Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day 1 – Miami

A funny thing happened on the way to the US today. About four hours into our London-Miami haul, a member of the cabin crew leant down beside me and said, “Are you the parents of the two teenage boys at the back of the plane?”Having received similar questions in the past from teachers on the telephone, police and even paramedics, I visibly shrunk into my seat. “Well, we’d like to give you this bottle of champagne, as they’ve been so well behaved, really delightful children.” This was about as probable as winning the lottery without buying a ticket, and, as it turns out, not the first surprising event on this trip. So it was Bucks Fizz all round on our stop-over in Miami.

In 1986 we travelled around Mexico and went to the Yucatan and Chichen Itza, the huge Mayan site with its pyramids and sacred cenote. I was pleased, therefore, to be going to Guatamala and Belize to visit the Mayan heartland, to sites such as Xuantunich, Altun Ha, Lamanai and Tikal. We also planned to canoe and swim into two deep caves containing Mayan sacrificial relics and skeletons. In addition, we had the prospect of the rain forest, something I’ve always wanted to hike in, especially to see the bird life. You see, I’ve developed an amateurish ‘birding’ habit, regarded as a the onset of dementia by my children. Finally, we’re to chill out on an island off the Belize barrier reef to snorkel with sharks, rays and turtles. This form of wildlife, unlike birds, is regarded as pretty cool by my children.

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