Day 9: Stranded

Breakfast, like dinner, was amazing. I had the Eggs Rancheros which came with the best Canadian bacon I’ve ever had. With our breakfast we had some Tucans having their own breakfast of watermelon.

Our first task of the morning is to make sure we’re on the list for the horseback ride to Xunantunich that the Stalleys are doing today. Jenn is pretty excited but it’s still quite wet out, and I’m worried about riding in the mud. My last experience riding in the mud was pretty scary on Raz. Black Rock calls for us, but they tell us they don’t have anyone signed up to go today, so we decide to try after a short hike. We figure Jenn’s family is off at breakfast in town, and they’re not going until after lunch. The good news is that Hannah’s stables is just up the road and will pick us up so we don’t have to spend money on a transfer out of Black Rock to join them.

We decide to pass the time by hiking down by the river towards the Vaca Falls up the river and put on our hiking shoes and head out. The trail is really muddy and hard to pass in spots. Several times Jenn gets mud on the top of her shoes which isn’t making things much more fun at this point. We made it down to where they do the river tubing, but didn’t feel like going further. Immediately the tubing looked like fun, if only we had brought some and come in sandals! Who cares if it’s cold, we could warm up! We’re planning on cave tubing tomorrow so no big loss.

We check in again with Hannah’s and again and get Santiago, who says they don’t have anyone signed up, and they add that with the rain the trail is too muddy to pass, that the horses are up to their knees in it, and so they’re cancelling the day’s tours! We message Luis to ask what their plans are and he says he talked to Santiago, the owner of Hannah’s, and they’re still on. At this point I don’t know what to believe. Luis can give off a bit of a used car salesman feel, but I think that comes from him always looking for a new way to secure his family’s wellbeing, and so far he’s been nothing but eminently hospitable, going out of his way for us. I just don’t know what to do about Hannah’s, why would I get more than one answer from them? And what are our options? They’re the ones picking us up if it happens. In retrospect I should have realized at this point that neither Luis nor Black Rock or even Hannah’s has any motive to keep us from riding, and there is just a communication problem going on. At this point I should have gotten on the phone with Santiago myself, explained everything that’s going on and gotten to the bottom of this.

While this is all going on we stop for some lunch, again delicious.

I then came to the decision that not being an expert rider, regardless of what was going on with Hannah’s Ranch, I shouldn’t be out riding in this, and Jenn doesn’t want to leave me behind. We decide to just stay at Black Rock and go Kayaking, but first a nap!

It was hard to wake up from the nap, and it’s raining again. Kayaking doesn’t sound very appealing. We decide instead to go down to their really nice palapa (thatched covered open air building) for yoga. They loan out mats and what not which is perfect. I really needed this after all the high intensity activity followed by sitting for long hours we’ve been doing. It felt great hearing the rushing water of the river while doing some more passive poses. Felt like something out of a yoga dvd.

Time sure flies by though. Before we know it, it’s dinner time again! My favorite time of day here at Black Rock.  We get internet on our phones in the dining room, and apparently the Stalleys did show up at Hannah’s and go riding, and had a great time. This is incredibly frustrating as we felt so stranded and out of our own control in our very comfortable prison. Jenn really wanted to go horseback riding and the opportunity to do that and go to the ruins was very enticing. On top of that she doesn’t like the feeling that she could be missing out on an adventure, to not be part of the fun. I feel the same way, but my frustration is tempered with a bit of relief I didn’t need to ride a horse I’d never ridden before in a far off country in slippery conditions. I’m not an expert rider like the rest, I’m barely better than a novice at this point. Getting hurt now would cast a deep shadow over the entire trip. I get that this is probably an unfounded concern caused by my injury this year and these are quite docile horses and aren’t Arabs like I’m used to riding. Arabs are probably the worst sort of horse for me to be learning on, jumped a bit into the deep end, but here we seem to see a lot of Appaloosas.

For dinner this time we’re seated with a Swiss entrepreneur and his German photo touchup artist girlfriend who he was introducing to Belize. They’re a pleasant couple more our age and background, but also wanting to spend their time with themselves. Tonight we had pasta, mine a linguine, Jennifer’s a fettuccini. Originally we planned to share but Jenn likes her dish so much she keep it. The high light was the chocolate pudding pie desert that was phenomenal.

With dinner over it was time to sort out our plans for tomorrow. We had to figure out where to go when and how. We also were toying with the idea of going with a different zipline company because we’d heard that they were better, but in the end decided to just keep it simple and stick with Vitalino’s zipline. We got a response back from him saying that he could have someone meet us at the bus stop at “mile 37” to pick us up and to please confirm, which we did, but by then we’re sure he was asleep. That meant we had to be checked out by 7 and leaving by 7:15 to make the 8am bus to be at our stop before 10am. Our plans still felt shaky though with no response from Vitalino. We decide to just see tomorrow morning and call if we had to.

The day felt a bit like a wasted day, especially with Jenn’s family having such a busy adventurous day. But it’s also a vacation and recuperation from the long year of work. There is nothing wrong with taking it easy sometimes, and many of my friends back home are doing just that and only that.



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