Diary 2 and the central part, I now head
south by the sea.
19/1. It is sunny when I walk out to the car, but when I have set the GPS for Red Bank, it start to rain. It is a bit back, and then through some citrus farms and dense, but low natural vegetation. The sun and rain shift all the time, but I get a few photos of the wetlands. I turn off into a little, partly flooded gravel road.
Red Bank is a little village, and most houses are made from broad boards and the roof is palm leaves. They are scatted over a large area, and famous for their Scarlet Macaws. Well, apparently, my effort to get here early does not pay off: I don't hear a single macaw, and you can always hear them for kilometres.
I drive straight through the village and meet a little area with fields and orchards on the other side. Here are no macaws, but quite some flowering plants. One is from a family I do not recognise, but I have seen members of it before. I walk around for some time, but still hear no macaws.
Back through the cosy village, and on the other side, it start to rain - a lot! I drive some north to find the access to the long and narrow peninsular I'm aiming for. Right at the beginning, huge and rich houses are found. Some have canals dug all the way to their garden. It seems like here still are some development going on, but to judge from the forest of "For Sale" signs, it might be bad business.
To one side, it is a bit mangrove-like, where the other side have a real narrow golden beach. The last storm swept in some seaweed, but it use to be clean. Unfortunately, it is not only seaweed, but also a lot of plastic debris. It is hard to reach the beach, as most private lots are firmly closed off.
Halfway down the 25 kilometre long peninsular, the real humble Seine Bight is found. Was it a sunny day, I would have a walk-about. At the southern end of this sandy stretch of land, I meet Placencia, made-up by a strange mix of huge fancy houses and hotels, and real shitty shags.
I find the cosy Anda Di Hows Hostel right at the beach, and get a reasonable priced dorm-bed. The sun have gone, but I make a long walk along the beach. I find one real tiny snail among the seaweed an plastic. At the outer point, a little empty port is found, along with a few restaurants. I get a breakfast burritos and tea, and walk back through town.
It consist of one road and one pedestrian trail, connecting hotels, restaurants and adventure-shops. Considering how far away from everything, but the sea they are, I find it strange, but here are some Americans, and it must work. After another loop around town, I find the same restaurant, and get their absolutely fantastic Frozen Lemon Key Cake, along with another cup of tea.
I walk around the town and beach till dusk, and get a few glimpses of the low sun. Then I start looking for dinner. My former restaurant had five different vegetarian burgers - but closed at five! I find one in another place, along with tea. Then it is home to work a bit more with the few experiences of the day.
20. The day start with some real nice sun, but I leave the beach for now, and head further south. It is mainly through savannah with low vegetation, and presumable sand underneath. A few places, red rocks - which might be limestone - are the home for some pines. Here are only a few cattle fields, and hardly any settlement. The huts I do see, are mainly the typical Mayan wooden ones with palm leaf roof. And it seems everyone have colourful laundry outside.
Some large rivers crosses the road, and that give room for banana-, and oilpalm plantations. Then the road turns inland, and while it get closer to the huge hills, it turns more fertile, and I drive through a low rainforest. When I cross rivers, the local women are washing close at the riverside.
I gas the car, and this Jeep do 6,7 km/l, not much better than the other's 6 km/l. And still expensive, as the gas is €1,60/l.
I see a single sign with a horse wagon, and
right after, I see a horse wagon, just like it. Then I turn down a
gravel road, leading to the Ancient Mayan settlement of Lubaantun.
Along the way, I pass the Kekchi Maya community of San Pedro
Columbia, but don't really feel like walking around, looking
into their houses. Their buildings are just like
those I have passed
so many of, along the main road.
The few trees within the area is covered in several species of orchids, along with other epiphytes. I have the entire compound for my self and the animals. I finish the visit at the little museum, which have some absolutely amassing flint work. This is way beyond anything else I have seen. And this is where the mystical Crystal Skull have been found - fake or not.
I have a long chat with the Mayan man, selling me the ticket. He is working on making replica of the ancient Mayan clay work, and that is way more complicated, than it sounds. I give him a few ideas, he might try, to avoid it to splinter, while he burns it.
My next target is way out at the seaside, and I pass only a few small settlements on the way, although Georgetown do have a technical highschool. Just outside Punta Gorda, I see a sign for a vegetarian/vegan restaurant, and as it have passed twelve, I'm so game. Unfortunately, the owner and chef is not home, but he returns, while I have a look at the sorry beach.
I get a delicious dish with homemade tofu, made into "meat-balls", covered in carry-sauce, some fried slices of breadfruit and a salad. Then I head into Punta Gorda, and find my hotel. They have no room in dorms, but I can get a room for €20, but only after five. I make the reservation, and head back to town along the beach.
It is the usually sorry excuse for a beach. Actually, most is boulders, placed here to secure the road. The sand is more like grey clay. I find a few snail encasings and some pieces of glass, softened by the sea. Then the rain start hammering down, and I seek shelter in someone's garage.
Back to the car for my umbrella, and then into town. Or rather; village. Here are only a few streets, but the central junction does have a clock-tower. I find a restaurant, serving tea, and sit our another shower. I loop the central part, and head back down to the water, one street away. Here, the "Chocolate Centre of the Universe"! is found, and it is small! I would not have thought it could fit into one room.
I kind of have plenty of time, and use it to get a haircut. Then I can get my room, which is a disappointment. Well, here is a bathroom, Wi-Fi and a bed. I work for an hour, before I head back to the great restaurant. This time, I am spoiled with a tofu lasagne, slightly salted bread-fruit chips and a spicy salad. I treat myself with a huge slice of chocolate cake, and the chef then bring me a cup of his just-finished peanut-icecrème. I'm glad I don't live here; I would get fat soon! Lubaantun and Punta Gorda.
21. The overpriced and under-maintained hotel have to coldest showering water I ever tried. On the way out of town, I give a lift to an elderly woman with a lot of bags. And as usually, Karma bites me right away: While I'm stopped, I clean the windshield wipers, and the car lock me out. A nice fellow on a bike get a mechanic to come, and after he have tried his system, he spend 10 seconds opening the door by mine. But I still have to pay €20. I rig the car with a small thread, allowing me to open a backdoor from the outside.
I have a long way ahead, by familiar roads most of the way, but somehow, I remember to turn into Mayflower Bocawina National Park, and see the Antilopefall. It is actually a nice waterfall, and this time, it keep dry. I see a snake crossing the road, but the rangers does not know it - neither do their extensive information material. I have a long chat with the manager, who is real keen on the park.
I do forget to mention the animals I encounter almost everyday. At the seaside, I see a lot of Brown Pelicans and some terns, along with the smaller sandpipers and alike. Inland are some large predator birds along with vultures and small falcons. And numerous starlings, finches, different herons, cormorants and snake-necks, hummingbirds and - birds. I have seen a few storks too. Sometime, I spot a Coati or a Green Iguana, and today; a freshwater turtle. A sign promised tapirs, but that was not the case.
My next target is Gales Point Manatee, way out on an peninsula. I have only found one, real expensive hotel, and had expected a town. Well, the last 25 kilometres is a rather bad gravel road. When I finally make it out there, it is a few rotten huts and not a single restaurant. I had hoped for a bite to eat by now.
Half way out, the road is blocked by a house! They are apparently in the process of mowing the newest house in town, and that did not went smooth. I get around, but the last bit does only offer a few mangrove motives. Here should be Manatees, but when none offers tours, I guess the chances are slim. I rather have lunch. And no chance I spend a night out here! Only 40 kilometres of gravel road out again, further north.
I pass a lot of orange-trees, and then some "hay-stack" hills; ancient coral reefs, now covered in vegetation. The area between them are around 1-10 metres over sea level, and I fail to find anything interesting by now. I finally reach the sealed road, and at three, I raid a supermarket for a cake, as I give up on a restaurant.
My next target is Orchid Garden Eco-Village, which should be located in a savannah area. That sounded entreating, when I read about is at home. But I have spend more than a week, driving through real dull savannah by now, and fail to see the attraction. Never the less, I check the sight , and it appears to have rotten away anyway. I try to find lunch in the nearby Hatteville, but the only place offering food, have nothing without animals in.
As I am fed up with towns that either aren't there, or hold nothing but a few rotten sheets, I find Belize Old town appealing by now. That passes, when I pass the place, made up by a few rotten huts. I might get back, when I'm not hungry and tires of desolation. I head a bit further up the road, and get to Belize City. It is through a wetland with mangrove. I stop a few times, but fail to find anything new.
It is not the capital, but the largest city in the country. I gas the hungry beast, and ask for a cheep hotel, as I had not planned to sleep here. Golden Tree have cheep rooms, staring at €75 - and I head on. I cruises around the coastline, and find the real cosy North Front Street Guest House.
At four, I head into the real low-key town. Here are a few banks - and I desperately needed one, but nothing reminding of a city. Half the houses are wooden, and I fail to find a café. I find the little marina, which hold some smaller sailing ships. The coastline is made up by mangrove, and the central part I thought was a business area, is tiny rotten huts.
I try all the restaurants I find (three), but fail to find anything vegetarian. A little fast-food joint offers Garnaches, but they are only snacks. I end up eating the chocolate biscuits I just bought as a reserve. Despite my efforts, I fail to find anything else, not containing dead animals. I walk home after the nice sunset, and it turns out, it is a lively house I have found. It start raining in the evening, and it is a bit chill.
I have yet one more week in Belize, and besides from San Ignacio, this is
the closest I got to civilization, and I have some nearby sights,
offering nothing for humans on the road. I might make this a base
for now. And figure how to get something to eat.
Antilopefall, Gales Point
Manatee and Belize City.