Published: May 18th 2008
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Fisherman in a wooden canoe
Reaching the boarder a little after six in the evening, we passed through with surprising ease. We were unsure why no one wanted to stamp our passports or search the truck so we pulled over at an auto insurance booth to ask about the Belizian boarder crossing formalities. They told us to cross back over the boarder and on the other side there was a blue booth that would collect our Mexican tourist visas and stamp our passports. From there we were told to go to the Banercito on the Belizian side to work out the car permit. Upon arrival we discovered it was closed and we were told to return at eight the following morning, so we headed back to the Mexican boarder city of Chetumal where we got a room ate some tortas and indulged in the luxury of sleeping in the first real bed of the trip.

I woke up relatively late at seven thirty, savoring the comfort of the mattress, made some oatmeal and tea, then headed back to the boarder, where we found out that we didn't need to do anything at the Banercito because we were reentering Mexico on our return journey in a
Jabiru StorkJabiru StorkJabiru Stork

Stands over five feed tall
few months. We stopped to get car insurance and sprayed the car with insecticide, then drove a quarter mile to where the belizian immigration checkpoint was stationed. After getting temporary travel permits we smuggled a couple six packs of Mexican beer into Belize. Apparently bringing foreign beer into Belize is illegal and Andy was getting ready to down several beers if they tried to confiscate them from us. The boarder guard, after inspecting the truck, determined that we weren't doing any large scale import/smuggling and graciously allowed us to keep our six packs.

Belize is a relatively small country, less than 200 miles long and not much more than 50 miles wide. It has a population of roughly 250,000 people and has the second largest barrier reef in the world. The official language is English with a Caribbean accent. Due to the small size of the country, our daily driving quota was very short, which was a nice change of pace. It was less than an hour drive to Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary where we camped at Sam Tillitt's hotel for $7 each. The rest of the day was spent leisurely reading and slacklining. There was an abundance of biting insects, ants, flees and mosquitoes that proved to be annoying.

We woke up at sunrise to bird watch at the lagoon, where a plethora of birds congregate in the morning to feed. We saw cranes, egrets, herons, osprey, finches, vultures and the famous Jabiru Stork who standing over five feet tall is one of the largest birds in the world. They have a beautiful red collar and are impressive wading through the lagoon and flying in the air. We walked along the shore of the lagoon to observe the wealth of bird life. In order to check out some water lilies, we tromped through some boggy mud. As we did so, hundreds of tiny frogs scattered from around our feet, hiding in the cracks of the caked mud. After a couple hours of birdwatching we got in the truck and headed back to the highway. On the way we spotted a man with a flat tire who flagged us down. He was missing some essential tools necessary to change the tire and we were more than happy to lend them to him. John was from the UK but lived in crooked tree leading youth programs. He was full of useful information about the area and had attended the same language school in Guatemala that we had in mind. He recommended Magdalay as a particularly good teacher if she was still around and if we found her to tell her that John from the Guatemalan Solidarity movement in England said hi. With the spare tire securely on the vehicle we collected our tools and were back on the road. We picked up some oranges by the side of the road that had fallen off a truck making a sharp turn. Free lunch.

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