On our final morning in Belmopan, we broke fast with an RN from the US who had come to know Belize through the Peace Corps. He was very impressed at how much we had traveled already. When we mentioned that we were on our honeymoon he said very seriously, "It seems like it." I wasn't sure whether he meant that we seemed happy or in love, or whether he was referring to the fact that his room was right next to ours.
After breakfast, we showered and packed the remainder of our things. When it was time to go, Anna and Tim came out to give us hugs and see us off. Anna jokingly asked if Charlie had packed Smokey into one of our backpacks. We thanked them for everything and then Adrian drove us to the airport. There we would be picked up by another driver and travel 30 miles north to the Maruba Resort Jungle Spa, just a couple miles north of the tiny village of Maskall on the Old Northern Highway. We arrived at the airport a little before noon just to make sure we wouldn't miss the driver, and then ended up waiting half an hour before the car even appeared.
One of the resort's owners, Melanie, had come into town with the van. She was festively dressed in a Santa hat and was accompanied by her two young children and a wiener dog named Maya. We sat in the van and waited another half hour for more guests who had just arrived but had been held up at customs. We were tired and pretty annoyed by having to wait so long when we had been made to think that we had arranged and paid for private transportation.
Finally, the two guests in question climbed into the van. They were a middle-aged woman named Deborah and her 20-something son, Tracy. We began chatting with them and learned that we were all from Washington State. Deborah was very sweet and seemed somewhat new to traveling and a bit anxious about it. We tried to set her mind at ease. Melanie gave us some general information about this particular region of Belize as we traveled north on the rough and unpredictable Old Northern Highway. The driver was a maniac and I thought we'd be lucky to make it to the resort at all considering the way he sped along the narrow, tooth-shattering road. We had a couple of close calls with oncoming traffic around blind bends, but fortunately made it in one piece.
We were escorted to the covered open-air dining, bar and lounge area at the center of the resort grounds. We were given welcome drinks, signed our releases, and then were taken around for orientation. When I had booked our room several months before, the owners had graciously offered us a free upgrade to a junior suite since it was our honeymoon. Melanie began leading us to our room and, just as we were about to turn down the path that would take us there, she asked us to wait a moment and then disappeared. She came back a few minutes later with a different room key and informed us that she was upgrading us again, this time to the penthouse, as a honeymoon gift. The exterior of our building was cloaked top to bottom in a thick layer of shiny, silver paint, as if clad in tinfoil.
Our tinfoil building
We walked up three flights of stairs to the penthouse and entered through the large wooden, French style double doors, which were decorated with some kind of perilously sharp metal art sculpture.
Artsy doors and balcony
The penthouse was also painted silver on the inside, and decorated like a bohemian whorehouse, with linens, drapes, and pillows in various shades of blue, purple, and red. A red chandelier with a whore-sign red lightbulb at its center hung over the bed. Red hibiscus flowers had been positioned on top of every towel, table, toilet tank, and even the toilet paper. You had to remove them from anything you wanted to touch. The bed and sheets were awesomely soft, although they smelled a bit mildewy, as one might expect them to in such a damp jungle environment. Overall it was very nice, even if a bit garish. I made Charlie pose suggestively on the bed.
Did someone order a hot slab of man?
Colorful room furnishings
Facing the door
Mosaic tiled bathroom
We dropped off our baggage and then returned to the restaurant to collect the Belizean chicken plates that we had ordered upon arrival. We climbed into the treehouse dining area and had a great meal. We returned to our room, Cha had a nap and I played FreeCell. Then we decided to set out and explore the grounds in order to better orient ourselves in this jungle maze. The resort had two pools, a hot tub, hookah lounge, and spa area, plus a small chapel. It was during this exploratory walk that we discovered that the entire resort is a broken hip waiting to happen. It had been raining steadily so everything was wet. The designer had chosen the slipperiest tiles with which to pave every walkway, pool side, pool interior, bathtub, and bathroom flooring. We had to watch our step at all times. Not only that, but you had to watch out for all the sharp decorative flourishes just waiting to reach out and stab you. No wonder they had us sign a release!
Lizard at the pool side
Stylish flip-flops provided by the resort
Cha relaxing in the hot tub
We had dinner at the restaurant, which for some reason was bathed in black light. It was flattering neither to the occupants nor the food. Fortunately, everything but the desert was good and we were thankful that they didn't gouge us on the prices, considering that we had no alternative because of how remote the place was. We returned to our penthouse and Cha smoked on the veranda while I crawled into the soft bed and attempted to read, falling asleep twice. He eventually joined me and we called it a night.