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From Diary 1, I now head a bit into the country.
A light came up on the dashboard yesterday, showing an engine. I figure I better start at the garage - when the rain stops. As the instruction book said: It will only light, when the engine is ready for testing, and newer while driving. "Just ignore it". Well, this bloody American Jeep have a wide range of issues, I have a hard time ignoring. It have been worn totally down, and despite its 3,7L V6, it is a weak car. Both engine and everything else.

My next adventure is near by; Belize Botanical Garden. On the outer parts of the town, I see the first horse wagons, and it appears Belize have a colony of Mennonite people. They does use three-span with two wagons after, along the usual ones.
It is a nice drive, but most of the way is by a gravel road. I passes a lot of cows on so green fields, enters Chaa Creek Natural Reserve and despite the gravel road, here are some real posh resorts and estates.

The road is an adventure it self, and here are not only a garden; it is open! Belize Botanical Garden was a private garden from 1980 to 1997, when the 18 hectares become a official botanical garden. Here are 2000 different species and a lot of name tags and explanations. I even get a thick book with additional information on many species.

I see the nursery, which - like the rest - is neat kept. Then the orchard with starfruit, cola nut, litchi and alike. Their orchid house is not that impressive, as the plants are kept way too dark. Here is an Cycad Circle, butterfly garden, cacti and succulents, pond, medicine plants, river walk, Mayan hut and way more.

I find the little path, leading down to the big river, and follow it for a long time. It is through dense jungle, and here, I find additional interesting plants. Due to all the recent rain - and farming - the river is chocolate brown. It is a limestone area, and the cliffs on the other side of the river are high.

It start to drizzle, and I seek shelter in a boat sheet along with some local workers. Apparently, their rainy season was very dry, but now - in the dry season - it rains a lot. Well, nature do what it want, not what humans rules demands.

When I return to the car, the brake lights are on, and it won't start. I get a battery from another car, and head straight back to the garage. He try a few things, and end up with a big hammer! Well, it does turn off. Taught from yesterdays error, I find some lunch, before  I head out the other side of town. I gas the car: It is even more greedy than I have thought. 6 Km/L, and the gasoline is not cheap around here; 10,34 BZD/G - around 10,43 DKK/l - €1,40/l. I miss my own car, doing five times that easy!

Here are a lot of nice wooden houses along the road, many on posts. I get to Guanacste National Park on a sealed road - except where it is being renovated. It start to drizzle, then rain heavy right away, and I chat with the guys at the office, which have a great sense of humour.

When the rain stops, I do their two trails. They are narrow and leads through dense rain forest. It is quite gloomy at the floor of the forest, but here are still some plants. I am fascinated by the fruits of the Cuhne Palm; Attalea cohune, which are rock-hard. I find one, which eventually will be polished.

Along the trail, the giant Guanacste trees; Enterolobium cyclocarpum are found. Some are more than a meter across, and they must grow rather fast, to judge from the bark. I cross some small creeks, and meet the big river. The sun breaks through, and the greenery is amassing.

On the trail, some mule-hills are found, and I manages to make a video of the little rodent that make then - or at least the snout of it. I'm told is the tiny Agouti species; Dasyprocta punctata, but it is not. Could be a brown rat? I make a lot of photos of the green wall, all looking alike in the evening.

My next target was supposed to be Nohoch Che'en; a cave than should be tube'd at sunset. I'm not that eager to leave my camera and go into the cold water, and I can't find it anyway. The endless and real bad gravelroad I'm heading out of, end with an impressive closed gate.

I try to find another way around, but I am in a waste area, covered in a maze of real bad gravel roads. It is mainly farmed valley land with small huts scattered around. Somehow, I end up in Valley of Peace, a little community with palm huts.

 It is getting rather late, and my GPS last guess; 30 km/2;45 minutes make me give up. I can make it home before dark - if I find a sealed road. I am so close to get stocked several times due to clay, and some of the ponds on the road are half a meter deep. Then I meet a straight gravelroad, smooth like a new asphalt road, and I do 100 Km/h. I had expected it to reach the sealed road, but I get to drive yet another clay road. And cross the sorry remains of a wooden bridge.

I reach home at five, but the braking light is on again. I find the garage, and I'm in luck (I hope); I get another car. Still a Jeep, but younger and feels better.  The newer Jeep does 6,7 km/l. Grab a huge burritos on the way home, and start deleting green photos.

Belize Botanical Garden, Guanacste National Park and Valley of Peace.

17. It is yet another rainy morning, and I decide to try to shake it, by going out to the sea. Just the route there should be a treat, as The Hummingbird Highway leads through the highlands. Well; high in Belize. The rainforest covered hills are below 200 metres, and it sure rains here! Below 100 metres, I drive through some citrus plantations and a bit of sugar cane. Higher up, it is real dense rainforest.

Despite the rain, it is a nice drive through the mountains. I should have stopped at a special building, housing a café, but I fail to see it. It turns out is is 16,5 miles out of Dangriga, not San Ignacio. And the odometer does not work in my car anyway. I'll see it on the way back - or not.

Instead, I see The Sleeping Giant, which a Slovenian told me about the other day. I didn't know where it was, but I immediately recognises it, when I see it - despite the clouds and rain.
I had hoped for better weather on the other side of the mountain range, but these low hills does not change a thing. It is mainly drizzle, some heavy showers and a dash of sun.

I reach the little coastal town of Dangriga. before noon, and it is significantly small than I expected. Most houses are either real old wooden ones or concrete in a desperate need of paint. They claim they are "The cultural capital of Belize", and I feel sorry for Belize.

 I find my hostel at the beach, but in the greyness and drizzle, it is not what I had hoped for. I get a eight-bed dorm for my self, and it are air-airbeds! I drop the bag and walk down to the narrow beach. Here are a narrow line of sand, filled with drift-wood, plastic and old tires.
I turn into town, and walk through a lot of the old houses. Here are dogs, hens and children, and a lot of adults, doing absolutely nothing. On the way, I buy an umbrella to keep the rain at bay. And it works! But the sun does not appears.

I find a little restaurant, serving a cheese and egg sandwich and tea. A light meal for sure. Back into the street, I find one of the river mouths. Here, a flock of Brown Pelicans are gathered, probably living by the scrap from the fishermen.

I walk to the other end of town, and that river mouth - which is a lagoon. It have its share of pelicans and a single cormorant. I find a single shell; a huge conch.

Just before I reach my hostel, I find another little restaurant. I ask for something light, as I'm peckish - not hungry. Their only vegetarian meal is Darasa, which is mainly green bananas with a dash of coconut and spices - if I get it right. Their Creole-like English is a bit hard to understand.

I get a huge dish with something looking like meatloaf and a lot of steamed vegetables. It tastes great, and sure fill the gab! It start to drizzle and then hammering down, when I reach the hostel, and I start working. Exploring in the gloomy weather is just not the same! And the forecast only predict some sun on Wednesday.

I catch-up on the finish of Dakar Race, and head out for dinner after dark. Not much to choose from, but I get a egg burger and some fries. Home to finish the work of the day.

 Through The Hummingbird Highway to Dangriga.

18. It is still raining, and I take it slow in the morning. At eight, it kind of clears up, and I set off towards Mayflower Bocawina National Park. It is south, and the landscape is unchanged. The rain have stopped temporally, but I do face dark clouds.

It is dry, when I reach Mayflower Bocawina National Park, and I get a real good introduction by the ranger. I start with the bird-trail, as animals tend to be most active in the morning. It leads through real dense and sometimes real dark rainforest, and here are some birds. The first sight, though, is some un-excavated Mayan pyramids. Well, they look like pointy hills.

The trail is narrow, and part of it is real slippery and sticky clay. Here are some nice plants like Heliconias, but I see no orchids, nor many bromeliads. I see the pore-print of what might be a jaguar, but besides from the ever present howler monkeys, I see no mammals.

The progress on the slippery trail is slow, but I head straight to another set of trails. One is leading to The New Waterfall, which is small, I'm told, and the other to the awesome Antelopefalls. It should only be half an hours walk, but I spend way more. I see an Agouti and a deer, and a lot of birds.

The trail passes some real rotten bridges, and at one time, I set off a photo-trap - unless it is a speed camera? I reach the fall, and it is truly disappointing; hardly half a meter cascade. And then the rain pick-up. It is actually hammering down, elephants & rhinos. My new umbrella is not waterproof at all.

I had been looking forward for the Antelopefalls, but that will not be today for sure. I walk in a 15 centimetre deep creek, before I get back to the car. I drive out to a fancy restaurant, within the park, and get a mug of tea. The rain finally slow down, but the forest is still flooded, and well be that for days. I give up, and head for the beach.

I passes a huge wetland on the way, and stop a few times. Here are so many different herons and other birds, along with some strange plants. But the rain is back. I find Hopkins, which is way less town than I had thought. It is actually just a long line of scatted huts along a road or two. But most are overpriced cabins and humble bars and restaurants. Here are numerous offers on tours, diving, fishing, golf cards and alike. But hardly any visitors.

I find a dorm-bed at Fünky Dodo, which is affordable, and hit the beach. It is just the same narrow stretch of golden sand without a single shell. It is passed two, and I head into "town", and find breakfast in a little restaurant. An other shower passes, and then I head back through town, to get the car.

South of town, the big Sittee River meets the sea. I follow a gravel road inland, and passes fancy lodges and humble huts. The river is real high and rather brown, after the recent rain. Besides from the strange fruits on a single tree, I fail to find anything interesting.

Back at base, I start working till after dark, then I return to the restaurant for some vegetarian burritos.
Back at camp, there are quite some people. Actually, all eight dorm-beads are full by now, but it is weekend after all. Mayflower Bocawina National Park, Hopkins and Sittee River.
                          It is time for Diary 3.

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