we were feeling pretty sun beaten and weary. There wasn’t much for shade there and the ruins were cool but you can only look at them for so long. We had a little over an hour there which was an hour too long.
Once again, the length of the excursion matched the time we were in port. There wasn’t any time to shop. Not that we wanted to anyway. Back onto the ship.
I stopped at the excursions desk to cancel tomorrow’s excursion. I explained that I tried to cancel within the required 24 hours but no one was at the desk and I had an excursion. They actually refunded the full price of Jim’s missed excursion since he was sick. And as for the scuba diving excursion, they refunded 100% of his ticket and kept 25% of mine as the cancellation fee. How awesome. That was a lot of money back in our pocket.
We played Bingo this evening. A complete waste of money. $40 a person for 3 games with a low payout of $125. Never again.
Jim was feeling better and joined us for dinner.
We probably saw a comedy show most every night but I can’t remember exactly what night was what.
Motown music trivia: nope didn’t win.
Jerry Goodspeed Ventriloquist. This was a funny show and done every well. If I remember correctly, he had 4 different dummies. He even managed to have 2 of them sing a duet together and then sing at the same time. That was impressive.