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Posts Tagged ‘central america’

Preparations are underway for the thirteenth annual La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge. The race will begin on Friday in San Ignacio under the Hawksworth Bridge. Participants will row for four days down the Macal and Belize rivers before crossing the finish line on Monday under the Belcan Bridge in Belize City. Orlando Harrison is the Chairman of the Organizing Committee.

Ready...set... gooooo!

Orlando Harrison; Chairman, Organizing Committee, La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge

“The race is scheduled to start seven am sharp because BATSUB will be doing refereeing and time keeping again and they are very punctual when it comes to that. The race takes off the first day from here and ends at Banana Bank as the first leg. On the second day, we take off from Banana Bank at 6:30a.m en route to Bermudan Landing. On the third day we take off at 8:00 o’clock to Burrell Boom and on the last day from Burrell Boom at 9:00a.m to Belize City.”

Harrison says that up to Friday they already had 49 teams registered.

The race comprises of a 170 Mile stretch as shown on the map

Orlando Harrison

“I am very happy to report that out of that 49 team we have had 13 foreign teams so far. We expect to have at least about 80 to 90 teams registering in this year. I am also thrilled by the fact that he amount of phone calls and queries we have been getting to show the sport is of high interest from participants and viewers alike. We encourage that and we are pleased to know that the sport is alive. We had initially placed the 26th of February for the deadline, however, because of the tremendous demand we have extended that to the pre-race meeting here which will take place on the 4th. So, teams do have yet an opportunity to get registered at the pre-race meeting in San Ignacio. However, there will be a cut off time because we don’t want the registration to get in the way of the meeting. We are asking the teams to place registrations prior to the start of that meeting.”

The prizes for this year’s competition add up to about 40 thousand dollars and according to Harrison there will be first, second and third prize winners in all seven categories of the race and from first to tenth place for those who arrive at the Belcan Bridge.

Orlando Harrison

“We have a host of other station prizes along the route over the four days. So, that is a significant amount of money to talk about and that does not include the in kind prizes which we still canvassing business for. We want to encourage paddlers to participate. This is not an event only for the money. It is more than just the race. There are seven divisions teams can sign up in. you have the male division normally made up of the more competitive teams. We have the mixed division that is comprised of male and female. We have the intramurals which you must be a registered student in a learning institution. We have the masters made up of members forty years and older. We also have the pleasure craft which is where the bulk of team participates because they are made up of people who do not know to paddle and are in it for the fun and just for the adventure of having to do the race itself. I must commend all participants in fact for their bravery because this is none of the most extreme sports we know of in Belize.”

The La Ruta Maya Belize RiverRiver Challenge is a 179 miles long race that started back in 1998.

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Space shuttle Endeavour touched down Sunday in a rare nighttime landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Endeavour and its six astronauts returned safely to Earth on Sunday, making a rare nighttime landing to end a mission that resulted in the virtual completion of the International Space Station. The shuttle’s on-time arrival took some by surprise. All day, forecasters said rain and clouds probably would scuttle any touchdown attempts. But the rain stayed away and the sky cleared just in time. Mission Control waited until the last possible minute before giving commander George Zamka the go-ahead to head home. The 3-mile-long runway was awash in xenon lights.

In Belize and across Central America a loud and thunderous boom was heard. Some residents reported that they saw a flaming plane like structure engulfed in flames flying through the night skies. 

“It’s great to be home. It was a great adventure,” Zamka said after the shuttle rolled to a stop.

During their mission — which spanned two weeks and 5.7 million miles — the astronauts delivered and installed a new space station room, Tranquility, and a big bay window with sweeping views of the Earth.

Upon touchdown, Mission Control immediately relayed congratulations to Zamka and his crew for installing Tranquility and opening up those new “windows to the world.”

“Welcome home,” Mission Control radioed.

This was the 23rd space shuttle landing in darkness, out of 130 flights. The last time was in 2008, by Endeavour as well.

The 10 men and one woman on the shuttle-station complex couldn’t get enough of the views out those windows, once the shutters were raised last week.

The two new compartments were supplied by the European Space Agency at a cost of more than $400 million. Their addition brought the 11-year-old space station to 98 percent completion.

All that’s left now are four shuttle flights to stock the space station with more experiments, spare parts and supplies. Discovery will make the next trip in early April.

As for Endeavour, this was its next-to-last mission. It’s supposed to return to orbit, one last time, at the end of July.

NASA plans on wrapping up the shuttle program this fall, after which the space station will be supplied by craft from Russia, Europe and Japan. Astronauts will be hitching rides exclusively on Russian Soyuz capsules. The Obama Administration is proposing that commercial rocket companies take a crack at the U.S. ferry side of it, once the three remaining shuttles are retired.

As if to signal the end, Endeavour had no returning space station crew on board.

Over at the space station, meanwhile, computer trouble triggered temporary communication blackouts Sunday.

The station’s three command and control computers kept malfunctioning throughout the morning, disrupting communication between the crew and Mission Control. Until full contact was restored in late afternoon, the five astronauts had to make do without e-mail and their Internet Protocol phone.

Flight controllers suspect the trouble may be related to computer software in Europe’s Columbus laboratory.

To make up for all the inconvenience, Mission Control is giving the crew Wednesday off.

Source: MSN NEWS

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Belize – The Jolliest Place in the Caribbean

International Living Postcards—your daily escape

Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009

In the past couple of months, IL readers have shown more interest in Belize than almost any other destination we cover. An affordable second home in the English-speaking Caribbean is a big draw. But what would it be like to live here?

The people of Belize love any excuse for a party, festival, or celebration. This time of year, when the rest of the world becomes more festive—what can little Belize possibly do to increase its already-good cheer?

Suzan Haskins finds out, below.

Len Galvin

Managing Editor, IL Postcards

There’s no worry about the separation of church and state in Belize—you’ll find religious crèches and mangers of all shapes and sizes in both private and public areas. Stores aren’t the least bit discriminate either. They overflow with toys, gadgets, trinkets, items both religious and sacrilegious. Wear your sunglasses should you enter, as the displays of twinkling lights are more than dazzling.

In San Pedro town on the little island of Ambergris Caye, hotels, restaurants, bars and businesses have been spiffed—palm trees wrapped with colorful lights, wreaths and greenery (mostly plastic) haphazardly strung just about everywhere, mistletoe hidden in clapboard eaves.

The boats carrying visiting fishermen, divers, and snorkelers to the world’s second-longest barrier reef have also been merrily adorned. (The Holiday Boat Parade took place the first weekend of December—putting a unique twist on the word ‘float.’) Even the conch shells, sold as souvenirs in the seashore park, have been decorated for Christmas.

Elsewhere in the country, especially Garifuna towns like Dangriga, Hopkins, and Seine Bight, Jonkunu dancers are practicing for their raucous Christmas day Charikanari dance, with percussionists banging on drums and anything else that makes noise… like pots, plastic pickle buckets, spoons, and coconut graters. It’s a celebration of heritage and…well…an excuse to knock back some rum and knock up the partying a notch or two. (As if Belizeans need any excuse!)

Mayan villages get in on the act with the Deer Dance, about the relationship between people and nature. Mestizo groups celebrate with traditional posadas on each of the 10 days before Christmas.

Come Christmas Eve, of course, pots will be simmering on stoves everywhere. Traditional Belizean coconut-flavored rice and beans will be on the menu, along with potato salad, ham, turkey and stuffing. Plates will be heaped with plenty of white relleno (soup with pork-stuffed chicken and raisins), pebre (roasted pork and gravy), and tamales in abundance. And for dessert, a rich black fruitcake served with plenty of Rompopo, Belize’s own potent version of eggnog.

The truth is that the party really never stops in Belize. As a former British colony, Belizeans go all out in the celebration of Boxing Day on December 26, with more singing, dancing, and drumming in the streets. And then comes New Year’s Eve…and then the next day…and the next day…

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