Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Belize Zoo

We hadn't planned on going to Belize but it made sense to head through Belize to get to Guatemala. The border crossing between Mexico and Belize went pretty well. Thanks to LifeRemotely for step-by-step instructions. Belize is an English-speaking country but many people speak Kriol (33%) or Spanish (46%) as their first language. We didn't have to exchange money because the Belize dollar is pegged at exactly double that of the U.S. dollar. We found that Belize is, unfortunately, quite a bit more expensive than it's neighboring countries.

I saw amateur pictures from the Belize Zoo about a month before we visited Belize. After this, I was sure we would visit, despite the steep price of $15/person. The zoo is very small but they keep large, jungle-y enclosures for all of the native animals.

We spent hours walking around the zoo looking at the big cats, massive birds, and cute-as-hell river otter. There was a zoo employee feeding the big cats chicken feet (ewww) so that they would come out of the jungle for the visitors to see. The sea otter was the only sad (but soooo cute) thing we saw. He paced around the enclosure seemingly lost without a companion. Later in the day we visited him a second time where he was snuggled up in a planter-pot.  This is when pictures are better than words:

Guess what he's looking at?

Scott and my grandma LOVE owls.  I think they're pretty cute too.

Getting comfortable in his pot

Our favorite cat at the zoo was the ocelot

A few more pictures of the Belize Zoo

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Drive To The Yucatan For Some Family Time

After nearly a month in one place (San Cristobal) we were back on the move again.  We zipped over to the Palenque ruins and then all the way over to the east coast of the Yucatan.  We both really liked Palenque, but mostly because we saw and heard howler monkeys over our camp spot. If you haven't heard howler monkeys before, you MUST listen to this video.

The Palenque Ruins are in a gorgeous rain forest.  Scott played Indiana Jones all day.

We drove over to the Yucatan so that we could meet up with my parents and Scott's brother in the small town of Puerto Morelos south of Cancun.  We loved the laid back, non-fancy vibe of Puerto compared to the party/all-inclusive scene in Cancun or Playa del Carmen.  In true Matthews fashion, we hung out and ate/drank lots. Dad says he had a relaxing time and I really hope they both did. One reason I think my dad is telling the truth, is that he actually READ A BOOK for the first time in my life.  That's right, I've NEVER seen my dad read a book (he reads lots of user/instruction manuals though.)

The gang on one of the piers in Puerto after a yummy lunch.  At dinner, mom got a margarita served in a large tin cup - I guess that's one way to do it.

It was really windy while we were there, so I kite boarded right off the beach from our condo. It caused quite a stir with the people staying at the condo.  It was fun providing an alternative form of entertainment for those sitting around the pool.

We washed the old salt water off our kites while enjoying the views from the upper deck of our condo

We snorkeled and visited the Mayan ruins of Tulum as well.  Just the right amount of tourist activities for their short week here.  We definitely missed my sister, Melissa and her hijo, Braxson.

We hooked dad up with some snorkeling neoprene

A few more pictures from the Palenque Ruins
Quite a few more pictures from the Family Visit in Mexico