Even in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, winter has blasted us with more than a few days of below freezing weather and icy roads. For one week my husband and I wanted to be warm, so we signed up for a cruise to the western Caribbean. The five-hour drive to Houston wasn’t bad, and we arrived well before sailing time.
But then, the boat didn’t sail. Fog covered Galveston Bay, and the harbor authorities wouldn’t let us leave until after noon.
Finally underway, we relaxed until the captain notified us of a change in plans. Instead of arriving in Cozumel, we were going to Costa Maya, and not visiting Roatan. Quickly, we signed up for a different excursion, a visit to a Mayan village and lunch with a Mayan family. Mayan culture is slowing disappearing, but after an hour on a bus, we rode around a small village. Houses of wood or cinderblock have tin or thatched roofs. Some concrete buildings are there for a safe place during hurricanes. We saw a temple made of earth and rocks, probably built in 600-800 B.C. Excavations in 1996 revealed bodies of three children, although Mayans usually sacrificed animals instead of humans. Native products include lobster, rubber, chiclet for chewing gum , sugar cane for making rum, and mandarin oranges.
We visited the home of a Mayan family and watched a man scrape a large leaf to make fibers from the Seisal plant. These can be made into rope for boats or hammocks. We ate Chicken Pibil, which had been cooked in a pot over coals in a hole covered with palm
leaves and dirt. They served it on soft corn tortillas with avocado sauce and habanero dressing. Not being a fan of very spicy food, I chose the avocado sauce. The family had several small buildings with dirt floors, including bedrooms and a kitchen, which is shown at the right.
At Belize, we rode a bus for an hour on one of the country’s four highways to visit a huge Mayan temple, about 135 feet high at the Xunantunich ruins. I was going to climb to the top until I saw how
After the ship docked at Cozumel, I put on my sturdy shoes for my adventure excursion. I’d signed up for zip-lining and snorkeling. However, I soon discovered that including walking on a shaky wood strip bridge and a rope net one, as well as rappeling down a tower wall. Holding my breath, I sat in my harness, and the attendant pushed me off. It wasn’t as hard as I’d thought to shove off the wall with my feet. In fact, it was almost as much fun as the ziplining. Then I had to walk on the rope bridge pictured above, which shook with every step.
Jesus, my guide for snorkeling, took me right through a school of black and yellow striped fish. Then he gave me a starfish to hold. Unlike the common variety, this one had arms that stuck out like prickly snakes. The other guide caught a white prickly puff ball fish. He said the white ones were good to eat, but black ones were poisonous.
I enjoyed trying new gourmet dishes on the ship. On the last day of the cruise, we had lobster tail and beef wellingon. After that the cooks marched around the dining room with platters of baked Alaska, neopolitan ice cream covered with meringue and baked. I bought a cookbook written by the chef and plan to try some of the gourmet dishes.