Cuddle and High Five
(Photos coming soon.)
After saying good-bye to our new friends at DuPlooy’s, we headed to the Belize Zoo and got a “behind-the-scenes” tour from zoo founder and director Sharon Matola whom we know from the book “The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw”, which chronicles Sharon’s single-handed fight against the government building the Chalillo Dam on the Macal River. The animals at the zoo come when she calls and her belief is “There is no animal who does not respond to whispers.” Most of us held a baby crocodile named Rose who is one-year old and is called the “cuddly croc.” She will grow to be up to 12 feet long and we’re not sure she’ll be so cuddly then!
We had an amazing close encounter with five Jaguars – their names were Lucky Boy (who was actually all black), Springfield, CT, Junior Buddy and Fieldmaster. Fieldmaster stole the show because he rolled over and high-fived each of us individually. We were only 2-3 inches from his face!
Next, we got the assignment to buy a fruit we did not recognize from the Belmopan market. Some of the fruit that we bought and later tried were star fruit, Malay apple, guava, kenèp, dragon fruit and a Belizean avocado (which they call a pear).
After our exhilarating experience at the Zoo, we took a refreshing dip at Blue Hole National Park in a river that runs under a mountain and comes up into a reservoir and then goes back under the mountain. Laura led us in a synchronized water ballet as we appropriately sang “In the Jungle.”
We traveled the Hummingbird Highway, which is the most scenic highway in Belize and is so named because it is like the flight of a hummingbird — crooked, and up and down.
Our next destination was the Jaguar Preserve, where we stayed in cabins for two nights. After a delicious dinner at the Jaguar Preserve, we went on a night walk and got up-close and personal with Red-eyed Tree Frogs, a coffee snake, a cat-eye snake eating tree frog eggs, a Blunt-headed Vine Snake, a Red-rump Tarantula, an opossum, and a scorpion. We caught a bird called a paraque whose eyes glow red when a light is shined on them. Our night ended with military cold showers — rinse, soap, rinse, done.