Netflix may have recently released Daredevil to critical acclaim, but after my recent Winterim trip to Belize I would give this show a run its money.
Trekking through Actun Tunichil Muknal, I freaked out after seeing a scorpion spider, but taking in the gorgeous waterfalls and rock formations provided comfort. Throughout the journey, I was careful with my footing as we traversed wet rocks and other challenging terrain. Following a skilled guide who would frighten us by pretending to disappear (and reappear), we eventually reached a holy Mayan site, filled with artifacts dating back to 800 BC—including crystallized columns, shadow art, pots and even skeletons.
I also enjoyed performing community service at a school in San Ignacio, where the kids live and breathe soccer. They even scribbled the names of soccer stars Ronaldo, Neymar and Messi on their desks. I tried speaking to them about other subjects like history and math, but conversation would eventually return to our mutual love for the world’s greatest sport.
All of the classes were taught in Spanish and English, with multilingual students also speaking various Mayan dialects. In one classroom, I counted about 40 kids learning from a single teacher—a huge difference to the student-to-teacher ratio here.
The differences didn’t stop there. When I tried playing Pictionary with a classroom of energetic third-graders, the teacher struggled to find a decent dry-erase marker. Instead, the kids built paper airplanes, spending the next half-hour competing against each other to make the best one. Before leaving, I also took delight in donating markers, crayons, paper and other supplies to the School.
The next morning presented me with my most daring adventure—diving in an underwater blue hole no bigger than 20-feet in diameter, but over 1,000-feet deep. I swam down about five feet, before noticing catfish of various sizes.
Later on that day, we ventured to a small island whose palm trees, pure white sand and crystal-clear water left me breathless. I jumped at the chance to go snorkeling (see video above), where I captured sharks and other marine life. I spent my evening swaying in a hammock, overlooking the ocean and star-filled sky. I wanted time would stay still, and for this moment to last forever.
During the trip, the weather was a perfect 86 degrees and sunny. Here’s to hoping Boston catches up.