Nowhere is far away in Belize and there are only 3 main roads. In theory, you cannot get lost, so they don't feel plentiful sign posts are worth the money.
And if you do make a wrong turn, concerned locals wave you down and tell you to go back. It's possible to drive through the country on one tank of petrol, without stopping or seeing any thing. However, this would be a shame.
We spent a couple of days at Dangriga, on the Caribbean coast, after riding through more heavy rain and opted for a guest house on the beach.
I don't think we could get any closer.
The town was pretty lively as the locals celebrated Garifundi Settlement weekend with music in the streets, interspersed with some heavy rain. Not that this spoilt the celebration. Everyone just stepped under the nearest overhang and carried on, then stepped back out again when the rain went off. All very friendly, all very Caribbean. The streets were filled with Rastas, and the shops with Chinese. Hardly a Latin American face was in sight, a very strange mix.
The upside of lots of rain is that it is a very green and fertile county. The road to Dangriga is through jungle, where I had to have a swim.
Utilising some hijacked Internet we were able to contact Jean's cousin Peter who works "high up" in the Belize Ministry of Health.
By the time we got to Belmopan, the capital, we were warm, the sort of warm that makes people want to keep their distance. Jean managed to stop me from parking in the Prime Minister's spot and we eventually found our way to Pete's office where, despite our disheveled state, he greeted us with a hug and then introduced us to the Minister for Health.
Pete has nearly finished building a house in amongst the embassy area, in a prominent position. This is a view from his roof terrace.
Shortly after I took the above photograph, including a grey flat topped building, the security patrol from the USA Embassy came past and questioned Jean who was outside "faffing" with the bikes, co-incidence ?
Belize has a way of slowing you down, it certainly seems to have done that to us, and we hung out at Pete's for a few days doing very little.
Sorry, who am I talking to again ?
On our last night, Pete took us over to the British High Commission (Belize is a commonwealth country and does not get a British Embassy) for drinks.
The building is spitting distance from the US Embassy and security is low key in comparison. However it had a well maintained tennis court, swimming pool, and nicely landscaped gardens instead.
Pete kept introducing us to people, and titles of deputy this, deputy that etc slipped by. After talking to a couple of Americans for a while I had to turn to Pete and ask who they were, "oh, thats Vinai, he's the US Ambassador". Apparently they don't have a bar in the US embassy.
We managed to cover topics from motorbikes, health service and "freedom fries". I owned up to crashing into an American, twice, and seemed to be forgiven.
In all, a very surreal evening, Jean especially enjoyed drinking Pink Gin at the HC.
Now, I have just realised I am only 1 handshake away from Mr Obama !
They both finally got upset with all the torrential rain, first of all both our left hand panniers filled with water. We think this my have something to do with us both damaging the sealing foam on that side.
Also after sitting in the rain for 2 nights neither wanted to start when we left Dangriga, WD40 and patience did the trick. We will have to resort to using our rain poncho as a tarpaulin in future.
Then, while checking my bike over yesterday we spotted the left rear foot rest was hanging loose as both bolts had fallen out. I've replaced them and will be keeping an eye on them.Posted by Bruce Porter at November 26, 2010 02:22 AM GMT
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