April 2003

Today's summary:

We finished our four weeks of Spanish lessons, so it was time to head out and test our communication skills. Next stop: english-speaking Belize. Oops.

The bus took the east-west road through Belize. Not an east-west road... THE east-west road in the country. We got into Belize City and found it to be, well, pretty dumpy. Dirty and not too well organized. Friendly enough to wander around for a couple of hours, but really not much to see. So we caught a boat out to the Caye Caulker (pronounced Key Caulker).

One thing I did discover while wandering around Belize City, however, was that their idea of English is a far cry from my idea of English. If you think those folks from England were tough to understand... you should try Belize Creole English. I'd include an example here for you... but I didn't understand enough of what was going on to write anything down.

Caye Calker is definitely a touristy place, but still enjoyable. It was cleaner and very laid back. The main draw is the snorkeling and scuba trips. But they're fairly expensive, so we decided to put that off and wait until we got to Honduras for diving. We relaxed on the beach, took advantage of the great bakery, and generally did nothing while listening to reggae music.

Handyside Street Relaxing on Caye Caulker

Next we decided to check out the highly-regarded Belize zoo. As we were making our way to the bus station, someone peered over Angela's shoulder at the map in our guidebook. Angela figured that he was about to ask if he could take a look at it... but instead he proceded to announce that he was the author of the book. It was really pretty surprising. So we spent the next 20 minutes hearing about what changes had happened since the book went to print, getting better directions to the bus station, hearing how all the bus companies had changed ownership or been bought out, and getting customized advice about the cities we were about to visit. We were planning to throw the guidebook out once we were done... but now that it's signed by the author I suppose we'll need to keep it.

The zoo was great. It has only animals that have been injured or abandoned or otherwise need help and couldn't make it on their own in the wild. Monkeys, jaguars, lots of birds, remarkably foul smelling jungle pigs (gibnuts), funny raccoons, and even a sort of mountain cow (tapir). I'll try to get a few pictures up later this week. If you're interested, their site is pretty good.

Howler Monkey Dancing Howler Monkey Baird's Tapir (Mountain Cow) Big Cat Stinky Jungle Pig Crocodile Gibnut (tasty)

Our last stop in Belize was Placencia. Everyone said it was nice, so we planned to spend a couple of days there before moving on to Honduras. But the cheapest hotel was still pretty expensive. And dirty. The highly touted bakery was only marginal, internet connectivity was expensive (and slow). It didn't help that it rained. We enjoyed some time on the beach our last day there, but then we were more than ready to take the boat to Honduras.

Taken during the 60 minutes of sun that we had

Last modified: 16 September 2003