Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Belize, Part I

I know I've been a little slow in getting up a post about Spring Break. Ted and I are still recovering from an exhausting week of swimming, reading, eating, and playing cards. :)

Seriously, though, we got home around 1:00am on Monday, and then I was up at 6 to go teach a 3-hour class. I'm still trying to recover from that one night of sleep deprivation. Trying to wake up on Tuesday morning was even worse - Ted and I both felt like we'd been drugged.

But anyway, let's talk about Belize.

We had a fabulous time with our 4 friends. We arrived from all parts of the U.S. - Oregon, Colorado, and Ohio - and we were all very pale. Throughout the week we swam in the ocean and behind a waterfall, we snorkeled, fished, dove, tubed down a lazy river, slid down rockslides, ate tons of fish, drank margaritas, dirty monkeys, and local beer, and we drove golf carts on dirt roads so bumpy I think my internal organs are still in disarray.

I don't think I have the stamina to blog about it all in one post, so I'll present our trip in themed parts over the course of a few days. Without further ado...

Part I:  Bars, Food, and Drink

Of course we enjoyed the typical drinks of a tropical vacation - beer, margaritas (sometimes together), and cold, blended concoctions (our favorite being the Dirty Monkey).

We visited several bars on the trip (most of the restaurants we went to were equal parts bar/restaurant). A few of our favorites were Rojo Beach Bar (home to no fewer than 6 dogs, 5 cats, and 2 surly birds) and the local winery outside San Pedro; Carambas in San Pedro proper; and DeTatch and The Lunchbox (for the food) and the Pickled Parrot (for the Jersey-born owners and crazy drunk ex-pat crowd) in Placencia.

But you didn't have to go to a bar to get a drink - not in Belize! After a morning of snorkeling our boat captain and guide served homemade rum punch from his boat cooler. Ah, so refreshing!

Not all beverages were alcoholic, though. In Placencia there was a coffee shop called Brewed Awakenings that we visited several times. There we got iced coffees and seaweed shakes. Much like how green smoothies don't taste like spinach, seaweed shakes don't actually taste like seaweed. I particularly enjoyed the Seaweed Sunrise with papaya and banana.

Of course we ate as much fish as we could, though the chicken and pork were also delicious everywhere we went. The fish is most often snapper or grouper, and it's prepared with bell peppers (or belly peppers, as our house matron called them at the first VRBO), onions, and Belizean spices.

I wish I had taken more pictures of food. I only came away with this one of my fruit platter and Ted's shrimp burrito on one of our final days in Placencia. And the scenery just might have added to our enjoyment of this particular meal.

fresh watermelon, papaya, and pineapple, sprinkled with freshly grated coconut and lime juice

At several restaurants in Belize I noticed signs posting some variation of: "This is not fast food. Have a drink and relax while you wait." It does take quite a bit longer to get your food in Belize than it does in an American restaurant, but when it comes to the table, you can tell that it has been freshly prepared just for you. They don't have fully prepared snapper fillets just lying around to be warmed up, and we could definitely taste the difference. Everything we ate there was excellent - from the street burritos to the fanciest fish stew.

So that's it for tonight. I'll try to get Part II up before the weekend!

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