Long before I had heard the term “Bucket List” I had compiled my own set of adventures that I wanted to experience prior to my demise. Towards the top of my goals was travel to and exploration of Central America.
Of those Latin American countries, Belize was an easy choice. First and foremost the nation’s language is English. Second the cost of living is inexpensive, and last but not least the area holds a plethora of activities.
My order was quite simple:
- 1. Relax a couple of days by the beautiful Caribbean Sea
- 2. Visit the Belize Zoo and Baboon Sanctuary
- 3. Explore the Mayan Ruins of Altun Ha, Xunantunich, and Cahal Pech
- 4. Hike through the jungle and spelunk in the Lost World Cave
I choose to do the hiking and spelunking at the end of my trip as it was what I was looking most forward to and I wanted to save the best for last. It turned out to be my best and worst trip.
After spending a couple of days in Belize City I took off for the Zoo and Baboon Sanctuary. Both were interesting as well as educational. Note to the reader, Belize Baboons are actually Howler Monkeys.
Next it was off to the ruins of Altun Ha. It was here the Crystal Skull was found. Again a note to the reader, the skull was jade not crystal. Temples and other buildings have been unearthed and now sit amongst well manicured lawns. Unlike travel in the U.S., here one can freely walk or scramble upon the hundreds of steps of the structures. Xunantuich was equally as impressive if not more. Knowing that from the high terraces you can scan the panorama and imagine many of the hills in the distance may well hold other undiscovered ruins. Cahal Pech was the least impressive, but its completion meant I was closer to the “Lost World” tour.
That evening things changed. I awoke in the middle of the night to a pounding headache, a bloated stomach and severe nausea. It did not take long for my body to begin expelling everything that I had drank or eaten in the prior few days.
Armed with bottles of Pepto Bismol and Power Aide I made it back to Belize City and my original hotel. With what little energy I had left I climbed into bed and turned on the T.V. Low and behold what was on but “The Bucket List”? For those whom are not familiar with the story line, it involves two men that are terminally ill. The roles are played by Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. A mid their misery they talk about the so called “Bucket List” of activities they always wanted to do prior to dying. Now with eternity calling it appears they will never achieve their goals.
Its funny how ones mind works. But when you are sick and alone in a foreign country it’s quite easy to deduce that this could be your final curtain as well. In between trips to the bathroom I bonded with the movies characters. Even though I think of myself as a rough and rugged individual I found myself literally crying. The tears were as much for me as for the movie. Together, Jack, Morgan and I lay in bed sick, vomiting and sobbing over what could have and should have been.
I now travel with a different action itinerary. I would encourage the reader to adopt these tips as well.
1. Always schedule the most desirable activity first
2. Always travel with someone if possible
3. Always travel with plenty of Imodium A.D. and Tylenol Flu
4. Remember to keep your mouth shut in the shower
5. And last but not least -Never watch sad movies on vacation.