Published: January 16th 2007January 12th 2007
I´ve had a load of messages since last time. Thanks for all the good wishes = it´s great to hear from you all.
I left the jaguar sanctuary and headed for my final destination in Belize. It was a short bus ride to the small town of Independence. From there, I boarded the Hokey Pokey Water Taxi (real name) for the 15 minute hop to Placencia. The village of Placencia is on a peninsula (try saying that after a few beers) that sticks out of the southern end of Belize´s Caribbean coastline. It apparently appears in the Guiness Book of Records as the home of the world´s narrowest road. In fact, it isn´t really a road at all. It´s a small strip of pavement that runs straight through the middle of the beach. All that appears on either side of the pavement is sand. I arrived on a Saturday and it was remarkably quiet. I reckon it was the hottest day of the trip so far. I arrived at the guest house recommended to me by another traveller (thanks Fred) and even the Belizean woman who owned the guest house said it was too hot for her.
Yet again, the beach and the sea were all that I could see from my balcony which included the now customary hammock. After a bit of hammock time, I explored the beach. Still nobody around except the odd backpacker sunbathing. If you want a quiet spot on the beach near the Caribbean sea, you could do far worse than pack yourself off to Placencia. It was a bit like where the Bounty Hunters used to live on the cheesy TV ads a few years ago. Only less coconut based chocolate bars. They would have melted.
The guest house I stayed in was a very sociable place. I chatted to some Swedish girls, who sadly only stayed one night. They were quickly replaced by some Canadians girls who complimented me on my cooking skills when I made them peanut butter sandwiches one afternoon. Again, they only stayed one night. I am going to have to change my deodourant.
I also met another London solicitor called Anna. She too had decided to give it all up for a year and travel the world. As we chatted, it became a little spooky. She´s doing nearly the same route as me. She started only 4 days after I did. She is even flying to Ecuador on the same day as me. We have arranged to meet in Ecuador. In the meantime, I will have my people check to see whether she is a spy sent by someone back home to trail me.
Sunday night was a huge night out. I spent the afternoon watching American football at Tipsy Tuna beach bar with a top bloke from Philadelphia called Rick. His team were playing so I decided to support them too. The only trouble with watching American football is that the games last 3 hours. That was a decent session of ecoboozing. The game was followed up with a live reggae band. Suddenly, the whole village appeared in the open air bar. All the tourists in town and a good proportion of the locals had turned up. The place was jumping. I was stood cooly (I thought so anyway) watching the dance floor moving and I got chatting to a bloke called Bob from Delaware. He also had his wife and friends with him but I have criminally forgotten their names. Bob was interested in my trip and before I knew it, I had a beer in each hand and Bob was on his way to buy me another.
Those of you who know me will know I´m not a legendary dancer. Suddenly, a couple of girls approached, Bob gave me a nudge and I was busting some moves on the dance floor. The girls claimed to have recognised me from the jaguar sanctuary a couple of days before. Perhaps it was the deodourant? All in all, a very merry evening.
A couple of days later, I was strolling to breakfast minding my own business when I heard a crowd of people shout my name. That doesn´t happen a lot out here. I looked across to a cafe where Delaware Bob and his friends and family were having breakfast. They invited me over for a chat. They bought me coffee and breakfast and wouldn´t accept any money. Top banana. They really were the most friendly folks. Bob has promised to send me his photos of the dancing when he gets home from his trip. When I get them, I´ll post them on here (maybe).
As the week wore on, I met more and more top people. Kyle, a quarterback for his college team, and Steve (referred to by Kyle as The Caveman), a rugby player were also top blokes. Steve even knew the difference between rugby league and rugby union = not bad for an American. They were interested to know a truly English phrase so we taught them about the meaning of the "dog´s ¨b÷ll÷cks". They found it hilarious. Kyle and Steve were "badass" dudes.
There was something about Placencia that seemed to bring out the friendliness in people. Later in the week, my thoughts turned to the rest of my journey. During hammock time, I started to look in the guide book. I was perplexed. Some of the journeys seemed a little longer than I remember reading about. There were sentences such as "make sure you book international buses several days in advance" that had passed me by previously. I worked things out and realised that this part of the trip could turn into a Willy Fog style race against the clock if I am to make it to Panama for my next flight. How had I let that happen? Probably because Willy Fog didn´t lounge around in a hammock for days on end staring at the sea? And he had some strange cats and a small Spanish mouse to help him? I´ve got to do it all on my own. I´d better get cracking and clock up some mileage.
Tune in next time to find out if I´m going to make it to Panama, there are more seaworthy tales and I meet a Honduran footballer´s wife. And the promised interactive event will appear.
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