I am a professor at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith (UAFS). This is my first posting, so bear with blemishes if any. I was inspired to do this by my 15-yr old, Amrit, who is now a seasoned airliners guy (and a regular forum poster). Every year, I teach an exciting tropical biology class in Belize, Central America. Enjoy this report of our 2013 trip with 19 students!
We started in Fort Smith Regional Airport (FSM
) and flew via DFW
. Here's our Embraer 145 parked at FSM
we saw Korean and Emirates 777-200s.
We boarded this 737-800 to BZE
from terminal D.
We were treated to this sight of the Korean taxiing toward departure for ICN
Boarding our flight to BZE
Thanks to my gold status, I got a free upgrade to Business class (as it happens every year!)
I walked back to the Economy cabin and captured a glimpse of the excited students.
Good bye, USA (leaving the Louisiana coast somewhere near New Orelans)
The snacks came timely.
was a genial elderly lady with a nice smile.
The salad was tasty.....
and so was the bread.....
I took my customary two-sips of Merlot
Time for the yummy lunch, an aromatic spicy sea food dish.
Not long after lunch, we saw the Yucatan peninsula slide by, and I went back and reminded students that this is where a giant meteorite slammed into earth causing (in most likelihood) the demise of the dinosaurs
Minutes later, we were landing in Belize!
We passed right over the emerald green Belize river.....
....and touched down in BZE
, welcomed by the sight of Cessna Grand Caravans serving the offshore islands (cayes)
We taxiied right by the Belikin brewery, site of the plant which makes Belize's signature beer
Phillip Goldson International Airport, Belize City
Exiting the aircraft and stepping into the warm tropical air
Sneakily took this photo of a Tropic Air Cessna before being politely reminded by grounds crew that photography was not allowed
The noisy and crowded arrival hall
After clearing customs, we were welcomed by Eric Tut, our knowledgeable tour guide for the next 7 days
Eric runs Paradise Expeditions, one of Belize's best nature tour companies. This van took us right around the little country in nice airconditioned comfort.
Exhausted, the students took to the hammocks for a catnap shortly after reaching Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary
We stayed in this wonderful lodge right by the lagoon teeming with waterbirds.
The lagoon offered good views of the spectacular Jabiru Storks, the tallest bird in the Americas (not seen in this photo)
Birding was awesome in the scrub around
Wildflowers were plenty and in full bloom
The stately Guanacaste tree, one of the iconic giants of the neotropics! From beneath this cathedral like tree I lectured on the current role played by livestock in the dispersal of its large seed pods. In ancient prehistoric times, the tree was dispersed by the Pleistocene magafauna like wild camels and horses.
Back at the lodge, this poor Tropical Kingbird had blundered against our windows. It was a teachable moment for me, as I explained the adaptations of Kingbirds to hawk insects in mid air.
We were accompanied by Prof Douglas A. James of the University of Arkansas, my mentor and best friend of over 25 years. Doug is an encyclopedia of Belize natural history and the students learned a great deal from him. At 88 yrs of age, he still leads trips to the tropics!
Food at the Bird's Eye View lodge was phenomenal! Fresh, sumptuous, and local.
[Edited 2013-07-03 18:07:56]
Continuing on the next post.....
[Edited 2013-07-03 18:08:25]
Now more than ever, moving forward with the new American.