Tuesday, November 9 2021 – 8:00 am – shudder.

When I woke up at 7:00am for my 8:00am meeting, Chris was way ahead of me.  She has been on the balcony, watching the sunrise.  So, courtesy of her, here’s the kind of picture you’ll never get from me:

I did get to my 8am meeting on time.  I landed a smart bunch of teammates and a sweet itinerary from Seabourn, Athens to Singapore, 22 days.  I have pictures from all the ports of call and will be able to make some very pretty slides.  I got enough input from the meeting for content, so all is well. Off to the shore excursion at 10:00 am.

The ship’s clock did us in again and we were an hour early for our shore excursion.  I did a little work in the cabin, while Chris waited in the theatre, where the shore excursions groups were meeting, to see what would happen.  When she called me, I came running.  She had learned something very useful.  If you ever want to know what ship’s time is, pick up the phone in your room to reset it, put it down and check the display.  There will be the correct ship’s time.  Yes, I know it’s supposed to be on the TV, too, but damned if we could find it on this ship.  

We got off late in Belize.  The Constellation was their first cruise ship since COVID and procedures weren’t running quite smoothly yet.  Kind of like the ship. But the tour guides, RC, Doris and Hiro, were so happy to be back at work.  They couldn’t do enough for us, nor tell us enough about their pretty country.  They let us know that they would tell us what was in the script but the script wasn’t always right.  For example, the script says all the Mayans, found on the island by the settlers, were wiped out by fighting or disease.  Doris is sure that isn’t true, just as sure as she is sure she is a full blood Mayan. 

After about an hour of driving through the countryside, we got to a restaurant on a lagoon, for a pit stop, mama bear, and to embark on a motor launch to take us the rest of the way to the Mayan ruins.  If there ever was a place we didn’t need masks, this was it, but they are very careful on Belize. 

We got off on Lamanai (Sleeping Crocodile) island and RC gave us an overview of what we were going to see.

There was a terrible racket going on, which we were soon told was a group of howler monkeys.  These relatives of mine swing through the trees, eating anything they can lay their hands on.  They seldom touch the ground and they make a helluva lot of noise to warn other howler monkeys away, because they don’t want to have to fight them.  That makes a lot of sense to me.  It’s a lot easier to holler than to engage in battle.  It also seems reasonable that they stay up in the trees, as there are crocodiles and snakes on the ground.  We didn’t meet any.  We did see a jaguar, though. 

The natives call this the “Jaguar Temple” and if you look closely at the pattern of the holes, you can see why.  The temple rises about six times as high as what I have shown, and they don’t let you climb it.  It’s too dangerous.  That’s OK with me.  I didn’t want to climb it anyway.  I was much happier to press on to the next one and get a picture of a howler monkey on the way.

This is the Sun Temple and it also has a ball court.  If you want a good read with insights into the Mayan way of life, I recommend “Aztec” by Gary Jennings.  There was some climbing allowed at this one, but I didn’t see anyone doing it.  Chris and I spent extra time here, with Doris, rather than going on to the next one.  My ankle, with its pseudo gout,  was getting a lot more of a workout than it wanted.  It was fine with me.  I can watch monkeys for hours.  Here’s the Sun Temple. 

Presently our group returned and we proceeded down the hill to our boat, and lunch, which was either very good or we were starving.  Whaddya know, there was a sleeping croc at the boat dock.

We were the last boat in and the last bus back at the ship.  We missed the show, but we never miss dinner.  And we slept very well. 

Wednesday, November 10

There is something to be said for just taking a day for oneself and one’s project.  Chris and I finally managed to have eggs Benedict for breakfast, something I just consider a part of cruising life.  I got to the gym for a bit and I got to work.  I had a backup drive with me so I was able to fish up photographs of my own for almost everything I needed, including an Alfred Hitchcock touch for the ending.  I incorporated everything anyone sent me and was ready for our meeting at 6:00pm.  There, we went through it, adjusted it, added a Seabourn video and pronounced ourselves good to go.

Chris and I had a great dinner to go to.  We were joining Jim and Marilyn Atkins for dinner at Le Petit Chef.  Jim and Marilyn took over the Holland America world cruise from me, when I had to give it up in 2016, and have been doing it ever since, until the pandemic hit.  They were anxious to meet me, and I, them.  We had such a wonderful time taking pictures of our animated plates, that we forgot to have the server take a picture of us.  You’ll have to settle for a picture of the winning chef and his dish. Yum.