As for the travels- that was quite the adventure. We started out on the water taxi from San Pedro to Belize City, which is roughly 1 ½ hours on the water. From Belize City we caught a bus towards Punta Gorda. The bus loading scene really set the stage for how this part of our adventure was to go. We stood at a gate and then rushed to the bus entrance with a mob of people. Luckily we got seats but there were lots of people who got turned away. This was the most intense bus ride of my life because it was suffocatingly hot, and they just kept shoving people on. After about 5 ½ hours on the bus we made it to Punta Gorda.
The first stop on our inland trip resulted a a few spontaneous events. The first one was the Warasa Drum School where we learned how to play the Garifuna drums. Our instructor was amazing! He not only introduced us to the Garifuna drums, but also their rich culture and history. I love learning about this kind of stuff so it was a major highlight of the trip- even though I don't have any drum rhythm. After the drum school I was able to go with a two other girls to rent kayaks. We paddled upstream on this lake that reminded me of the movie “Anaconda,” and I kept waiting for something scary to jump out of the mangroves.
The chocolate day was split into two sections so we had this delicious lunch. It was buffet style and everything was cooked in one way or another with cocoa. Then we got to the good stuff: making chocolate. First they roast the beans to the perfect temperature and then we had to crack/peel the shells off. After that there was this grinding board, which was actually an artifact passed down from our guides grandparents. The beans grind down and then you have to move at a faster pace, eventually creating the most unsatisfying pure chocolate. From this step you start to add sugar, lots of sugar, and eventually you have chocolate bars sweetened to your liking. Of course there are faster steps to this process now, but our guide wanted us to experience the traditional way so we would have a great appreciation for what we eat.