Monday, September 20

Vacation 3

Sorry if the picture quality is low. I can send any pictures out if anyone wants. video

Sunday, August 29

Panama!


Sorry about the delay. It's been a busy summer. Part 3 will hopefully not take as long. Enjoy!

video

Monday, May 24

Vacation Part 1

Here is the first set of photos from my off season trip. Just click on the picture and it should redirect you to the video. Enjoy!


Wednesday, March 10

Early March

March came in like a lamb. The first week was great! Temperatures climbed to 50. Spring was in the air. Then the snow came. Should be a pretty stormy month. Only a month and a half left though, then spring. At least for me. I can't wait to be sitting in the tropics, in a country where they don't speak English, and the food is fresh and cheap! But I regress. Here the sun starts to make its morning appearance.
Spring conditions prevailed for a few days. Nothing like spring skiing with your pals! Soft snow, and warm weather make for some of the best days of the season. Second only to thigh deep powder days.
It's been snowing for about a week now. Heavy snow, with lots of water content. Day, night, doesn't matter, snow. And it's nice.
Mom and Dad came out for the weekend, and we had a real pleasant time. The weather was great, very warm! We went to a lovely dinner and all completely stuffed ourselves on an assortment of good eats. French onion soup, salad, mussels, squid stuffed with shrimp, beef, pork, chicken, rabbit, cheesecake, fried bananas, creme brulee, molton chocolate cake, and chocolate mouse. Delicious! I think we all slept very well that night. Thanks again mom and dad!
The winter around here brings some amazing sunsets. I'll admit I did fix this one up a little bit. As pretty as it is fixed up it does nothing to provide an accurate representation of what is seen in person. Ask anyone, I swear. 'Alpenglow, pretty.'

Tuesday, March 2

An evening at the tune center

The day starts at 4 o'clock., which is a great time of day in the mountains. The light is fantastic! Here is a stalagmite we planted, trying to get it to connect to a stalactite.
Here is a view of the repair bench. It's used for edge repairs, delams, and misc. major ski resurrections. If your skis are sitting on this bench, it's time to be shopping for new skis. Pass it along to anyone you know trying to salvage a pair of trashed skis.
The man is laying down a nice line of P-tex. P-tex is what the bottom of your skis and snowboard are made of. The extruders work alot like a hot glue gun. A long roll of P-tex is atomatically fed through the extruder which heats to temps of up to 320f!
A skis eye view of the tuning machine. After P-tex is applied to all the holes and scratches, the ski is sent through this machine. The ski is held on to by suction, then fed on a trolley through this. They pass over a rough base grind stone, a fine base grind stone, edge tuning stones, base tuning stones, and a wax wheel. If your skis are seeing this scene, they are among the fastest on the mountain. Throw some graphite wax on there (just like cub scouts) and your in for a real nice, Fast day of skiing. Not to advertise the place I work for, but it's good to take pride in your work.
And finally, Drum roll please.......... A sweet picture I took of this guy taking a video, of this guy doing a rail slide down a sweet kinked rail, on a poster that hangs in our shop. Thank you, and good night!

Saturday, February 27

Thanks once again for visiting. If any one knows how to add slideshows to the blog let me know. I had a handful more pictures but can only post five at a time, so if anyone has any ideas... Today starts with a picture that reminds us all of how powerful mother nature can be. This season has seen a terrible snowpack. Many, many avalanches have occurred. This one happened on Wasatch Mountain which sits across the valley from the ski area. This was the biggest avalanche I have ever seen evidence of. The width well over 1000 ft. Basically the whole mountain slid. Insane.
Just for fun, a quick wintery look at summer. Here, is the view from the green, looking back towards the tee, on hole 16.




We were blessed with a lovely week full of lots of terrific snow. Some of the best turns of the season were to be had. 3 ft over the weekend; followed by a few inches every night for a few days after. Bluebird skies everyday to boot! Here Andy shows off his tele prowess on a sick slack-country line.
Mali loves the snow. Snowballs could be thrown at her for days and she wouldn't stop jumping for them. She, like myself, has a terrible addiction to that frozen, white, powder. This was taken on our walk to the village core the other day. It gives you a good idea of the depth of the snow we have right now. Looks like heaven! At least one part, I also have a feeling there is beaches where it never rains, where the reef causing the perfect break is too deep to get tangled in. A place where the singletrack is always tacky. A place where the fish are always biting and the rapids always flowing. A place where the beer flows like wine...
This little gem sits on the side of the XC ski trail by my house. Looks awful fun. Might just have to posthole up and hit it, eh?

Monday, February 15

Thanks Mom and Dad


My wonderful parents got me a new camera for my birthday, so I can now post photos again. Here's a few to get started. Hopefully with many more to follow. Here's the cat doing his best to be annoying.






Here's Mali, thinking the camera might just taste like chicken.














And a pile of boards waiting for some wax.



Sunday, October 18

Via ferrata Pt2

If you missed the first part of this post please scroll down and read that first, it'll all make a little more sense that way.

Here is a view that picks up on the last post. The last picture in that post was me sitting on the trail part of this photo.
It kind of shows the exposure I've been talking about. Yah there is a trail, but it doesn't always look like there is a trail. This a typical scene. Big cliffs.

Here is a nice shot of all of our crew. This section was about what 80 percent of the trail looks like. Not to bad.


Here is Stu and Andy walking through an easy section of trail.


This was one of the first sections that could feel a little sketchy. A little ledge for your feet but iron holds for your hands. Looking down at this point your not to high up, maybe 40 or so feet. The trail then widens back up, and this part is maybe only 25 ft long or so.


And finally, the crux of the route. Here is Andy and Stu at the "monkey bar" section of the route. This is absolutly phenomenal. You climb out around this knuckle on the iron ladder. In the middle of the ladder you look down and see nothing for hundreds and hundreds of feet and then finally the ground. Brilliant! Thats about it for the route. Not to much further to the end from here. it was definatly one of the coolest things I've done in a while and I recomend it. If any one wants to come out I'll be your guide! Also thanks to Ryan Truen for the photos, Cheers mate!









Via Ferratta Pt 1



The cool thing in town to do these days seems to be Via ferrata. Everyone has been talking about it. So Andy came to town I had the day off so we decided to give it a go. For those not familiar with via ferrata; it was developed in the Dolomites of Italy, 'By way of the iron road' i believe it translates. The basic idea is that someone bolts an iron ladder across or up the rock with a cable to protcect against falls, and you can hike in more places. This via ferrata route is on Ajax Peak, which you can see from town.





The hike up follows a creek bed. This was an amazing part of the hike. It reminded me very much of the grand canyon. Very colorful, steep, and many water carved rocks. Here, Stu basks in the awe of the river bed.









The river bed, as is common in these parts, had a lot of old mining trash in it. Here is an old bull wheel. The wheel is a little taller than myself. I always find it interseting to see these aspects of the past. The valley was a completly different place last century. I think I could have done well in the mining era. It would've been awful cold though!



Here is a nice picture of town from the begining of the route.




At the begining of the route there are signs, "experienced climbers and mountaineers only Technical terrain beyond" Good thing I spent all that time climbing in college instead of going to class! This is the first cable that we encounter on the route. It isn't really needed but it is a nice comfort for a lot of people. The exposure here is not too bad. You are maybe 10 or 15 feet of the deck, although you would roll down a steep hill for a while if you slip. Might as well clip the cable.




Here I am enjoying a sit early on. We were with a big group so there was plenty of time to spend relaxing and enjoying the views. This picture is a somewhat typical view. Narrow trail flanked by a straight vertical wall going up on oneside and down on the other. The side going down varies in elevation from about 20 feet to 300 or so. You get pretty comfortable with the exposure, but it's still best not to look down to often. Not a place for those scared of hieghts.

Monday, July 13

Desert Lovin'

The return to the old photos continues. I'm really hoping to have a new camera within the next week so stay tuned.

We start our journey today with a trip to the Grand Canyon. This is one of the handfull of impressive waterfalls in the canyon. It is spring fed and thus always flowing. I forget the name of it but is around thunder river falls. This is the point at which we gained the trail for a few miles.


Everytime I have ever gone backpacking in the grand this is the view of the top. It has snowed every single time the day we drop beneath the rim. This was the last trail we would see for a few days.

It's almost a suprise we only took 4 Liters of booze. There were four of us, and we were out for 14 days. Sure would of been nice to have a little more for the walk out of the park to the nearest gas station. Then again we shouldn't have been out of gas anyways!



Not quite the grand canyon. But I present you...The San Rafael Swell. Pretty nifty spine. It always impresses me.

And of course we can't have a post without sending a shout out to our good friend winter. Seen here is the NW face of Little Wasatch. Lets all keep our wishes towards an epic winter. Only 4 more months!




Friday, July 10

I don't know if it's a good idea...

So I have at least been working a decent amount

lately and should be able to get a new camera anyday. Summer has been rough without one. So many missed photo ops in a breathtakingly beautiful setting of seasons. Soon enough though. In the mean time I did find some fun older pics.


Mali loves runnig through the brush. She also like mountain bikes, snowboarding, long hikes in the woods, rolling in mud, and her unlce Billy. She would love you too if you were to ever visit!















A few summers ago Andy and I thought it'd be fun to take my new 4wd vehichle over a few rugged mountain passes to go ski Mt Handies. Let me tell you it was fun. A great trip. The view from the top of the mountain was amazing. There is nothing like looking over a field of snowcapped mountains, then strapping on your board and heading back to where you must look up to see the sky!

A random tree in Southwest Utah.



Another pretty Telluride sunset!







And just incase you haven't seen it enough (immortalized by the coors light can) Mt Wilson.


Sunday, May 24

MMM, Food.

Well, I just finished a delightful evening entertaining friends with some tacos. MMM, tacos. The food in Mexico and Belize did something to me. I can't exaclty say what it was...The farm of a house keepers that we went to. With avocados, pineapples, guava, bananas, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cilantro, habaneros, lime, mango, carrot, chickens, boars, royal rats, coconut. I had my first fresh coconut here. Big and green, not like the brown ones you usually see. Chop the top off, drink the delicious milk. (it's clear and almost tastes like it's carbonated) Then slice off some off the side, split the thing in half, and use your slice for a spoon to eat the meat. Don't worry if you can't eat it all the dogs will finish up.

Or maybe it was the street vendors, all with very cheap food. Small portions. A snack for $.50 makes me happy.

Or maybe it was the fresh fruit stands. No refridgeration, but at least you know the stuff came from a place very close to the street you are walking down. The climate is about perfect for growing most produce.

Or maybe it was the fact that everything was fresh and cheap. Some things were odd. On the island, Mellissa noted, Velveta was kept in the fridge while fresh queso on the shelves. Also a rat got into the candybars. Not a big deal if you ask me. Just dont buy cheese, and make sure your candy bar is not chewed into, or you M&M's a buch of rat turds! It wasn't that bad in actuality, but I just feel 18 hours is the most to let some cheeses set out. After that I just can't eat them.




Breakfast-The Most Important Meal of the Day

It's such a great time of day on vacation. That time when you wake up. Not get up. Wake up. You still lie in bed. Maybe rise enough to get a peek at the sunrise. Oh Glorious Oceanside Sunrise! But you're not awake. You just wake up, thinking, about the crazy dream you had last night. The one that was procured through a day of not hearing much english, expectations of the new day, and something you have never seen before. But more than that you're thinking of breakfast. You know what it is going to be. Eggs, rice, beans, maybe some quesso, maybe some fry jack or toast, and usually a fried plantain. Delicious! In Mexico, Heuvos Rancheros, or Heuvos Montellenos are king, maybe have some ham or fresh fish with it. In Belize bananas.

Another nice thing about Belize...Habeneros everywhere! Almost any place you eat will have spiced your food with them, and most use them as a garnish. So many good hotsauces. I could get used to this.


FRESH FISH!


I had been thinking about fresh fish since the day I decided, the thought of the beach, was the only thing that could get me through christmas time at the shop.

I have always had an intersting relationship with seafood, lakefood too. It's not that I don't like it, or didn't. Some of my best food memories were of camping with my dad catching many trout in a day and cooking up the best of the catch in a foil packet with lemon butter and olive oil over a very large pile of coals! Sometimes though I just haven't been able to do it. I once ate a shrimp with the shell on, it almost ruined it for me. I could never do shell fish. Oysters, clams, the texture was just too much. My grandma used to take me to the all you can eat seafood buffet at the casino. The frog legs were great, best meat I had ever tasted. After about four of them, though, I started thinking about the animal I was eating and could eat no more. Luckily for me I have overcome these childish notions of food, and am now willling to try just about anything.

When I was a kid we used to ride our bikes to the creek and fish out crawfish. We all thought they were kinda cool, but definatly gross. What kind of animal only has one claw! Last year I finally ate one. Yup, I'm not from the south. It went a little like this....

I was sitting at the bar one night, actually one of THE nights, you know, fat tuesday. The cook from the BBQ joint down the street came in and traded a couple or five pounds of crawfish for a beer and a few shots. They sat for a while. Like a big pile of bugs, or roaches, roaches of the sea. no one really ate them. We dared each other, but still no. So, I says to mayble, I says "If you eat one I'll eat one." and Mayble says, she says, "Ok." So we tried them. Ripped 'em in half, tore the meat out of their bellies and stuffed it in our mouths. Wow. Delicous. A girl comes in the bar. She starts eating the crawfish. She does it a little different though. Instead of throwing out the head...she sucks the brains out! So I says to Mayble, I says "I'll suck the brains out if you do." And Mayble says, she says "OK." So we do. We start sucking the brains. The brains of all the little roaches we tore the bodies off of. Delicious. So maybe I learned something. Maybe I learned something that night, from a little drunk southern girl. Maybe I learned that it might be good to have an open mind, about one of the only three things that matter to our survival. The other two are always the same; maybe we should thoroughly enjoy the one necesity we have that can be spiced up, and is available in many, many different forms. I will never pass up a chance to have a new food.

But, I regress, back to Belize. Ahh, fresh fish. Belize is maybe 70 miles (at very most) wide. This means that the ocean is within an hours driving distance from the most mainland part of the country. Most places being located on the ocean or rivers. Mmm, fresh fish. The ceveche is amazing. So simple, so perfect. Dinner on the island...you walk down the street past ten or so places all with chalkboards with their catch of the day. There is a good chance you saw that very fish pullled in that day, at least brought off the boat. Red snapper abound. Also shrimp, grouper, and barracuda. All of which are not to good environmentally, as mass fishing and rising mercury levels have harmed the waters, but are all caught here by local fisherman, on small boats, just making a living. It's nice knowing the meal your eating was just pulled from the ocean in the last two or three hours. I could get used to this.



Taco's. Better than Pizza?

The best part of the whole trip...Taco's. Taco's maybe arent' what you're thinking of. All taco's here are corn tortillas. Usually made that day. Small. I could usually eat six. Once with David, I asked for six shrimp taco's. He said, "why don't you start with 4 or 5." I said, "ok 5, I'm really hungry." I ate my six, and they were delicious. Later he asks me if I could eat Eight. I say, "Maybe, Six was good, I hadn't eaten much all day. Eight, though, Eight, Make my stomach very big, and painful." Nothing like a taco with some fresh lime and cilantro, though, especially when they're $.50 a piece.



AHHHH! The swine flu!



So I'm in Tulum one day, the next I'm in Orangwalk, then Caye Caulker. In Tulum everything is fine. Orangewalk, also fine. Caye Caulker, the guesthouse owner tells me that there is a new flu in Mexico. All of the people I meet can't belive that I am going back to Mexico. I hear that the border is closing. I don't really believe all of it. I was just there three days ago. It was fine. So I go on. People still keep talking about it though. Swine flew in Mexico. Stop eating pork. If I were one to worry this may be the time to do it. Luckily, I am not the type to worry at all. I waited til the day before I was planning on leaving Belize to look at the news. See if all these stories were true. See if the borders really were closed. See if the airline will move my flight to Belize City. See if I might possibly, for the love of god, be stuck here. stuck on an island with nothing going on. An island I could lose years on. See if maybe, for once, I might be the lucky one who gets to make that great and fatefull call to work saying sorry, I'm stuck here. I think I'm going to stay. See if maybe, my friends could take care of my dog for maybe just a few months until I found a way to make enough money to book her flight down here. It didn't quite work out that way. I checked the web. Seemed like a bunch of rubbish to me. Also the airline wouldn't do much but cancle out the rebooking fee on a flight. Some pandemic.

I get back to Mexico and all the border control is weraing surgical masks. The agents were still friendly but you see no smiles through the masks. The fee to leave Belize is something like $18.50 US. I get up to the counter and have $20 US.

"You must go get exact change."

"Um," tired and not wanting to get out of line to go get change and then go to the back of the line, I reply, "Can you just take the twenty and not give me any change?"

"Ah, yes, thank you sir."

I am through customs with a nod.

I try to exchange my cash, but only have $5 BZ. and that is too small for the money changers. I think they could have given me twenty pesos, but I gues I have some foriegn currency now. Go through Mexico Imigration. More dust masks, more rifles.

I arrive in Chetumel. I somewhat remembered where the bus station was, from our previous drive in, so I walked for a while before finding a taxi. The taxi was fine but I had no small change and ended up paying about 15 pesos more than the ride should have cost. Lesson learned. Always carry small bills, and change.

Once in Tulum, it was back to the familiar faces and places, very enjoyable. Here no one is worried about swine flu. The local newspaper sensationalizes the story on the main page, but also compares it to the cucucabre. It could be just a story to cover up other stories going on right now, it claims. No one is wearing dust masks here though, and the local vibe is that it is not a big deal.

I catch the collectivo a few days later. I am going home. David suggests the collectivo to Playa Del Carmen, and then to Cancun. He says it will be cheaper. It was a little cheaper. But...I get off the collectivo in Play del Carmen. I remember the city vagely from our bus ride through a few weeks ago. I start walking aroud looking for the bus station. I think I am getting close, when I see a map. Not areal map, who would look at a real map. It is one of those semi cartoonish maps. It says the bus station is about 6 or so blocks from where I am at now, but the oppisite way. So, I turn around, start walking. I get to where the map said the bustation was. Nothing. Just a walmart. I ask a few policia.

"Donde esta de ADO?"

"No comprende."

Okay.

Finally I stop by a hotel. The bell boy tells me the bus station is 2 blocks away. Off I go. Three or four block later I arrive at the bus station. Head to the ticket counter.

"Cancun airpeurto, por favor"

"(lots of spanish)"

"Habla englis? Mi habla espanol..eh..picado.?."

"Oh, there are no buses for that here. You must go to the other bus station. It is six blocks down."

Th man behind me gives me more specific directions.

The real bus staion is half a block from the beach. I looked at it. Nice but crowded. It's 11am and its hot! I've been walking around the city for over an hour and I need something cool. There is a Mcdonalds across froom the bus station. I told myself I wouldn't eat at a place like that the whole trip. (after all that pre trip excitment of food) But it was 95 degrees and I knew MC would have some ice cream, ice, and most improtant, AC. I walk in feeling like I just solved all the worlds problems. "Large Vanilla shake, por favor."

"no, no shake yet."

great. Haven't been too a mickey d's since. If it's 95 degrees outside at 7 in the morning you should serve ice cream at 7 in the morning.

At the airport the make you fill out a survey. Have you been coughing? Have you been throwing up? Have you had loose stools?

Then you fill it out and they point a gun at your head that take your temp. Not cool. I felt like coughing on all of the people who were wearing dust maks. I decided against it. Those people probably dont need any more fear in thier lives.


And that pretty much sums it up. Hope you enjoyed my stories!

Friday, May 22

Vacation Round 2




After the few very enjoyable nights in Orangewalk, we took the bus to Belize City. The buses in Belize are mostly old school buses from the US. Not bad, but the buses were made for elementary students, not adults, and not made to be standing room only! Nice Bus Ride. More sugar cane and cinderblock-slab concrete structures. The bus stops often. For anyone waiting on the side of the road. There is trash everywhere. Mexico as well. Not just a little trash. A lot. Everyone throws it out of the bus windows. It sits lying on the ground. Thousands of plastic bottles a mile. Someone thinks of making millions recycling. The bus rolls on.To the unknown. The largest city in the country. Belize City. Formerly the capital of Belize. Now nothing but what seems to be bums and drunks in a severely poverty stricken part of the country. The bus stop is dirty. The vendors sell conch fritters for $.75 BZ. The girls say the bathroom's the worst they've ever been to. Outside thirty-some Belizeans all stand trying to book you a taxi ride, water or land. We walk. Interesting. Right through downtown. Drunks, bums, cops, first dirty looks I have received in the country. To the water taxi station. Standing. Waiting in line. A man starts to chat.

'How long you been in line? Since this morning?'

'Might as well have been,' I reply.

'Yeah, they're so slow here, and they don't post the ticket prices. I always tell 'em they need a sign. Don't pay more than $25 BZ for your ticket. You'd know that if there was a sign.'

'Yup, you sure would.'

Good guy. Owns a guest house on Caye Caulker. And builds furniture. Told me a few good places to stay.



'Some people don't do well here. They come planning on being here for a week or more, and after a day or so, I don't know, they just can't take it anymore. They have to go to San Pedro. It's too slow here for them.' The guy tells me.

'Good. That's the way I like it.' I reply.

I walk off the pier. My first step onto a paver inscribed 'Go Slow'. We check in to a guest house. Not bad. Two beds. A private bath. A table and chair. A patio. Hammocks. 100 steps to the nearest beer selling establishment.$25 BZ. It's not on the beach, but a walk to the front of the property. You can look either way down the street. See the ocean. Nice. We settle in and go to see the island.


Main Street Caye Caulker. Not much happening. About a half mile long. Mostly bars and restaurants. Scuba shops as well. We walk it. We turn around. We walk it again. We turn around. We walk it again. A few beers on the way from the many convenience shops along the way. Very nice. First mistake. Why am I wearing sandals. Streets of sand. No cars. Maybe one or two, for deliveries and picking up trash. Rastas everywhere. Need some Spinach, mon? A big painting on the police department warning of harsh penalties for illegal drug use. Everyone on bikes. Everyone barefoot. I walked around the Island once. It was nice. I could live here. Gotta drink water though. You don't-You could pass out. Heat exhaustion ya know.

Day 3. Caye Caulker. Wake up. Get proper. Go eat. Come back. Lay in hammock. Doze off. Get up. Go get a beer. Walk down main street. Sit on beach. Look at shells. Doze off. Wake up. Check out the split. See some friends. Chat. Get a beer at Lazy Iguana. Swim. Head back to cabana. Ice cream. Cold Shower. Rum Drink. Dinner. I&I Reggae Bar. Cold shower. Bed with fan blowing on me. A typical day on the Island. I don't think I'll be heading to San Pedro. Especially after today. Today was not a typical day. Today, we headed to the reef. The second largest reef on the planet. We traveled by sailboat. 20ish people. Sailing. Amazing. Nice wind. We seem to make good progress. First dive. It's been awhile since I've donned a mask and snorkel but I'm the first off the boat. The water's not too deep. 5-30 ft. The coral is amazing. So colorful. You can see for 150 ft. There are sharks. Turtles. Stingrays. Barracudas. Grouper. Angelfish. A lot of fish. The dive last fourtyfive minutes they say. Felt like 5. I could get used to this. Two more stops. Many more fish. Good jungle juice on the way back. Our main sail broke. We jibbed it back. Slow. Nice. New burn on my back.
New day. Kayaking. Around the north Island. New friends. Long paddle. Dolphins though. Right by the boats. I could get used to this.
Soon. Back to Tulum. I stay here for a few days.With my friend David. We drink and have a good time. He takes me with his family to some ceenotes. We crawl through the dense jungle. Mostly crouched. Sometimes on hands and knees. For 200 yds. A pond appears. Deep too. And crystal clear. 500 yds from the sea. The water cool and refreshing. No salt. My skin feels nice. There is no bottom in site. Many ceenotes are in caves. This one I feel has no end. Much better than the ocean.
Mmmm, pineapple. One per plant. One year to harvest. So yummy. Can't wait to talk about food. Stay tuned. Also, thanks for enduring the new tone. Sorry if it was hard to follow. You can blame whatever author(s) you feel were responsible for that influence on me.

Wednesday, May 6

Technical difficulties

So to make a short story even shorter, I left my camera in a cab in Mexico. So always remember your cab number. That being said I pirated some photo's to narrate my story. (I am not so good at writing without them.) The first installment is up, but I am having trouble with blogger not letting me add images right now so it may be a little bit for the next installment.

VIVA LA MEXICO


We started our trip in Tulum, after a short bus ride from Cancun. This is where we stayed for a few nights. It was a nice and quiet place, had a bar with swings and nice matresses on the beach. Needless to say after not recieving sun for 8 months my skin got fairly burned and I spent the second day mostly under shade.



Here are the ruins at Tulum. It was cool to see my first mayan ruins, but it was very hot, there were thousands of dumb american tourists, and I was slightly hungover from the precelebration of Mellissa's birthday the night before. A top of all that the taxi was 30 more peso's to leave the ruin than it was to get there. We made it back for some more beach time and a little bit tamer eveneing of live salsa music for the birthday girl.






After a few days in Tulum it was time to make our way south. The buses in Mexico were nice, and not too expensive. It cost about $20 US to get to Belize from Cancun. An easy border crossing lead to fields and fields of sugar cane. When the sugar cane is ready to be harvested they set the whole field afire. This is to flush out any snakes, asps, rattlers and what not. Then the cane is harvested and sent to the refinery. At the refinery there was the blackest smoke coming out of the smoke towers than I have ever seen. Belize mainly exports its its sugar to the UK, as you may know Belize was formerly known as British Hondurus, and has only been it's own country since 1981. Here is a view of the main downtown of Orangewalk, Belize. Not much goes on here, but I got great Taco's, 3 for $.50 US.



The purpose of staying in Orangewalk was, for us, to take a trip up river to the mayan ruins of Lamana(submerged crocodile). When we got off the bus we were instantly greeted by someone wanting to book us on their tour (not unusual). However, this was unlike Mexico, the man trying to get us on his tour seeemed guinuinly interested in our good fortune. In mexico most who approached wanted money, in one way or another. So he helped us find a hotel even though his hotel was full, and even tried to negotiate the room price for us. A start of a trend?



The trip up the New River to Lamanai was great. It's a 33 mile trip by boat. On the way we saw many birds, crocodiles, iguanas, and monkeys. Some spider monkeys even came to hang out in the boat with us! At the ruins we heard the other species of monkey native to Belize, the howler monkey. These guys usually just hang out slothfully in the trees. At the ruin we hearad all of the sudden, RWOOROWORWO, or something. Mellissa and I both looked at each other like 'was that a Jaguar we just heard.' "No just the howler monkey's" the guide said. I guess most people have a similar reaction! The ruins were nice. There were not so many people, and we could climb to the top of the temples. They have cruise ship tourists here, but they book them on different days than the private guides, and they are not allowed to climb the temples. Belize is very good about protecting its historic sites, as well as its natural ones. Over 40% of Belize is national park.