Belize is hot, humid, and awesome. We landed in Belize City yesterday at 10 a.m., stopped at Sky Mart and "The Mall" for water and lunch (they didn't have Old Bay, we checked, BUT they were indeed selling machetes for 4 dollars), and started the three hour drive through the beautiful Belizean countryside to Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. Jeff Abel's friend (and now our friend), Julio and his wife cooked us dinner-stewed chicken, rice, homemade corn tortillas, and banana cake. One word: deeeeelicious. Julio is quite the practical-joker (he told us we were having squirrel for dinner).

We fell asleep to rain pounding on our tin roof and cicadas.

Hiking In Belize

Today, we got sweaty hiking through the sanctuary (Bear Grylls style) and were rewarded with a swim in the waterfall! We also hiked to a plane wreck in the middle of the jungle. It's amazing how thick the jungle is…and how beautiful it is from the inside! After a quick rest, we took a bumpy trip down the road to the Maya Center, where we shopped in the Women's Group Gift Shop. I won't say what I bought; it will run the surprise gifts for my family!

Julio welcomed us into his home for another dinner, and he made Tamales. It's mostly white corn and spices with a piece of chicken in the middle. The whole thing is wrapped in a huge leaf that contains a natural preservative (it's a part of the ginger root family, hooray gingers!). Julio sat with us afterward and told us stories from his life and work in Belize.

On the drive home, we saw a jaguar crossing the road. We're the first mount group to see a jaguar while in Cockscomb…we're also happy we were able to see it from the safety of our white van. The day came to an epic close with Jeff, amidst a myriad of screaming girls, shooing a scorpion out of the women's bathroom (what a hero!).

Can that really be JUST the first day? So much amazing trip left to experience!

(Hi Mom, Dad, Cait, Kyle, and Mark! Love you guys. Tell Henry that he would have loved swinging from the vines in the forest today. And Dad, lots of bug bites, but no sunburn yet!)

Megan Kinsella '13