December 27, 2013

no tapir

today we are driving back across the Guatemala border across Belize to Belize City to catch a ferry out to the island.  not really interested in another substandard meal at the Jungle Lodge we grab coffee and head out.  we see a coatamundi playing and a strange tiny deer as we drive out of the park.  this area is called the petite jungle because all of the animals are smaller than counterparts found in other jungles.  as for the mysterious tapir, well we didn't see one.  given the amount of time we spent in the jungle in the dark it seems possible that we might have seen a jaguar but we didn't see one of those magnificent animals either.

it's 141 miles from Tikal to Belize City and we leave at 8:30 AM.  with a border crossing a few store stops and lunch we arrive at the ferry after 4:30PM.  i stop for some flip flops because the clay hill destroyed the pair i had.  we also find a car wash because the car is covered up to the windows with mud and clay which would surely be a flag to the rental car company.  

the border doesn't take too long but there is a line getting into Belize and i chat up an Australian couple who are touring Central America.  we lament the fact that border crossings are so unpredictable and you have to be on highest alert as the children and other hawkers crowd you. i give them a lift into the next town over which is San Ignaciao and we stop for lunch.  i buy some spices in the farmer's market and we find some Guatemalan coffee at the grocery store.  then drive on to Belize City to drop the car.  i will not miss it.  that damn alarm went off every single time i unlocked the car.  i did the driving on the mainland and was comfortable doing it.  i was glad to have the flexibility to stop and go as we pleased. it is not however, for the less adventurous traveler and most people acted surprised when i said i rented a car.

Belize City is exactly as described in all the forums and guides.  it's another place where as i do a mental risk assessment i'm sure i don't want to be.  it's heartbreaking to see the poverty and conditions that exist so close to the US. my hope for Belize is they can develop ecotourism in a sustainable way since they don't seem to have any other viable economy. 

we're taking the ferry out to Ambergis Caye and it's dark so that's disappointing and as we arrive in San Pedro the water taxi we need out to the resort is just pulling away from the dock.   i'm tired and cranky even though i celebrated getting rid of the car with a rum/juice cocktail on the ferry.  we get a snack as we wait for the next water taxi which leaves at 8:30.  it turns out to be our last chance to eat as when we arrive at our resort everything is completely dark.  we wander around shouting and eventually find the owners who's welcome is to tell us what a tough day they've had.  seriously, i've been traveling for 12 hours, doing all the stuff you just read about and i'm tired and cranky and they want me to empathize about their day?

Kirsten shows us to our room which has a lizard on the wall.  hey, it's the tropics and i expect bugs and reptiles to show up, it was the half-hearted way she attempted to get him out that was ridiculous.  her dog came in and chased it around the room for a while then it disappeared into a crack.  we never saw it again but we kept our bags zippered so we didn't take any extra critters home.  i like to pack super light when i'm traveling and because the website said they had laundry service onsite i expected to be able to get my jungle clothes washed.  so i ask Kirsten where i could drop my clothes in the morning to be told that wasn't an option.  it's late, dark and our hosts had a bad day.  i'm hoping it's all sunshine and rainbows in the morning but this stay isn't starting great. 

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