Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Caribbean Cruise - Day 4 - Tuesday, December 2, 2014. Belize City, Belize.

By 7:55 on Tuesday morning, I had completed my qigong practice, we had eaten breakfast and we were sitting in the Stardust theater waiting to be called to go ashore for our tour to the Mayan ruin in Altun Ha Altun_Ha. we did not wait very long before our group was called.

Because the Norwegian Jewel could not dock at Belize City Belize_City we were tendered to shore in smaller boats. We went to shore in a small, open-sided boat. On the trip to shore, the air was light and breezy, very pleasant. The boat was rocking and bobbing gently in the water as we waited for people to get on. As we traveled to shore I saw little islands or atolls around us. In the distance I could see buildings on the shore, behind us I saw our ship getting smaller and smaller. It was about a 45 minute trip from the ship to terminal #1 in Belize City. The shuttles run every half hour from the ship to shore. The shore is littered with shops and restaurants.

It took us about an hour to get to Altun Ha by bus. It was an interesting ride, the guide gave us a running commentary about Belize. At first, we thought that it might not be a bad idea to spend a few months a year in Belize when we retire but by the time we finished our tour we reconsidered that idea.

The tour in Altun Ha was interesting. As we were walking to the site the tour guide gave us background information on the Mayans and the site. In 1961 Belize City was almost completely destroyed by hurricane Hattie Hurricane_Hattie. People went to the site of Altun Ha to get stones to rebuild the city. It did not take too long before the authorities realized that this was an archaeological site. the government of Belize hired an American archeologist, Dr. David Pendergast /David_M._Pendergast who was the Field Director of the Royal Ontario Museum's ROM excavation of Altun Ha. He uncovered several tombs which we saw during our visit. In 1977 he discovered the Kinich Ahaw jade head jade head. The tour guide proudly informed us that it is the large jade sculpture to be found in that part of the world.


According to our guide, the jade head is kept in a vault in the bank of Belize and it is only brought once a year for all the Belizians to see. After the talk about Altun Ha, we were allowed to climb one of the main temples. My wife and I climbed to the top and took pictures.

After looking at the site and taking pictures, we took a walk through the gift and souvenir shops. They were expensive and not all that original, we had seen similar looking souvenirs in Cozumel. we kept seeing the same figures and images over and over again.

Back in Belize City, we were dropped off at a restaurant called the Smokey Mermaid where they gave us a glass of rum punch which seemed to go down okay and did not bother my stomach. We walked around the area a bit and \i took a few pictures of the Taiwanese embassy taiwanembassy which did not look like any embassy that I had ever seen before.

Apparently, Taiwan and Belize have very good relation. This probably accounted for the the reason why there were so many Chinese restaurants and businesses in Belize City.

All in all, it was a good day. we spent the rest if the afternoon on the upper deck of the Norwegian Jewel basking in the lovely Belizian weather. I finished reading the book that I had brought with me on the trip, Super Survivors, by David B. Feldman, Ph.D and Lee Daniel Kravitz Super Survivors. It was a book about how some people not only survive catastrophes in their lives but actually use the experiences to thrive and achieve great things. It was a good book, and inspiring book! I have to think about how to apply the learnings of this book to my own life.

We had dinner at Tsar's, a restaurant decorated in the style of a Russian palace. We found that the quality of the food and the service was much better at Tsar's than at Azur. Our order was taken promptly and the server brought our food within a reasonable period of time. The hot dishes were hot and the salads were crisp and fresh. We were finished our entire meal by 5:30 PM, at Azur we would have been still waiting for the entree to arrive. We would have stayed for desert but we wanted to see the show, acrobats from Russia. Instead, we went up to the Garden Cafe for dessert.

Picture Norwegian Jewel Tsar's Palace

We watched the Russian act called Deja Vu duo-deja-vu, they were a husband and wife team. Both of them were superb athletes, strong and controlled but able to move with grace and elegance.The performed singly and together for a full 40 minutes. The husband sang a couple of songs as well, they were incredibly entertaining.

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