Friday, March 25, 2011

You Better Belize It!

First off, stop yer smirking! I know the title of this post is goofy, but guess what? That phrase is on ALL of the souvenir t-shirts and knickknacks in Belize, so I couldn't resist. It's kind of weird because I didn't think the country was touristy or cheesy in the slightest, but some marketing genius must have thought up that slogan and it stuck. Which is really unfortunate.

Anywhoooo... if it's not already obvious, today I'm going to write a little bit about my trip to Belize this past November. It'll take many entries to cover everything my husband and I did there -- and I still actually have a few other vacations from years past (when I was neglecting this site) that I want to post about as well, but today I'm going to focus on an introduction to where we stayed in what I felt was an absolutely gorgeous Central American country.

I should begin by explaining our reasoning for going to Belize instead of any of the other places on our To Visit list. Basically it came down to the fact that we were going to be at a wedding in Atlanta and wanted somewhere that we could get to quickly from there so as to maximize our time (as in, we didn't want two full days taken up by flights). We wanted our destination to be warm, and we wanted to just relax. We got our wish on the first part... not so much on the second. But that's for another post.

It just so happened that one of my friends from the Chicago Board of Trade (Franco, who's briefly in my book for those of you (which better be all of you!) who've read it) had been planning a trip to Belize and had done a ton of research. He and his wife and some friends were going to be spending part of their vacation (which was about a month before ours) at Francis Ford Coppola's Blancaneaux Lodge, which is way, way up in the Mayan mountains. Coppola owns another property in Belize that is by the beach, and a lot of people choose to split their time between the two places. But I really wanted to just stay put for a week. And to me, chillin' in the mountains -- totally cut off from civilization -- sounded like heaven. So Blancaneaux it was. (And yes, since my career now revolves around movies... and since we've always liked Coppola's wines in addition to his films, those factors played a role in our decision, too.)

There are only twenty cabanas on the grounds. Since we went over Thanksgiving I was aware that they were fully booked, but it never felt crowded by any means. We really only saw other guests during meal times, which was fine by me. I meant it when I said I wanted to be cut off from civilization!

Here's the main room of our cabana:

And this is the lovely path leading up to the main lodge (you can see the overlook of the restaurant on the right).

This is a path down to a little outlook over the creek where we'd spend hours reading (or, in my case, writing in my journal).

Here's a view of the outlook hut thingy from across the creek.

And here's me maxin' and relaxin' in the hut -- I'm a total sucker for the sound of rushing water, so this was just a great, great, great spot. There was a mini-waterfall to the left which you can't really see in this picture.

But the best part was back up in our cabana: THE HAMMOCK. For whatever reason, Dustin and I have an obsession with hammocks that started back on our big trip to Southeast Asia in 2001 (which will hopefully be the topic of my next book). Our favorite place we stayed in Thailand had one and we just loved it. So even though it was a little awkward to write while simultaneously trying not to lose my balance and flip over, I did my best.

OK, that's enough for today! I'll eventually cover all of the crazy excursions we took in Belize, but I'll space those posts out a bit. Especially since now I'm all depressed because it's thirty degrees in Chicago and supposed to snow for the next five days. Grr.

Have a great weekend,
- e


Jess said...

That is truly beautiful! Wow.

lesley said...

the hammock. it just takes practice. you'll be a natural in no time. we love hammocks at my house. glad you love them too!