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La vida loca! Wished you were there? We did, so here we are on our big adventure! A year in central America, to make sense of this vida loca...

Down but not out in Placencia

BELIZE | Wednesday, 28 January 2009 | Views [821]

Dan flat out in the sun, travelling is such hard work!

Dan flat out in the sun, travelling is such hard work!

Puerto Cortes would be our last stop in Honduras. The biggest container port in Honduras (if not the only), this working city would be home for two nights and a day until we took the Monday ferry to Belize. The sun was back at last - just in time for us to spend time catching up on our emails...

Our hotel was a stone´s throw from the jetty and a frequent host to passengers like us. No surprise then when Monday morning we were visited at 8.00am by a boatman who, when the door was opened, strode in and manhandled one of our packs and led us clattering in his wake down the stairs, out the door, to stand next to the boat. It happened so fast that we left our two umbrellas behind and didn´t notice until the next day!

Why the rush? At some point soon thereafter we were bundled into a small van to make the trip to the Immigration Office to have our passports stamped before leaving the country. Dully processed we came back to the boat and proceeded to wait, and wait, and wait some more. There was a huge mountain of goods to pack; enterprising Hondurans stocking up on cheap goods to sell in Belize. Then we had to wait for the Customs Officer to come, inspect us and give us the all clear.

We eventually left after 11.30am. We´d last eaten something at 7.30am and had a two hour boat ride ahead of us...

Waiting for the boat to be loaded, waiting and waiting some more...

The trip was smooth. We docked in Big Creek first, this time for Belizean immigration and customs checks. It didn´t look promising - a dirty wasteland surrounded by warehouses and a big fence. It wasn´t going to be quick either since we had to unload everything off the boat. Then we were told to stand by our bags and to open them. This was the most thorough border crossing we´d encountered yet. We later found out that the route we´d taken was popular for smuggling drugs into the country. We were clean.

Loaded back into the boat again (luckily minus bales of goods) and fast becoming frazzled, it was a short hop to Placencia. We landed, debarked again, and tramped along a sandy footpath to find somewhere to stay. At this point, a tired, thirsty and very hungry Rachel is not a good companion to have... I´m speaking of myself... fortunately for Dan we soon stumbled upon a clean comfortable place to stay. In this situation, it does no good to linger! We dumped our bags, found the first eatery (The Pickled Parrot), wolfed down large plates of good fresh food, drank and got back to our room where I promptly went to bed.

The next day I felt awful, head splitting, sore neck etc. etc. But, hey, Dan dragged me to the beach anyway...and what a view!

Definitely glad to be here!

Bliss, absolute bliss. After breakfast we just lay in the sun all morning, with the occasional dip to cool off. The heat warmed my muscles and sent me into a warm doze. A little lunch and back for more! At some point we headed back to the hotel and got dressed for dinner. First though, a brief exploration of Placencia.

It sits on a sandy spur, one long beach strung with colourful clapboard houses. After the other Central American countries we´d been to it was clean too. The healthy number of signs asking people to keep "de scene clean" seemed like the kind of hangover you´d expect from a former British Colony. Belize, formerly British Honduras achieved independence in 1981.

Got the message? If not how about -

We spent three days here, luxuriating in the sun, grumping when the rain clouds briefly settled in and smiling again when they were gone. We don´t usually frequent local bars, but made an exception one evening for a Pink Lemonade each, quickly followed by another it was so good! (Daniel - contains lots of alcohol, if you hadn´t guessed). We were in such good humour we bought a local Garifuna* guy a drink. His was a Belikin Stout. And he told us about a friend of his who made ginger wine, and did we want to buy some. One thing led to another, Dan disappeared with him for ten long minutes and reappeared with a bottle, but $50 belize lighter! It was thirty for the wine and twenty for his trouble! What do you know, Pink Lemonades aren´t good for business!

The wine was spicy fine all the same and was enjoyed by all at our next stop: The Maya Mountain Research Farm.

*Garifuna are decendents of escaped African slaves and Carib Indians.

Tags: placencia, sand and pink lemonade, sea, sun


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