Once again we found ourselves back in Belize City, and with most of the morning to kill before our flight home. Tony, Gary & Linda, and Elayne and I decided to rent a car and visit the Belize Zoo. The zoo is about 30 miles east of the city on the Western Highway, which took about half an hour to drive.

The Belize Zoo had moved to its new location since our last trip in 1990, but the home grown charm was still evident. All of the animals on exhibit are native to Belize, and the exhibits were created by fencing in sections of the jungle. We had a blast interacting with the parrots, which flew over to us and begged for head scratching and a conversation or two. The river otter was having a great time in his new pool, which looped around his enclosure. Otters and ferrets are both mustelids, so it was great to get a "weasel fix" after two weeks of separation, but the best was yet to come.

Nearby a very sweet tayra ran up to her cage wire and followed us about as we walked about. This cute girl had obviously been someone's pet and she rolled over on her back and stared at us, yawned, and waited by us as we talked to her. We were entranced and fell in love. Tayras, or bush dogs are also mustelids, and we had seen one in the wild back in Tikal -- we were in heaven.

We drove west for a few minutes to Cheers, a restaurant and bar with an outdoor dining area. A wide variety of signed T-shirts, plaques and banners hung from the ceiling rafters representing various events from Belize and visitors from around the world. After lunch we drove to the madness that awaited us at the airport.

Ugh. Airports and coach class could have undone much of the good a great vacation had done, but we were too tired to care. Gary and Linda had a later flight back to the states, so we bid them farewell, but Tony would be traveling with us all the way back to Portland. The flights seemed much longer than those on the way down, and the seats and service were definitely below the standard of first class, but exhaustion and a drink or two in a Houston bar did much to make the time pass. In Portland we waved good-bye to Tony and found transportation back home around 1 AM.

It has now been over a month since we returned from our trip, and Elayne and I find ourselves looking back longingly at the simple life on the island and the exotic lure of Tikal. We also miss the friends we made on this trip, and will be glad when we can put together our slide show and invite Tony & friends over so we can relive our vacation once again.

We were delighted with our experiences through Slickrock Adventures and recommend them to anyone who is seeking a tropical adventure.

All photographs (except for the underwater snapshots) were taken with an Olympus OM-1 MD on 100 ASA Kodak Select Elite Chrome slide film.

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