By: Jeremy Clow
The wonderful spring break, during my undergraduate meant a week for relaxation and catching up on non-education based tasks. This spring break I decided to take a mini vacation however this did more than set me back with the everyday tasks and my graduate work. So much busy work can be completed in just a few days, it is amazing how crucial every minute is in one day. Time management is key for anyone who intends to thrive in this day in age. Being able to manage yourself on a personal level with family and friends, while keeping up a day job to stay financially sound, all while furthering your education might make you a superhero. The much needed break however provided me the opportunity to take a fantastic journey. Catching up with family, friends, and loved ones alike for a few days made a great start to the journey. I decided to take a cruise over break, capturing the opportunity of visiting three additional countries as well. I cannot stress how important the multiple cultures, experiences, and especially architecture are to my way of thinking. A diverse and profound way of life lies beyond our borders, it truly provides and understanding and a sense of respect for all the benefits and accommodations we take for granted here in the United States. I set a goal for myself at a young age to see the world and by this I mean every country possible. Doing so I don’t want to just see the major cities and the tourist hot spots. While on the cruise I booked excursion opportunities through a variety of local partners in each country. In Mexico the ship ported in Cozumel Island, from there a tender boat took me to the mainland, Playa del Carmen where I took a charter bus about an hour South to visit the ancient Mayan city of Tulum. This particular Mayan civilization was the last to exist 100% Maya. After the migration from this community the Maya mixed with other indigenous cultures. The ruins in Tulum are also the only Mayan construction on the coast. The large limestone constructions still stand today anywhere from just a foundation to the walls, roof, and all portions left intact. The next country I visited was Honduras, only the island of Roatan however. Due to in climate weather I was restricted in my travels to one day and could not access the mainland of Honduras. On the Island I was able to do some snorkeling on the second largest reef in the world, next to the amazing Great Barrier Reef. I also kayaked, swam with a few sea turtles, ate an authentic Honduran cuisine, and enjoyed some time in the sun. Upon leaving Honduras we set sail for the Country of Belize. Amazing enough the same reef I snorkeled stretched to this country as well. The high points of the reef and shallow waters created some nautical difficulties for the cruise liner’s making them set anchor over two miles from the shore. In Belize City, Belize I took a water taxi from the main pier to a river that runs from the main part of the country. Uniquely this river provides a variety of wildlife from its freshwater portion to its saltwater. At the mouth of the river a few manatees could be spotted coming up for air. Farther up river we saw crocodiles, monkeys, fruit bats, and loads of iguanas. A wonderful experience on the river for over two hours ended at a local restaurant. At the particular location a series of picnic benches and small shops were provided outside, with a line lunch style for serving the cuisine. Fresh chicken off the grill, rice, beans, and some extremely spicy salsa made for a great lunch. I booked a charter bus from here to take us deep into the jungle to visit the Altun Ha Mayan ruins in Belize. Almost an hour of transport via the bus provided a unique view of the countryside. Everything from single homes, neighborhoods, industrialization, to large commercial complexes could be seen mile after mile. The unique zoning in Belize allows the property owners to build whatever they please on their land.
…To be continued.