Today (July 16, 2022) we have a "Baby Bear" graduating pre-school. He is looking dapper as ever, and beaming from ear to ear.
This year was truly an accomplishment. Romen has grown in so many ways and we have seen him hit so many milestones along the way. One of the things that was most impressive, was to see him count from 0 to over 100. This year we got to do many things together. We enjoyed sports day, career day, baking together, and most recently (a trip to the mainland), to go to the zoo, horseback riding and to experience cave tubing.
Romen embarks now on a journey to the United States to see his great-grandparents, do a little clothes shopping and will soon return to start his next year in a brand new school.
Special thanks to Teacher Marina, we truly have been so impressed. We remember our first day of school together (August of 2021), and here we are now our last day of school (July 16, 2022). A special thanks to all the teachers for helping Romen this past year. The family truly did appreciate all the perseverance, patience, kindness, hugs & kisses.
"Baby Bear Romen"
A year ago, we were celebrating Marcy's graduation from junior college. Now a year later, we are celebrating Romen's graduation from pre-school. Each year brings new adventures and new hurdles. We have been through so much together, and yet one thing remains consistent, our love for one another. We are excited to see what the 2022-2023 school year will bring, and hopefully this time next year, we will be celebrating another successful year of accomplishments.
Know your family loves & supports you. We are so proud of you and graduating pre-school is such an accomplishment. Teacher Marina says she will miss you, and we know that you will embark on a new journey come September.
Say Cheese Romen!
Romen likes to show us how fast he can run. Of course you will never capture that on camera. I told him, "We just blink and you have disappeared".
As Always, We Miss You Jaymin
Exploring Footprint Cave
After visiting the zoo, we needed to find a place to stay (close by) for the night. Additionally, something also to keep us busy on our "weekend getaway with Romen". Since we were close to the Hummingbird Highway (a beautiful stretch of road by-the-way), we decided to jot down the highway and see if Cave Branch had any rooms available. Sure enough we were able to get a small inexpensive bungalo and take Romen cave tubing the following morning.
Belize Zoo to Cave Branch
Cave Branch Lodge
We opted for a small bungalow to keep our cost down, but Cave Branch upgraded us to a treehouse room, to help make our experience more enjoyable. WOW!
Dinner at the Lodge
Romen the Cave Explorer
The following morning Romen knew he was going cave tubing, but I don't think he knew exactly what that meant. He woke up in his chiper self, and said he was ready to have his adventure for the day. We ate breakfast at the lodge (7:00am) and by 8:45am we were loading ourselves into an old bus and heading down Hummingbird Highway.
The bus ride took about 15-20 minutes, we crossed some orange tree farms and then parked. We emptied the bus, and got into a tractor full of inner tubes and took a short drive where we would hike to the rivers edge. At the river, we got into our inner tubes and gently paddled to the cave entrance. Today we are going to explore the "Footprint Cave".
This is one of the more famous cave found in the area. Footprint Cave gets its name after the calcified footprints found in the deeper section of the cave, along with a number of artifacts and skeletal remains. The cave was looted in 1994, and many artifacts and remains are now gone, but you can still see where there is evidence of ancient fire pits, and shards of Mayan pottery. It was quite an unreal and humbling experience to sit next to a pile of ash that might be over 2,000 years old but still looks warm. The cave itself is stunningly beautiful, cathedral-like, with massive stalactites that shimmer in the light of the headlamp.
Cave Tubing - Footprint Cave
Walking to the River
Exploring the Underworld at Footprint Cave
Because we just started the rainy season, the river running through the cave still had low levels in places. So, we found ourselves regularly hopping in & out of our tubes, walking across gravel. This cave had some amazing rock formations surrounding us.
Caves Branch owns the cave privately, so only the government and employees of Caves Branch can access it. This gives Footprint Cave a level of authenticity and ruggedness that you don't experience while cave tubing in Belize elsewhere.
Entrance to Footprint Cave
The Mayan people revered caves as the entrance to the underworld, or Xibalba (shi-BAL-bah). as they call it. They saw the world as one big universe comprising of a giant tree. The roots were the stalactites found growing beneath the earth's surface in the caves. The tree trunk was the surface of the earth, and the leaves were where the deities lived.
Footprint Cave Tubing - Our guide helped us get into our tubes at the river's edge, we then paddled against the current upstream for aways, until we came to the cave's entrance. We stopped for a short photoshoot, packed our phones, wallets, purses in a dry bag and hopped back into our inner tubes to explore this cave.
Rock Formations - The critters and Maya artifacts were intriging, but the rock formations in this cave will leave your jaw on the floor. Curtains, stalactites, stalagmites, bacon, and crystalline formations abound and, illuminated by headlamps as you pass by, many of them glitter beautifully. Some are even mildly phosphorescent, as our guides demonstrated by having us turn out our headlamps to see how much light one of the stones retained.
We stopped along the way to learn how to spot signs of running water in the cave and how this influences cave’s formations. Deep inside Footprint Cave, you'll find blades, and evidence of many cermeonial fires and altars.
Cave Silk Strands
Pottery & Ancient Relics
Ancient Maya relics. Obsidian blades, pottery shards, altars, manos and metates, and evidence of fire pits abound on this cave tubing adventure. Our guides let us touch some of the broken pottery artifact fragments (which was really cool), as they weren't considered valuable from a cultural or monetary perspective.
This was an amazing experience for Romen. He totally did not expect to get to eat a picnic lunch inside a cave. He grabbed his tortilla and literally couldn't decide which plate to take food from first. Enjoying a picnic together (in total darkness) should have been an erry experience, but with everyone sitting around sharing stories - it was really enjoyable. We each built our own tortilla, with all the fixings, filled out tummies and then got back in our inner tubes to explore more of the cave. The candle light, really made the experience memorable.
After our picnic, we slowly made our way back to the entrance of the cave and floated down the river to the drop off where we started. We walked back to the tractor, which took us to the bus, so we could head back to the lodge.
This ends Romen's great adventure cave exploring in Belize. This weekend both his grandma's (& Mami), wanted to treat him to a series of mainland adventures. It was a great weekend togther. I am often limited as to the things I can do, so we took it at a pace that made it easy for me. I enjoyed the time with Diana and Marcy (very much), especially jamming to 1980's music as we drove down the Hummingbird Highway.
As our cave adventure ended, we hopped into our vehicle and headed back to Belize City, to catch the 5:30pm boat to the island. Little did we know, we were in for another adventure just around the corner, but that my friends is for another blog post. So the question Romen has now is, where are we going next?
We Miss You Jaymin
We think about you all the time, and wonder how you are doing, what you are up to. It's hard being apart and not knowing where you are. All our love always.
Rainforest Horseback Riding
Phenominal Experience for Families
When coming to Belize you might say to yourself, "I've already been horseback riding in the States." But ask yourself: Have you been horseback riding in the rainforest? Now I bet you'll get a whole different answer, and a whole different experience.
Romen, you ready for
FOOD & SNACKS
#1) Double-Breasted Cormorant - Can be found along mangroves, coastlines, nearshore waters of cayes, harbors and coastal beaches along mainland coast, and occasionally shrimp farms. They are resident birds on Ambergris Caye.
#2) Royal Tern - Can be found along the beaches, cayes and shrimp farms. They are a year-round visitor here in Belize and you can find these along the coast on Ambergris Caye.
#3) Franklin Gull - Can be found along coastal waters near beaches, estuaries, lagoons, and shrimp farms. It's an occasional spring and autumn transient along coastal waters from late February to late May
#4) Laughing Gull - Can be found on coastal areas, cayes and offshore; occasionally in migration at inland lagoons. It is a common winter visitor along the coast and offshore; locally common in summer and populated cayes.
#5) Brown Pelican - Can be found along coastlines, inshore and offshore waters, offshore islands; less common in estuaries and shrimp farms, rarely inshore lagoons and ponds. Nests in colonies in mangroves. A year-round visitor on Ambergris Caye.
#6) White Pelican - Can be found in estuaries, lagoons, shrimp farms, occasionally reservoirs, and ocean. Common winter visitor from October to May, primarily north of Belize City along coast and cayes.
This lovely lady I'm sitting next to (is Roman's mom), the mother to my grandson. Together, we are going to take the boys (Jaymin & Romen - Jaymin being my other grandson), on a series of adventures throughout the country of Belize. This is our photo diary of those adventures, to share with you. Many of these adventures can be enjoyed by families (just like us), while traveling on vacation in Belize.
About Belize Birds
About Belize Zoo
About Bird Watching
About Cave Exploring
About Coconuts In Belize
About Coffee Roasting
About Dock Fishing W/ Kids
About Fishing Gear For Kids
About Fun Things To Eat
About Horseback Riding
About Ice Cream Tour
About - Sports Day
About - Stimulus Month
About - Tree Planting
About - What Is A Chef?