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Energy Back!

Although we got out and beach walked every day of our stay, we are finally getting into more energetic mode.  Sunday we walked to the upscale mall and wandered about.  Very designer, all I bought was a sun hat for $48 US (which I later saw in a store close to our hotel for $20 US)  oops 🙂  All worth it though, because we were on a BIG walk and my forehead needed some protection!  We decided to take the beach route home, but first stopped at a beach restaurant/bar for a cold pineapple juice and some um….welll…not sure what they were for a snack and then beach walked back to the hotel.  Managed to get over 20,000 steps on my fit bit that day.

Monday we needed cash and amazingly so there are no ATM’s close at hand.  We had originally thought we had passed one about 1.5 km away and walked to that…they told us the nearest one would require a bus or taxi ride.  We opted to walk and luckily there was a shady side of the street because it was a few km away.  Found the Scotiabank ATM, found a ‘rest’ room, then stopped for a delicious fresh juice – I had pineapple, Johnny had tamarindo.  We decided to take the ‘local’ bus home – 40 pesos each (about $1.35 CDN).  We prefer to walk or take local styles of travel when we can.

Simply insert ‘went to the beach’ for each of the above days.  FYI, not sure if you know this but we are beach people, not pool people.  We love the sand, the surf and the sea swimming.  I personally can not figure out why people want to sit around the pool where it is generally much warmer.  I also find that most of the smokers are the pool people at this hotel, so it is definitely not my favourite place to be.  Speaking of smoking, one of my least favourite smells in the world is the smell of a cigar, almost makes me sick to my stomach.  Of course, cigar making/selling is a big thing here (as it is in Cuba) and everywhere I go there is the stench of cigar *blahhhhhh*.

Tuesday (yesterday), we did a tour called Outback Safari.  We were picked up at the hotel at 8:35 a.m. in a big safari style open air bus and headed off to the hills/mountains to get a taste of rural Dominican life.  A fellow named Angel was our guide and he was terrific.  This tour company is highly organized, very safety aware and runs everything like clockwork.   They are very interested in relating the history of the DR, explaining the people, their lifestyles.  Well worth it.  We travelled through small villages (many of my photos were taken from the bus), we stopped at an area run by the tour company with an area which housed local animals (and some not so local), examples of all the different species of trees, a cigar making demo, and an introduction to the rums and wines of the region, all quite enlightening.  We had a terrific meal and then headed off to the homes of some locals.  One family worked to produce coffee beans and cocao, another family coconut oil.  We were shown the various processes required to produce all of these things.

During the Outback Safari tour we encountered road construction on a narrow dirt road.  Our amazing driver Yuma managed to squeeze the bus between the edge of the road and the construction vehicles and a big school bus, the school bus had to flatten it’s mirrors and we must have been 1″ away from it…amazing really….a LOT of cheering once we cleared the area.

After that we headed to a beach on the outskirts of Punta Cana for some boogie boarding (or just jumping around int he surf as I don’t seem to be much of a boarder 🙂

Now that the Christmas/New Year rush is over the hotel has become a bit calmer, less people….this is a good thing 🙂

OH, did I mention we did go out to a restaurant for dinner on Monday night?  We elected to go to an Italian style restaurant (very unusual for us), pasta was great, wine was better…it was nice to eat outside the hotel for sure.

That’s it…no plans we have 3 more days here and for a change we might go to the beach 🙂 LOL

 

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Local Bus

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Outback Safari Truck

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Mexico/Belize 2016 – Day 12 of 18

March 2, 2016

Accommodation: Colindas Cabanas, Caye Caulker

Wow, 3rd day in Caye Caulker.  We had no plans for the day.  I actually was feeling tired, probably too much sun on the boat yesterday.  As always, up early, read, compute, make breakfast.  Then we walked south from Colinda Cabanas along the beach.  You actually walk across the easterly end of the airport.  There is a path or roadway all along this part of the island that is supposed to take you back to town (the long way).  It was hot hot hot again.  The bushes and path were alive with lizards, iguanas & birds.  A constant rustle as we walked along!  The area is populated but less so.  The path goes along mangroves and it’s not manicured so a ton of things ‘washedup’ in the  mangroves from past storms.  There are quite a few big beach/jungle homes out there.  Very secluded (well as secluded as you can be on a small island).  Unfortunately, we couldn’t do the whole loop as there was an extreme mud section that we just didn’t want to trudge through.  So, back we went!  Again, read for a while…then we decided to go into the village for lunch.  We ate over the water at Rainbow.  Johnny had Fajitas and I had a Conch Burrito.  Very good!  Lots of activity at the dock out front with a catamaran coming in, some snorkel tours, people paddle boarding…..after lunch we wandered through town and then back to the Cabana..by this time it was even crazier hot and we jumped into the water at the end of the dock for a while..then yes…back to read.  Late afternoon the breeze came in and it cooled down…we went for a twilight walk on some different streets.   We made chicken, rice & tomatoes for dinner, went out to the dock to star gaze…Orion’s belt was quite prominent, Sirius was shining brightly and Jupiter looked down at us.  We saw a number of cruise ships go by – probably en route to Cozumel, MX.

I’m not sure whether I mentioned it or not, but we don’t use AC when we travel, nor do we use it at home.  About the only time I use AC would be in my car if I have clients with me.  First of all, I believe AC makes you sick….and that you become so accustomed to AC that you don’t want to go outside on warm days.  So, life is more natural and dealing with hot weather is actually more bearable without AC.  We also like to stay in more basic,ordinary accommodation.  It just feels wrong to live in the lap of luxury when the people around you are living so simply.  I never quite understand how someone can go to an island or beach location and never leave there resort.  It confounds me 🙂

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Mexico/Belize 2016 – Day 8 of 18

February 27, 2016

Accommodation:  Banana Beach Resort, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

At Banana Beach February 22nd to February 29th, 2016.

Oh man…..the time is flying……please MAKE IT STOP 🙂 ! We are really liking Ambergris Caye as much for its walkability and for it’s laid back lifestylen as for it’s somewhat off the beaten path location. It’s a very simple place, no fancy places to sell the tourists jewels and designer clothing. To some degree I believe it’s a community before it is a tourist destination. Oh sure, there are a ton of hotels and touristy things to do, but the difference is that the people who come here seem to be real people who want to travel to real places. To say it is totally our type of place would be an understatement. It’s just the right fit! The weather has been far from stellar from a ‘beach’ vacation point of view….but that’s ok with us….we prefer it a bit cooler so that I have the energy to wander about. As much as we mostly vacation in hot places….I don’t actually function well in heat and humidity. Of course, we are going snorkelling tomorrow today (Day 9) so I might be wishing it was sunny and warmer then 🙂

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Day 8…..we wandered south of the hotel….walked for about two hours – more like a mosey (no clue how one spells that 🙂 We went the road for about 50 minutes. There were a few restaurants but all closed. The need to use ‘facilities’ arose and we wandered into a condo hotel where they were quite gracious and allowed the use of their facilities. On the way back we took the beach. You can walk for miles and miles and miles along the beach here. I may have mentioned it’s not traditional beach ….. in order to stop erosion they have man made breakwaters built up with in-filled flat beach. What we really noticed is that it is all very quiet…doesn’t seem like a lot of guests….not all the noisy smoking, drunken touristas you find at an all inclusive….soooooo calm and peaceful sigh of happiness……yet another need to ‘stop’ and again, the condo hotel more than happily allowed the use…..we got a coke and sat at the bar…..all friendly, all welcoming.

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The rest of the afternoon we hung out on the beach sipping sweet drinks and eating amazing chicken nachos. A bit later we walked into town (again, about 3 km away) and headed to the restaurant we had tried to go to the night before – Elvies. It is a nice restaurant on the middle street…..sand floor….nice decor, a guitar player and the food was good….but in the end, I’m thinking it was more touristy than we tend to like. We love hole in the wall not ‘the place you have to be’ places best! So, it was good….there was a degree of ambience….it was the most expensive meal to date (171 BZD) (85.50 US) and I wouldn’t hurry back 🙂 Give me tacos on the beach any day of the week!

By the time dinner was over we were soooo tired we jumped in a cab and headed back to the hotel where our rituals always to read for a while then head off to Belizian slumber land.

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Civic Holiday in the Gatineaus!

An overcast sky with the odd sprinkle of rain didn’t stop Johnny and me from hitting the Gatineau Hills late this morning!  We did the Lauriault and Waterfalls Loop — 3 km – stopped and had our lunch at Mackenzie King Estate, drove up to Champlain Belvedere to soak up the view then back down the hill to Pink Lake Trail — 2.5 km.  The summer sunshine smiled upon us for most of the Pink Lake walk!

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