Monday, July 25, 2011

Top 10 Sacred Caves - Travel - National Geographic and Number 1 is Belize!

Number One on National Geographic's list of Top Ten Sacred Caves in the world is the ATM in Belize!

From the National Geographic book Sacred Places of a Lifetime
  1. Actun Tunichil Muknal, Belize

    In myths, journeys to the underworld are never easy, and after visiting Actun Tunichil Muknal (Cave of the Stone Sepulchre), you may feel that you have been through your own epic test. Access to the Maya sacrificial site within the cave involves hiking, wading, and underwater swimming, but nearly a mile (1.6 kilometers) underground you will reach the resting place of the “crystal maiden,” a complete female skeleton that sparkles from eons of crystal calcification. The cave also contains Maya pottery shards, many showing the “kill hole” intended to allow spirits to escape.

Top 10 Sacred Caves - Travel - National Geographic

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Belize... Adventures In Shopping

     Yesterday, Karen and I went to Belmopan to shop for floor tile (among other things) for our new rental Cabana. Our rebuilt and revitalized 89 Chevy Van is usually the vehicle of choice for these trips... able to haul huge loads, able to leap tall buildings, and provide air conditioned and secure comfort... it's SUPER VAN. So two hours later we are merrily shopping in our version of Home Depot... Builder's Hardware.
 it's SUPER VAN.
     With assistance from an extremely helpful sales person, we settle on 800 square feet of tile, faucets, toilets, varnish, stain, etc... and later watch as the guys at the warehouse dock carefully load all the purchases in the Van. The heaviest item, of course, is the tile which consists of 38 boxes (each weighing around 60 pounds). These alone, somewhat exceed the load limit of the van. No sweat though... I stop at the nearby service station and add air to the tires. No tire air gauge available, so I "eyeball" the tires as I fill them. 
     Excellent... so we make one more shopping stop at BAH (Belize Aggregates and Hardware, the Mennonite version of Loew's) and then hit the Bullfrog Inn for lunch. Clearly the van is "loaded," and as we get underway after lunch, on the Hummingbird Highway hills, twists and turns, the Van feels and drives like an M1 Abrams Battle Tank.  Reduced speed and extra caution on the speed bumps is the plan.
M1 Abrams Battle Tank
     It's the usual beautiful drive on the Hummingbird... even more so because we are going considerably slower than usual and are seeing things we sometimes miss. I estimate we have made this trip close to one hundred times in ten years. We chat merrily about how much we saved by making this run to Belmopan for the tile. 
Scene Along The Hummingbird Highway
     Passing St Margaret's Village, on by "Over The Top" and by Middlesex, we navigate the remaining one lane bridges down in to the relative flatness of the Valley. Mile 6 is approaching, and we both look forward to a "pit stop" at the Esso Station.
     Our contented reverie is suddenly interrupted by loud "BAM, BAM... splat, flap, flap" noises. As I pull over, my thoughts immediately go through broken axle, or strut or ? worse. Whatever it is, it didn't sound good! Nothing obvious hanging down underneath... but I certainly didn't remember a peeled, bald tire on the left rear. I bought all four tires at the same time a year ago. 
     We are on the road edge, but not far enough off the road to be comfortable and Karen wants me to back up to a small side road. After making a call to the house (we are about an hour away) I mobilize the troops... Hector and Jose will come to rescue us in the old Doge Van 3/4 ton pickup. I choose to creep along for a ways at 2 or 3 miles an hour... and suddenly realize we are at the ADS Tire and Service place. Amazing!
     Most of you have probably surmised by now that the combination of excess weight and over-inflated tires caused the left rear to make contact with the body... neatly peeling the tread and wrapping it around the axle. It doesn't take long for a new tire to be mounted, and all to be properly inflated.
     When Hector and Jose arrive, they laboriously transfer the 38 tiles boxes to the Dodge pickup. We make the one hour final portion of the trip in a small caravan without incident. Lesson learned... don't overload... and put that air gauge in the glove box.  And remember that discussion Karen and I had about how much money we saved on this trip? 
The Culprit Tire... What's Left

Friday, July 15, 2011

Birds of Belize...

Every year I need to remind myself that a large number of my readers are "birders." So here are links to the various posts I have made on birds, the facts and resources available... and BTW, you couldn't find a better central location to be a "birder in Belize," than the Placencia Peninsula. 

And don't forget the Scarlet Macaws - Red Bank Village - about one hour drive from The Maine Stay and Placencia. Geronimo Sho... 662-8340 and 668-1724. His son John can be reached at Geronimo runs the access to the trails at Red Bank.The Scarlet Macaws go to Red Bank for several kinds of fruits/berries. Best to see them from 6 am to 8 am and then again at 3 pm till about 5 pm. There are up to 200 birds at varying times, mid January through at least the end of March.

Jun 05, 2011
It's For The Birds... Posted by Drew Travers. While we were getting the new Cabana storage building set up last week, one of the trees we thought we were going to move made it's presence known. Needless to say the tree ...

Feb 10, 2010
We get a fair number of requests for information from the "bird watchers." Recently I wrote about some resources available on the birds of Belize. I have just recently been made aware of another source of information ...
Dec 20, 2009
With nearly six hundred identified species of birds--and an average of five "new" species discovered annually--Belize is becoming a birding hotspot for amateur and professional birders from around the globe. ...
Aug 01, 2010
The bird watchers know who they are, and then there are those who visit here and live here who get fascinated with the variety of flora and fauna that abounds. Belize has more than 750 varieties of trees. ...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Another House Completed in Kokomo...

Terry and Jim's house in Kokomo is nearing completion. It has been an amazingly seamless and quick six month process. I have posted a series of "in progress" photos from groundbreaking to finish. These albums are labeled Klahn/Miller and can be seen here.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Color Me... ?

Not much color is needed when these natural elements come together...

Monday, July 4, 2011

Monkey see... Monkey do...

One of our guests' favorite excursions is a trip to Monkey River! It's a 30 minute boat ride from Placencia to Monkey River Town. You'll pick up a guide, and begin a fascinating trip up the river... and along the way get a chance to see crocs, iguanas, unusual birds, bats, trees and plants. Trail walking through the rain forest follows, with your guide showing you the endless array of insects, plants, critters and of course, the Howler Monkeys.  With a bit of telescope lens, you may get a photo of one of these big guys... and, on the way back to Placencia, of the manatee and dolphin you are likely to see while winding through the mangroves.

photo by Ron Spilman