Archive | July, 2019

Belize with kids – Part 2

27 Jul

This is a continuation of our trip to Belize with kids age 2 and 6.

After day 1 , the days really looked very similar to each other . We started every day that we could with pool time , bakery goodies , walks along the beach and our biggest decision was where to have lunch and dinner !

Day 2 started with the rain , so we stayed indoors a bit before heading out for a swim . We then rented a golf cart to the other end of the island and settled for lunch at the Sandbar which was a bar and restaurant . Great pizza but average veggie burger ! After walking along a bit , we stopped in town for frozen custard . It’s supposed to be thrice as rich as a bowl of soft serve ice cream but then I wasn’t calorie watching on this trip !

Day 3 , we made arrangements to get back to the mainland for a guided tour of the Mayan ruins at Lamanai ! So our day started bright and early at 6 when we were picked up at the dock of our hotel . 2 hours later we were in the mainland and started a 1 hour bus journey . This to me was the hardest part of the day as Beetle just didn’t sit still . Then there was a river cruise for another hour to take us to the ruins . The prospect of seeing crocs kept us all excited but sadly we only saw birds and turtles . Beetle was the most let down . The food arranged for us has beans and rice and fried plantain as the veggie options and we did just fine on this . The ruins were wonderful . Our tour guide was so knowledgeable and our almost 7 year old Bandar loved all the folk lore he shared . It was a sweltering hot day as should be expected of summer in the tropics and it tired us all out a bit .Beetle spent a lot of time in the carrier and we kept both kids well hydrated . Oh we did see howler monkeys at Lamanai which got all of us in good spirits for the leg home . Our return was essentially the same trip . The boat ride was a bit choppy back to Ambergis Caye and Beetle went into one of her most pensive moods in the carrier with her head buried in my chest ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

After this adventurous day, we decided that we wouldn’t do any more all day trips during this vacation despite our kids being such troopers .

Day 4 was my most favorite day of all . After our morning swim , we rented a golf cart and headed to secret beach ! This is not really a secret as there are signs everywhere but it is a good 1 hour journey in a golf cart . Once we got there , we parked ourselves at a beach shack style restaurant and walked several feet into the water to still only have water about waist deep . The lovely blue , calm and pleasantly warm temperature water is something I will never forget . This was perfect for the kids to frolic about in. In Belize , the waves break at the reef and not at the shoreline . (San Diego with its many beautiful beaches has its waves and frigid temp waters that make moments like this a little harder to enjoy but nevertheless I am not complaining ! I truly do live in paradise the year round .)

We found lots of vegetarian options at the restaurants on secret beach but our favorite moment was savoring the coconut water fresh from the coconut like we had done all through our life growing up in India ! Bandar didn’t care for it but Beetle loved it and fought for her share !

Sun soaked and well fed we started our trek back in the golf cart . We would have loved a stop at the Truckstop again but realized that place is closed on a Tuesday. So we finally got Bandar her promised ice cream only in town .

Wednesday was a solo adventure for the hubs who tried scuba diving for the first time , he came back not a huge fan . I swam with the girls in the morning . Let me just say two kids by yourself in the pool is hard . Bandar with her intense swim camp this summer actually surprised me with her skills but I could not take my eyes off her for a minute , and Beetle despite her paddle jumper floaties needed watching . No distractions for this mama that morning and I was on high alert . Once everyone was cleaned up and the hubs was back from his half day adventure we walked the beach path to a fun restaurant – Wild Mangoes ! Loved my veggie burrito bowl there . Our dessert was a brownie with coconut ice cream and so good ! Bandar was kind enough to share a good bit with her parents .

We rented bikes after lunch and headed to a fruit stall and paleta stall . Paletas are cream or water based ice creams and a Bandar and I dig into our strawberry and coconut ones respectively .Oh the hubs had Bandar in the child seat and Beetle in the front carry strapped to him ! This left me to truly enjoy my bike ride and ride light ๐Ÿ™‚ He still ride way faster than I did !

Thursday was a snorkeling trip . Bandar despite her new pink snorkel gear was terrified , so we took it in turns watching the kids on the boat and snorkeling . I actually got terribly sea sick for the first time ever and was truly done with boats of any sort by the end of it . Lazy afternoon and paddle ball with the hubs on the beach set me right ! Our kids played in the San while we got a good game in . Truly one of the nicest moments of our trip .

Our dinner on this day was super special and worth mentioning . We took a golf cart to town again and tried – Elvi’s , that everyone said was a must do on the island . We had a reservation through the hotel and I am glad we could avoid the wait . Such a lovely dinner with great Caribbean food from the vegetarian menu . Curry and coconut rice for the win again for me . I could not get enough of it ๐Ÿ™‚ They also had a delicious complimentary corn bread that I still dream about .

Friday was our last full day on the island . Morning swim as usual and stopped by the bakery for some fresh jalapeรฑo rolls baked specially for us ! Short but sweaty bike ride later , we had a lovely brunch at Mesa . Amazing food – I had these bean patties in a salad that blew my mind and Bandar’s half order of pancakes had me jealous and drooling too. We wrapped up a lazy day with a golf cart ride into town for souvenir shopping , chocolate and hot sauce gifts and finally a sunset dinner at Wild Mangoes again ! I had a heart of palm and tropical fruit salad that was so good . By day 8 , I was regretfully embracing salad as a meal as I had really eaten my delicious veggie way through the island by then .

Saturday was our long day of travel back home . Short plane ride , long lay over , long plane ride , gross airport food and super long lay over and one more plane ride sums it up ! We got home around midnight after about 14 hours of travel and were all thankful for the Sunday ahead to truly recover .

Was this a modified itinerary because of the kids ? Yes absolutely – we did not river tubing or cave exploring that we otherwise might have . But was it the Belizean vacation of my dreams to celebrate ten years of togetherness ? Absolutely – and it wouldn’t have been the same without the girlies with us .

I came back truly refreshed and rejuvenated to hit the last half of this year out of the park.

Beautiful Belize

25 Jul

I have wanted to go to Belize for the last 12 odd years ! I think my desire was fueled by a Frasier episode ( The Cranes go Caribbean ) that I particularly loved . Anyway , it was not anywhere within our budget for a honeymoon ten years ago and then there were those years of figuring out adulting – little humans to birth and raise , many moves across states and all that jazz . So our Belizean vacation didn’t materialize for a good long while . Then last Christmas, the hubs had this idea to gift me a holiday 6 months out to match with our 10th anniversary . One big gift instead of two – smart guy indeed . So I remember sitting at the kitchen table around Christmas ever narrowing choices between the Amalfi coast and Belize and given how old our kiddos are , Belize just won . We never once thought about leaving them behind mainly because the only folks I would possibly leave my kids with are the grandparents who live thousands of miles away in India . Annual visits are barely enough to bond with them leave alone be completely in their care . So that is how we ended up doing a trip to Belize with a 6 year old and a newly minted 2 year old this summer.

We started bright and early on a Friday morning and were well prepared for our long day of travel. Our connecting flight was to Belize city was through Houston. For this trip we took Bandar’s chromebook preloaded with downloaded Netflix shows . The girls are very into Llama Llama now which is a sweet adaptation of the books and they got a lot of screen time on our travel days . Actually let me be honest and say , this trip was a rules out of the window heavy video used for distraction trip . Not ideal but it got the job done and gave us parents some down time . When we got to Belize city we had already been traveling a good 10 hours at this point having left home at 5 am . But we weren’t done just yet . We got into a tiny propeller airplane for our final flight to Ambergis Caye – the island off the coast of Belize that would be home for the next 8 days . The plane I think was a twelve seater maybe and the hubs got to ride with the pilot ! How cool was that ๐Ÿ™‚ You know it’s going to be a good trip when you are singled out to hop into the co pilot seat !

Our short 30 minute flight with glorious views of the Caribbean turquoise waters brought us to our destination . We got into a rickety cab and made our way over to our hotel . We stayed at lovely eco friendly hotel that I can not recommend enough . The staff and our stay overall was just fantastic and I can’t wait to go back some day . Our one bedroom suite came with its well stocked kitchenette and we were left lacking nothing ! We had a hammock in the patio to complete my vision for the perfect vacation setting .

After settling in , we set off to get some basics like milk for Beetle. The store was basically right next door to the resort . I love walking around and exploring a new to us place and we did that a lot this trip . We ordered a pizza for the first night for the majority of the family and made some khichidi in my trusty rice cooker for Beetle who surprisingly hates pizza . ( we need to change that before an Italy trip . Right now any pizza in hands reach is thrown on the floor with a ” go away pizza ” said loudly ) .

Day 1 of our trip ! Waking up to this view was a treat in itself ! We set off in search of a lovely bakery that everyone had raves about . Coconut tarts , a mini loaf of banana bread and tea later , we were well fueled for a mid morning swim !

After two wonderful hours of playing in the water , we were ready for super late lunch ! We walked along the beach to a vegetarian friendly lunch spot . That is when the rain started ! So of course we hopped into a beach shack style restaurant for a quick drink and break and waited for the rain to abate . Finally around 3 pm we found ourselves at Iguana Juan ‘s. You will see the cutest signs for them all over the island ! We loved this place so much that we wanted to come back a second time but somehow missed doing so. Quesadillas for the kids , a veggie burger for the hubs and a coconut curry for me ! Perfect Caribbean vacay food .

We trekked back to our hotel stopping by at the Belize Chocolate Botique for some chocolate. Some rest and relaxation at the hotel followed and this included TV for the kids and us . The hubs and I started watching the Indian version of the Office on this trip and it has us in splits of laughter . I love the US adaptation and didn’t expect to like the Indian one but totally did . In the evening , we rented a golf cart to take us to the Truck Stop . Think of makeshift set of outdoor container trucks as store fronts selling pizza , Asian food and Mexican fare . Some live music , an ice cream for Bandar and we were ready to call in a night for day 1. So we enjoyed our bumpy ride back to our hotel .

Will post what we did on the other days soon!