Friday, December 31, 2004

Another day, another year.

Wow, it's the very last day of 2004. Obviously, the tsunami disaster has shocked us all over this last week. But it has also shown us the caring side of most human beings. I'm so proud of the general public; often donating more than their own governments are willing to pledge. My hope is the following:
  1. That the relief efforts can ease the suffering of so many...quickly!
  2. That the world does not turn its back again as soon as these places are out of the news
  3. And finally, that these countries debts be forgiven! (There is no way that they can rebuild if they have to continue paying the wealthy nations of the world their old debts)

Anyway, on a completely different note....Andy and I are going to get married in 2005. After 8 years together it seemed about time. And no, he did not go down on one knee or asked me in a romantic or original way. As a matter of fact, I asked him. I was bored of waiting and started to realize that I had to get more realistic about it all. Andy probably would have never asked me. But the funny thing is, he is really happy about it now. He just needed a nudge.

So there you go, that's our news for 2005. May this year be a healthy & happy one for you all.

Sunday, December 26, 2004


Christmas morning

I hope you've had a happy Christmas

Well, that's Christmas day over. It was without a doubt the quietest Christmas (and birthday) I have ever had. Still, I don't mind. It was all quietly pleasant & of course it was a joy to see Lucas unwrap some presents.

As far as the resort goes, all is well. We will be fully booked for the coming week. And so far we've been really lucky with the people we've attracted. They have all been wonderful. The Conde Nast journalist and her family (who were just brilliant) have all left again. I hope they liked the trip that I had set up for them & that the article will be saying good things about Belize and our resort, The Belize Jungle Dome.

Things are also going great with Karen and her yoga classes. She's got clients every day & everybody seems to love it! Especially the sessions at the Observation Tower. She's even got the local kids joining her occasionally. To read about Karen's experience her, check out her blog at:
Karensbelizeblog.blogspot.com



Nicki chatting after her yoga class with Karen

Namaste

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Give me break...

Now, just to clear something up...I do not "approve of human sacrifice". Someone send me this bizarre email, asking me if I support human sacrifice (because of my earlier posting about Actun Tunichin Muknal). Duh! Of course I don't. Who on earth does? Still, that doesn't take away from the fact that it's incredibly interesting to see the human remains of these sacrifices, dating back to 600 to 900AD. If that means that I'm supporting these sacrifices, then where does that leave the archeologists? I'm sure they got exited when they discovered the remains for the first time. It's all about seeing part of our human history right in front of your eyes. Brutality is part of our history whether we'd like to admit it or not. It's much more sad to see that we are still primitive enough as a species to be killing each other to this very day. That disturbs me more than these ancient skulls.

Peace on earth & Merry Christmas!
Simone

Sunday, December 19, 2004

One more thing...

Check this out: http://adventuretravel.about.com/od/destinations/a/121804.htm


Actun Tunichil Muknal

Whilst most of you were battling the crowds during Christmas shopping or nursing your hang-over after the office Christmas party, Andy and I were out caving. We joined our tour guide Gonzo on an Achtun Tunichil Muknal trip. It was brilliant! Tough and chilly at times, but brilliant!

To get to the mouth of the cave, you first have to hike through the jungle for about half an hour and wade through the Roaring River three times. Gonzo showed us lots of medicinal plants along the way and encouraged us to eat a few termites (he was right, they really do taste like carrots!)

Once you're at the cave, the real adventure begins. To enter the Actun Tunichil Muknal cave you have to swim across icy cold water and for most of the three hour caving trip, you are walking in this cold and fast flowing water, trying desperately not to slip and land up in the deeper ends (I did several times and could not feel my fingers for much of the trip)

After about hour and a half, you end up on "dry land" again, where you continue the journey on your socks. This is to prevent people from stepping on the artifacts that are all around. I mean, it's amazing. There are just lots and lots of ancient pottery and human remains. Yes, that's right, we're talking skulls and bones here. From the remains of an infant to a young male with a bulbous skull. These people were all sacrificed to the River God, who was believed to live in the cave.

The whole trip is mind-blowing! It certainly isn't for everybody, but that's part of the appeal too, I guess. This is one place where you are sure never to bumb into large crowds of cruise ship passenger. It's only for those with an adventurous mind.

By the way, click here to see the page that Andy has just made for Actun Tunichil Muknal trip.(including a slideshow)

Friday, December 17, 2004

Private moment with a black panther

Oh, how I love the Belize Zoo! When Dagmar and her little boy Rafael said that they were going, I wasn't sure if I wanted to join them as we were there only a month ago. But of course, you're dealing with unpredictable animals, so each time will be different. And it was!

The first hour or so, we were the only people there and we enjoyed some real "private" moments with the animals. I hung over the enclosure of the baby Tapir (Belize's endangered "mountain cow") & started to tickle it behind it's ears. It was loving it! Eyes closed, twisting it's head and afterwards licking my hand. Oh, it was sweet.

A large white hawk tried to grab Lucas. Obviously, it couldn't get out of the enclosure, so it just flew into that (this hawk always seems to have it's eyes on Lucas)

And, the best thing of all was that the black Panther (or is it a black Jaguar?) was lying at the front of the enclosure. It is usually quite shy and I have never seen it come close to the front before. Anyway, he/she posed wonderfully for our pictures and then got it's eye on Lucas' bouncy ball. It started chasing it, the way a little kitten will chase a ball around the house. We had so much fun with this Panther, it was wonderful. We rolled the ball along the enclosure and he/she would chase it (Lucas wasn't happy with this at all). I even held it against the fence, so he/she could sniff it and try to have a little nibble. Dagmar and I both fell in love, we really felt like taking this magnificent creature home with us.

What a brilliant day!

If you want to see more Belize Zoo pictures, check out our fabulous online picture gallery.

who's a pretty Panther?

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Good morning!

Wow, I've got my energy back. I just needed to get kick-started again, I guess. Karen & I went to a brilliant aerobics class last night, after having done yoga in the morning as well. All very sporty. The aerobics were tough but great fun. Working out to local Punta music and salsa tunes (Punta is just about the fastest music ever, by the way)

There were all these big black mommas in the class, huffing and puffing through the work-out. But according to the teacher, these women will do three aerobics classes in a row. Almost every night! Absolutely mind-boggling. I mean, how can you work out that much and still be that big? Jackie (the teacher) said that many of these people work themselves so hard, so that they can feel good about stuffing their faces again afterwards. Funny, don't you think?

Although....I guess I used to do something similar. I used to work out and be healthy during the week, so I could go and get hammered at the weekends. We humans...we're odd creatures, aren't we?

Anyway, if the weather clears, I might go on a little road trip with Dagmar and her little boy. Adios! Have a nice day!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Mashed potatoes

When you bounce a ball, there is a moment when it has reached its highest point and is no longer going up, but its going down yet either. For a nano-second, it's suspended in the air, unsure of where to go next (according to my tennis teacher, this is the moment when you want to hit the ball)

Anyway, the last few days have been one of these directionless nano-seconds for me. Nothing seems to be happening, I have no drive to do anything specific, I'm uninspired and a bit bored. There is no specific reason for this. I mean, I could be whizzing around the country with Dagmar (our lovely German travel writer) and her son. I could be going to aerobic classes, salsa and other energetic activities with Karen. Instead, I feel a bit mashed potato-ish. I don't join in much & I'm a bit dull to be around.

Oh well, Karen and I are going to the birding (observation) tower in a minute for a monster yoga session. Maybe that will give me a kick up the arse again.

Friday, December 10, 2004


Exotic Caye Beach Resort (our hosts)

Exotic Caye San Pedro

My "jungle man" relaxing on San Pedro

Our view on San Pedro

Okay...it seems to working again (finally)

Just got back from San Pedro. We went on a little mini-break. Lucas was totally excited by everything. The sea, the sand, the plane ride there, it was just the biggest adventure ever for him. I really though that he was going to pop at times, that's how excited he was.

Dagmar Riefler and her son have arrived. She will be writing a book about their experience here. She wrote another book called "Charango" before, which about their travel through Chili. It is just the sweetest book. The whole story was about the trip as seen through her young son's eyes. He was three at the time and is now five years old. The Belize book will be written in the same kind of way.

By the way, Lucas and Rafael (Dagmar's son) are raising hell all around me this very minute. It's very hard to write this way...

So, more tomorrow. That is, if I manage to upload the blog.

Adios!

just checking

My blogs have not been uploading for a while now. Let me just check if it works now....

On mum's head

We visited the school again the other day. They have been asked to write a "wish list" for goods that they need. Some friendly doctors are going to bring supplies for them from the States.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

I almost confessed...

Well, I decided to be bluntly honest with you all yesterday and share one of my (recently discovered) personal short-comings. And what happened? The whole system crashed in the process. Haha! So far for my courage to share everything about my life online. Because there is no way that I'm writing it all again today. I'm too embarrassed now. Maybe another time...

Anyway, Karen is doing her free introductory yoga class in Belmopan tonight. I hope it will be a success. And tomorrow we're off to San Pedro for a night. We fancy sitting on the beach again for a day. Will write when we get back.

Adios amigos!


sunset on Caye Caulker

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Lazy, lazy....

Blogging is a bit like working out. If you haven't done it for a while, it's hard to get back into it. We've been back online for a while now, but I have been too lazy to write. Anyway, I'm back!

In the meantime, Andy has been working hard on putting some new holiday/vacation packages together. Have a look at the horse riding vacation & of course our yoga retreat.

Still doing my (almost) daily yoga practrice with Karen. Just not today as it's wet and grey outside. Today is a good day for faffing. Done a ton of faffing yesterday. Shuffeling furniture around & buying new covers for our sofas (my early Bday present). Our rental rooms are so beautiful now & it started to annoy me that our own living space was still such a mess. So I'm taking action! And already, our house is becoming really lovely.

I'll try and write again tomorrow & get back into my routine.

Karen's poolside yoga

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Lost satelite

I'm sorry for not posting anything for so long, but we lost our satelite connection. The Belize telephone company was down too, so we had no connection at all. Now we're back on BTL, but their upload/download speed is just sooooo slow. Later today we should be getting a new system: Direcway. With that, we should also be able to use webcam and voice-over IP (is that what it's called?)

Anyway, I'll be in touch more again soon.
Adios, we're off to our first Christmas party. Happy December!