Copal Tree Lodge Belize and then home. Friday January 10, 2020

Good morning!

Today is going to be a long day of much sitting in planes, airports and then cars. We will not be home until very early Saturday morning. Enjoy our last few moments in paradise and our long trip home!

First is my morning coffee with lots of foam!

I had two eggs over medium with bacon and toast. Steve had scrambled eggs and since he forgot to order bacon I was sweet and shared mine. I am such a sweetheart!

A small plate of fruit with my last breakfast.

I wanted to use the video that Bunny took of her shower as she did such a good job holding the phone steady but she didn’t bring her phone to dinner last night. So here is my video. When I showed you the shower the other day, it was only a picture. You couldn’t really see how magnificent it was!

Our bags were all packed and ready to go.

I made sure to return the room key. There was a $100 charge if you didn’t bring it back. We never even used it to lock the room. I should have just left it at the front desk the first day!

These are the only Jaguars we saw all trip.

Goodbye front desk manager!

Today we got to take the van. All our other trips had been in the Land Rover. The van was air conditioned and I didn’t have to worry about getting dust in my eyes. That was nice, but I enjoyed bouncing around in the Land Rover also.

Steve doesn’t look to happy to be leaving. I was looking forward going home and to hang out on the couch in our house!

It was a short drive to the airport. Town was very busy as it was market day. A day trip to Punta Gorda is offered twice a week for market day. I think I might do that next year, but not when it is so hot and muggy. I think it would be very interesting to see all the products that some of the Mennonites have for sale.

Inside the Tropic Air terminal. It also doubled as the post office!

This is an activity I chose not to do.

Hiking, swimming, more hiking, all in a dark cave that required head lamps. No thank you!

Permission granted to board the plane.

Although the man is wearing a plaid shirt, he is not Steve. This man manages Copal Tree from New Hampshire. He comes every few weeks to make sure that all is running smoothly. The staff at CTL is incredibly personable and seemed to be very happy. Many of the team remembered us from last year. It was a pleasure to stay there.

The plane was given a good hose down to get rid of all the dirt and schmutz.

Good bye Punta Gorda! See you next time.

Here you can see the reef around the islands. the deep water is a much darker color.

It was very cloudy at times. Good thing we were flying via the computers!

The rivers were very sinuous! The roads are straight though.

Agriculture and lots of islands from the air!

This is Harvest Caye an island that Norwegian cruise ships land at. Last year there was a cruise ship parked here. Look how long the walkway is to get to the island!

Here is a short video of what you can do on the island. It looks incredible. Imagine how much fun it would be if the ship just parked here all week and you just hung out on the island all week!

At Dangriga, our last stop before Belize City we had a lot of passengers get on the flight. The copilot left the plane so another passenger could board the plane. Steve was instructed to move from behind the copilot to the copilot seat!This is where Steve was supposed to sit.

As Steve couldn’t figure out how to get out of his seat and into the crew seat (not because Steve is stupid, but because he is big and the space was really small), the manager of Copal Tree Lodge sat there. Even he had trouble getting from his seat to the front!

He was very interesting to talk to. Too bad I only got to meet him on the way to the airport today. Lucky for him I only met him today! He manages Copal Tree Lodge and a private shooting lodge in South Africa. As it is very private I will never go there. The owner only lets his friends stay there. I will have to research this so I can get invited there. Wish me luck!

Well remember my post the first day about how much wealthier I thought the town of Placencia was based on the airport? Well, I was slightly wrong. I do think that there are many more expensive houses there. But it is Maya Aviation that has the more expensive terminal. Tropic has the non fancy buildings. Dangriga and Placencia have both Tropic Air and Maya terminals. In Punta Gorda, there is only a Tropic Air terminal.

This is Dangriga airport. The Tropic Air terminal is on the left and Maya Air is on the right. An interesting fact is that we saw many more flights for Tropic Air than Maya Air departing the terminal at the Belize City Airport! Perhaps all the money went to build the terminals and they didn’t have any money left to buy planes!

At the terminal in Belize City this man was waiting for luggage with us. I still have not quite figured out what the t-shirt meant. I know the phrase, but the rose and what looks like a noose has got me flummoxed. I think I will never find out this puzzle. Oh well. There will always be other crazy people for me to look at!

Once we got our luggage check in was a breeze. Unfortunately we were going to have to wait another two hours until our flight was ready to board. That meant more people watching!

Steve was feeling exceptionally generous and bought me my very own bag of Crunchy Cheetos. What a guy! I think I will keep him!

Steve’s name was called and he had to go up to talk to the gate agent.

Poor Steve was selected for additional screening. He was not allowed to talk to anyone once they questioned and examined him. I stayed far away and people watched until I would meet him on the plane. Unfortunately this meant he would lose his Pre Check ability at Houston Airport.

Here is Steve in the holding pen. Do you think they will play “Enter the Sandman” when he was released to board the plane? (If you are not a New York Yankee fan you will not understand this reference!)

This man had beautiful long grey hair.

The blonde on the right is thinking “What shampoo does he use? His hair is incredibly healthy looking!’

In the terminal there was a young man wearing a green jumpsuit. It did look comfortable!

This plane would be taking us to Houston.

I boarded the plane and found Steve waiting for me.

Yikes! Green Pajama Man Jumpsuit was going to be on our flight! Good think Steve was sitting next to me. Can you imagine the questions?

Good bye Belize!

In case you forgot where Belize is located!

Our warm towels.

The flight attendant was making hot tea-and then put lots of ice in it, so I had that to drink. It was a nice combination with my warm nuts.

I chose the brisket for my lunch. I should have picked something else.

Steve had the pasta, a much better choice.

I was going to watch this movie, but it looked a bit too scary for me. I will have to check out the reviews when we got home and possibly watch it on Netflix.

Later in the flight Snickerdoodle cookies were passed out. I got one for me and one from Steve for me.

There was a lot of fat in the cookies. They sat in my stomach! They were very soft also. I like to make Snickerdoodles at home, and mine are not soft at all. They start out with a nice crunch and get crunchier the staler they get! As the recipe makes many dozen I keep the extras in the freezer. Sometimes I even eat them frozen!

Almost to Texas!

I wasn’t sure if this was a reflection of our plane in the clouds or a UFO, or my guardian angel. I prefer to think that it was my guardian angel!

We finally passed over the coast of Texas and were heading to Houston.

Houston we have landed! Hello Gate E 15!

Since we have Global Entry immigration was quick. There were lots of security individuals with lots of dog sniffing people and luggage.

It turns out that we never needed the TSA pre check on our boarding passes as we never left a secure area.

Finally we made it to Gate C42. Our flight was going to be leaving from here.

We had a number of hours to kill before getting on the flight. I was so tired with the long walk from where we landed, to immigration, and then waiting for our luggage, and onward to the gate that we were going to depart from. So when we finally got to the gate I just stayed there with out checking out where there was a priority pass lounge. I wasn’t going to use passes to the United Lounge as the last lounge we were at was the stinky lounge in Newark, With some of our credit cards we get free passes to either certain Priority Pass lounges or restaurants. Had I not been so tired I would have noticed that there was a Landry’s near our gate that we could have gotten a nice meal . You are allowed $28 credit per person with the Priority Pass. Unfortunately I didn’t think about this until 15 minutes before boarding! Next time!

Getting on the plane I saw a man in another interesting outfit. This guy looked like he had a load in his pants. Don’t you guys know that you are to look at your backside in the mirror before you head out the door?

Did you notice that he even had ripped knees? Those pants belonged in the dumpster not on a body!

We were offered PDB’s. (Pre Departure Beverages). I chose gingerale, Steve got a cola.

Steve was looking forward to watching a movie on the three hour flight from Houston to Newark. Unfortunately in a cost cutting move many of the airlines are getting rid of the seat back viewscreens. The airlines do offer movies that you can watch on your ipad, laptop or smart phone via an App. However they don’t show you the flight maps, or network television. This is a downgrade as far as I am concerned.

The warm towels were nice and hot.

We got warm nuts again.

Tonight’s dinner on the plane. Both Steve and I chose the Asian noodle salad with chicken. The cake was pound cake with a few blueberries in it.

We finally landed and then it was off to the luggage carousel where we would wait and wait for our two bag

Eventually , about 45 minutes after we landed our luggage appeared on the carousel and we were able to call our driver and then get home. Thankfully our driver had a lead foot and we made it home in 90 minutes. Of course both Steve and I were too tired to fall asleep quickly. Maybe tomorrow night we will get better sleep!

Until next trip, I hope you enjoyed yourselves on another Excellent Adventure!

Will we meet Bunny and Jack again?

Has anyone ever seen you wear a green jumpsuit in public? (Notice I didn’t ask if you owned one, that’s a little too much personal information!)

Are you willing to pay big bucks for pants with a baggy butt and ripped knees?

This ends my trip report to Belize and back. I hope you enjoyed it.

Copal Tree Lodge, Punta Gorda. Friday January 9, 2020

Today’s excellent adventure will take us to Nim Li Punit. Or big hat. But first big breakfast.

Look who will be joining me for today’s excellent adventure?

Yes, Big Steve had enough fishing and decided to spend the day with me! Good thing I wasn’t planning on having an affair with the pool boy, I would have been caught!

I had fried eggs for breakfast.

Steve had scrambled eggs.

My plate of fruit.

Some decorative Mayan mask artwork at the Lodge.

Sugar cane.

We had about a 45 minute drive to Nim Li Punit. Most of the commentary will be of Nim Li and afterward. The drive there was very uneventful.

Somewhere near here is where the zip line adventure that the other couple went on yesterday happens. I won’t be participating in that type of adventure at all. I did it once in Wyoming at Brush Creek Ranch, and that was enough for me. The couple that zip lined yesterday were going horseback riding today, as it was her turn to pick the adventure. I hope they have fun and it doesn’t rain much! I also don’t think they will need liquid courage for the horse back ride.

This was the turn off to Nim Li.

I think this was the only big hat that we would see for the morning!

A little bit of the history of Nim Li Punit.

Even more information from the museum.

Some arrowheads and other tools.

A clay pot.

More artifacts.

Here is Steve standing next to one of the Stela or pillars. You can see how tall it was. As the description states it was well preserved as it was lying in mud.

We never really did see anything that looked like the big hat.

This structure was all rebuilt. The archeologists believe that the rulers lived in this area. The area supported a farming community of about 5-7 thousand people.

Tree of very shiny bark.

Many of the stones were lying in piles like this. The restoration of the site was from piles such as these.

Desmond told us that several churches and municipal buildings in the area were built from materials from archeological sites, before they realized that such historical areas should not be mined for building materials.

More yapping.

This is the ball court. It has been restored. It did not look this good when the area was discovered in 1976.

As I got really hot I told Steve I wanted to go back to the visitor center and I would meet Steve and Desmond there. I left Steve and Desmond discussing the lives of the ancient people.

On my way back the ladies under the canopy called to me, asking me to look at their wares for sale. I didn’t need anything and I hate to bargain, so I just ignored them.

I made it back to the visitor center and was eagerly looking forward to sitting on the bench. Hmm, looks like I need to take a rain check on some bench sitting!

The bathrooms were surprisingly nice.

The lady on the bench finally got off and I could share it with her. She had a big blister on her foot from walking for three hours the previous day. Or was it 3 miles? No matter, she was in bad shape.

We are done now so off we go, downhill to the Land Rover.

Can you find the hornet’s nest in the tree?

I forgot what this tree was, but it had no leaves. The leaves come out after the dry season is over in May.

Now this is an especially bad picture, but I took it to show you that on a clear day you could see the ocean from here.

We were shocked to see a turkey in this yard!

Coconuts waiting in a tree, ready to drop and konk someone on the head. Lucky for me I was safe in the Land Rover.

This is a traditional style house with a door on each side and no windows. Houses with windows did not occur until Europeans arrived. Which reminded me of a funny story from when we were in Africa. James our Masai Guide wore red plaid blankets. He wore them in a toga and skirt style. I asked him why the Masai men did not wear pants. I jokingly asked if they did not get the memo about men wearing pants! I told this story to Desmond. We agreed that the Mayans did not get the memo about windows until the Europeans came to Belize!

I never did see any Mennonites, but there are many who live here. They came in the 1980’s. They are the old style who shun everything modern, and then there is the progressive branch that use electricity, etc.

Follow the signs for lunch!

Lunch was at Coleman’s. Duh!

Mrs. Coleman was the owner. Her husband died last year. They were both from India. I wasn’t sure how the name Coleman came about.

The lunch was a buffet.

The $20 was Belizean dollars. That worked out to $10 US.

My plate, a little of everything.

I finished my plate. There was a sign that said extra charge if you didn’t clean your plate!

All that was left were the bones! I had no desire to be in a Belizian jail!

Many flavors of ice cream to choose from.

I was curious what sweet corn tasted like!

We each chose coffee. It was really good. One of us probably should have gotten chocolate and then we should have mixed it together!

Do you remember Baskin and Robbins? My favorite flavor was Jamocha Almond Fudge!

Good bye Coleman’s! We are off to the waterfall.

There were many half finished houses. When people get enough money they continue construction.

Desmond told us that the reason there was no jungle here was due to the swamp land.

We did see some cows.

This house was interesting. Half was in the style of the local Indian People. Half was a more European style. Notice the Satellite dish!

I spy a gaucho!

Rio Blanco. River white. When the rains come it has a lot of white water! Not now.

The Orvis group was already here!

Some people follow the yellow brick road, we followed the brown dirt path.

I liked this plant.

This little red berry is from the Copal Tree.

The path was under construction. No one better run, trip, and then stab themselves!

I looked hot and bedraggled. I was!

First Desmond jumped off of this rock.

“Right there! That is where I am going to jump from!”, Desmond said!

Then he wanted to go off of the waterfall. He scared me by taking way too long to come up!

This is where Desmond jumped off.

I wanted Steve to be careful! The clinic was over 30 minutes away.

Steve kept telling me to be careful. He did not want me slipping on the rocks either. There was a greater chance of me slipping than him!

In case you don’t want to click on the video, here is a still.

The Orvis team was working on their final shots for the catalog of the models on the bridge just hanging out as models do. They even had a drone to take pictures.

On the Orvis crew there was a stylist, photographer, assistant photographer, plus three other people who had various jobs.

Steve makes his way across the bridge. Watch your step Steve!

Steve and Desmond are discussing which one of them will jump off the bridge. Just kidding, it is Desmond who will jump! Actually, Steve was tempted, but then he remembered he is too old for that sort of thing.

Here is a video of Desmond jumping off the bridge!

On my way over the bridge. No, I will not jump off of it!

Here I am standing halfway across the bridge. I was so nervous. I hate heights.

Those are all the Orvis models on the right. You will see them in next summer’s catalog. The models had lots of tattoos. I asked one of the crew if they were going to airbrush the tattoos when the catalog was published. He did not know as they were still working on that decision. I will have to wait until this summer to find out about the status of the tattoos!

I made it back!

No one was too sure how many people the bridge would support. Oh well, at least no one from our group caused the bridge to collapse.

The parties break apart, the Orvis photo shoot group is off for the waterfall, while we head back.

Look how the ants have eaten away on the long leaves in the middle of the picture.

Good thing Desmond was wearing quick dry clothes!

We make our way back to the Land Rover, then it will be back to the Lodge and libations!

But first, more pictures!

Look how big the leaves grow in the jungle!

This growth is only about nine months old!

The photo shoot crew got the air conditioned van.

Steve is heading back to the Land Rover. Flaps were down because of the rain.

We leave the photo shoot and head back to the lodge.

See that white spot in the mountains? That is where the caving adventure occurs. A hike up the mountain. Then a break for lunch. Then head lamps are put on, and the swimming part of the trip occurs. People must swim in the mountain! The stream flows from the top of the mountain, into the mountain where the stream continues and then out the other side. The adventurers go on another hike to the van and back to the lodge for a stiff drink and many happy and tired faces. Desmond, our guide for the day enjoys it thoroughly. It’s not for me! I don’t even want to hear about it!

The mountains are made of limestone. When the rock erodes they form sharp peaks.

Back home most of the mountains are granite which erodes to rounder mountain tops.

We were told that the corn was grown, and then left in the fields to be harvested later. There was a lot of slash and burn agriculture.

I asked Desmond what the extra gear shift was for. He decided to show me by taking us on a short cut.

These flowers were lovely.

Desmond did not hit any chickens but it was close!

Remember when I mentioned earlier about the extra gear shift box? It was needed for this hill!

Desmond told us that these are sheds that cocoa pods are dried in.

There didn’t appear to be anything in them today.

Finally we made it back to the turn off for the Lodge. The lodge was about a mile up the road.

When we came back from our outing I told Ducky I needed a drink to go with my cake. He made me some kind of punch drink. I did not like it and asked for more juice in it. The cake didn’t need anything. It was like a banana bread.

Here is a map of the resort. We as you all know were in room 9. Last year we were up in the Signature Canopy Suites in room 15. They have since fixed the air conditioning so they are much cooler. Someday I hope to check out the family villa. Steve and I can then play hide and seek. LOL!

Bunny and Jack were in room 12. I told them that it was the honeymoon suite because it was all the way on the end and nice and private. Jack is 80 and Bunny is 76. They had a good laugh at that!

Steve and I like to have our dinner early. There are two seatings at Copal, one at 6 and one at 7:30. We convinced Bunny and Jack to have dinner with us at 6. I was not prompt as Jack wanted dinner later, so I thought they would be late. When we came to dinner we were in the downstairs bar looking for them at 6:10. I told Steve that we should check upstairs in case they were there already. Yes! They were waiting for us! They were wondering where we were! Bunny and Jack were on time and we were the late ones! They did not hold a grudge and had dinner with us!

Here are the Birds of Paradise near the upstairs bar. The Christmas trees were taken down on January 6.

These might have been something else as they don’t really look like the other Birds of Paradise arrangements!

We sat down to dinner and I noticed a young couple at the table next to us. They were holding hands. I asked them if they were on their honeymoon and they said “Yes!” So of course I thought that a picture of them holding hands would be great for the blog!

I wasn’t crazy how my picture turned out as they moved their hands and they weren’t holding hands any more so I got them to get up and move into the other room where I didn’t need flash on my camera!

I posed their hands in a much more romantic fashion. What good sports they were! They probably thought I was nuts! Her diamond is set in a halo style. That is a very popular setting now a-days. I would not get my ring set in that style because I think it will look very dated in a few years. That or it will stay popular. I think the jewelers like it because it uses many diamonds and the jeweler therefore makes more money. But what do I know?

Turns out that they had gotten married in November but had just gotten to go on their honeymoon this week. I’m like “huh?” She mentioned something about children and busy lives, I zipped it right up, not asking them how old the children were and why had they just gotten around to getting married, were they kids from other marriages? You know the drill by now. Lots of personal questions of people. Sometimes I am very good and don’t ask questions. This was one of those times. He did have a very short haircut and I asked him if he was in the military. He said “Yes” and was based in Southern California. I asked if her was a Navy Seal (primarily because I had just read a sexy romance about a Navy Seal). He was not a Navy Seal, but a helicopter pilot. As he was not a sexy Seal, but a Sexy helicopter pilot I didn’t have much more to say. Not when I have sexy Steve to look at! Do you think SS will buy me something nice for saying that? Let’s hope so! I must admit that sexy Steve just gives me a coupon that states I can buy a nice piece of jewelry. He knows that whatever he buys me will get returned for something that I want. He will admit that anytime I buy him something he returns it also for something that he wants.

My drink tonight was a Dark and Stormy. In Bermuda they are quite popular.

Our amuse bouche was some kind of roll up of turkey and lettuce and what looked like Russian dressing. I was the only one who really didn’t care for it.

I asked for a garden salad, as I didn’t care for any of the other starters.

Steve and Jack had the sweet potato soup. Does that look like a game of tic tac toe?

Bunny had the conch fritters. They were tasty.

We all had the pan seared snook for dinner. It came with steamed garlic veggies, garlic butter cream sauce and baked potato. I didn’t dip my potato in the garlic butter cream sauce but I am sure that it would really have tasted good.

I think Bunny had the coconut ice cream with caramel sauce.

Or it was Jack. One of them had the chocolate ice cream with caramel sauce.

Steve had the cake with caramel sauce.

I had the Mayan Chocolate Budino again.

After dinner we hung out at the bar again. Now this is somehting that Steve and I rarely do, but I wanted to keep up with Bunny and Jack. We will miss them when we go home tomorrow. I hope to visit them again soon, but Oklahoma is a long way from home!

That is Ducky in the back. I told him to make sure that he photobombed our picture!

Would you have jumped off the waterfall?

Would you have jumped off the bridge?

Have you ever been to Oklahoma?

Steve told me last night that he wished he would have jumped off the waterfall. I told him if you jump off the rocks in Lake George, then you can jump off the waterfall in Belize. I sure hope he decides not to do it. I would like to continue my conjugal relations with him!

Copal Tree Lodge, Punta Gorda Belize. Wednesday January 8, 2020

Good morning! Today you and I will learn all about making chocolate!

Let’s have some watermelon juice first!

Pancakes with chocolate, banana and toasted coconut! That is butter and not scrambled eggs on top of the pancakes!

This couple was going to go on a zip line. She was having an alcoholic drink while we waited for the Land Rover to arrive! Like me, she does not like heights. She was very much afraid to go on the zip line, but she told her partner that she would do it!

I was dropped off at the chocolate building where I met my guide for the cocoa growing steps. I needed no alcohol to learn about making chocolate!

First we see the flowers and the beginning of the cocoa pod on the cocoa tree.

The pod continues to grow.