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Guten Tog! The Two Fools are back on the road!

After a brief hiatus so that we could check back in with work and family – and for Frank to get his right hip replaced – we are back in action.

We are headed to Scandinavia! We will be exploring Norway, home of my ancestors – or so the story goes – I’ve been doing Ancestry and making some surprising discoveries! [More on that on a later blog.]


We will be living in apartments all along the way so we can feel like locals. I will continue to work, except for a vacation where we are hopping on the mailboat that runs up and down the Norwegian coast – to above the Arctic Circle all the way to the Russian border.

So come along for our adventure. Our first hurdle will be getting Frank and his new hip through security!


Next stop: The Fjords

The Story of duPlooy Jungle Lodge & Farewell Belize!

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Catwalk Frank

[Note: At long last, our final entry from Belize!  Now – adventure awaits elsewhere in the world!]

Our little lodge was founded by a family from the United States who had 5 daughters. Believe it or not, their grandparents were from Tilghman Island, right by St. Michaels, Maryland!  They were living in Sullivans Island, South Carolina (another small world story) when they decided to explore Central America.  They drove down through Mexico, camping along the way.

Eventually, they landed in Belize, where an overgrown farm on the Macal River was for sale.  They bought it – no buildings, electricity, or running water – but it did have a beach and a river.  The story goes that when they realized the river was their new bathtub, the youngest daughters yelled with glee, while the teen-age daughters also yelled – but not with glee.  : )


Soon, the girls were enrolled in the local schools and within a year, they built and opened the first rooms of duPlooy Jungle Lodge.

duPlooys Office

I loved this story – it was the main reason I booked. Nowadays, their mom, Judy, lives at the Lodge – we had breakfast with her one morning.  And the children play various roles.  Patricia lives in Texas and takes reservations – I emailed with her several times.

Gardens - Sign

Their father, Ken (who has passed away), had a dream of building a botanical garden to show off the plants of Belize. His years of effort have paid off with what is today a 45-acre garden that is the Belize Botanical Garden.

It is right down the path from our bungalow, and we spent a relaxing day exploring it.

Our favorite parts were:

The Bird Hide – where you could sit inside and watch the birds undetected.

Gardens - Bird Hide

The Fire Tower – amazing view!

The Maya House – a depiction of what was on top of all those ruins back in the day – they would have been covered with thatched housing.

Gardens - Maya House

And my favorite flower – the Panama Flame.

Gardens - Favorite Flower

Thank you Mr. duPlooy – for your vision and perseverance. You have made the jungle a magical place for us.



Belize Zoo

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Zoo Sign

[Note: Although a little late in the game, finishing up the last couple of blogs from Belize – before we head out again!]

Everywhere we went, people kept telling us, “You have got to go to the Belize Zoo.” It wasn’t on our list, but we decided to add it on our last day.  We pulled in, expecting a slick new zoo, and were puzzled when we found a dirt parking lot and handmade signs.

Zoo Entrance

And then we read the story . . .

The Belize Zoo was founded by an American woman, Sharon Matola, who was working on a documentary in 1982 about animals of Belize. By the end of the documentary, the animals they filmed had become tame and could not survive back in the wild.  She didn’t want to just turn the animals out, so she single-handedly started a zoo.

Soon the word spread. Anytime there was an orphaned our hurt animal, someone would bring it to the zoo.

There are no captured animals at the zoo – only animals that have no place else to go.

Zoo Stork

The zookeepers work with the animals to try to introduce them back into the wild, but not all animals are able to go back, so they live happily at the zoo.

Zoo - Tapir Sign

Zoo - Tapir

They are most famous for their jaguars.

Zoo - Jaguar Dr

If there is a “problem” jaguar that attacks livestock, in the old days, the farmer would hunt the jaguar – but now, the farmer will call the zoo. They will trap the jaguar, bring it to the zoo, and enter it into the “Jaguar Behavior Modification Program.”  It really is too risky for these jaguars to go back to the wild, so if they graduate from behavior modification, they become ambassadors of the zoo – and if they are really good, they even get to travel to other zoos.  The most famous alumna is Pat the Cat, who now lives in Cincinnati Zoo.

Zoo - Pat the Cat

The enclosures are minimal – they mainly rely on electric fences, so you literally can turn a corner and run into a jaguar or a crocodile or a puma.

Zoo - Jaguar

I think it was the most fun – and meaningful – zoo I’ve ever visited!

Zoo Story


Wrapping Up Belize

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Walkways Mist 2

I have a bad habit of jumping back into life after a trip and not finishing the blog. I had a rough draft of the final Belize entries but never quite got back to them.  Since Frank and I mainly use the blog to look back and remember, I don’t want to forget these stories and experiences.

So please indulge me as I take us back to Belize for a couple more days . . . .

[Because we’re off to a new trip soon!]