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Published: March 19th 2010
So the next leg of my trip was in Belize. It was a short one because Belize is substantially more expensive. Thijs and I left for the border around mid morning, two shuttles, a taxi, and two busses later we arrived in Dangriga, Belize. Dangriga is known as the Garifuna center of Belize. The Garifuna people are a mixed race of carribean slaves and South American natives. They speak a dialect of English that is very hard to understand. But its cool! We had decided to skip Caye Caulker, the backpacker mecca of Belize, and go for more culture. The Garifuan people were very friendly and their food was good. I must pause to explain that Mexican food is the best by far on my trip so far. Guatemala had close to no food culture eventhough they have every available resouce foodwise. The Garifuna dish we tried was a fish steak in coconut gravy served with plantain balls... tasty! Also they always cook their rice in coconut milk mmmm.
Thijs very unfortunately left hippo at the border restaurant in Guatemala. It was a sad and sudden goodbye to the stick, but bittersweet because he was a Guatemalan hippo after all
and obviously didnt want to leave his homeland. We still often reminise about him, frolicing with the other sticks in the Guatemalan highlands or swimming through the muddy river banks as hippos are inclined to do. :P
So back to Dangriga, the first couple of days we stayed in a nice place on the water front, drinking away our tax free purchases and exploring the culture. The Garifuna people are very friendly and had good energy! Plus they're awesome cause they have bottled water named SWEET WAATA and a cash lending shop called GIMME DOLLA!
We heard about a Caye (key) just off the coast of Dangriga called Tobacco Caye, we decided to splurge and go for it. They caye was on the reef and we went to snorkel. After catching a boat with Captain Buck a resident on this tiny island, we settled into a little room right on the water front with a balcony over the water. It was absolutely gorgeous! The colors of the ocean, crystaline blue and greens! This island was so tiny that you could walk all the way around the shore in under 10 minutes. The first evening was calm after I
ripped off a toenail on a piece of coral in the sand. But mother ocean healed me well with her salty waters. That night Thijs and I spent on our balcony overlooking the endless clam waters under a full moon in the caribbean! The next day we moved across the tiny island to a more reasonably priced room in a place called Lana's on the Reef. All the hotels on this island had three meals included in the price of the room, necessary as there was no store or restaurants and only one tiny bar.
We took off snorkeling in the late afternoon, a good time for fish activity. We saw the most beautiful coral reefs, blues, oranges, purples, greens. Fingers, brains and pyramids, entire cities to some amazing species of fish. My favorites include: a tiny dark grey black fish with vivid blue spots like diamonds. Schools of fish changing colors from orange, brown, green, blue. Patterns flashing across their bodies as they glide over coral, sand, seaweed. Angel fish, and some close relative with electric stripes flashing along their fins. Sting rays, grey and twice as long as me, with an equal wingspan, monterays, black and grey
patterned like the water breaks the light, smaller spotted brown monterays. The next day we actually snorkeled all the way around the island and saw what ended up being our favorite fish: a peacock flouner. This fish swims along the bottom on its side with both eyes on the upper side. it also has the abilbity to change colors and patterns with the most versatility I have seen! It was white with blue splotchy rings over the sand, brown and green spotted over rocks with algae, green and white striped over the seagrass and everywhere inbetween! It was simply amazing and Thijs and I had fun following and chasing that fish around for a while. Thijs and I went home that night and did a cute drawing on what we had seen, it was underwater love!
The next morning we woke up early, we wanted to get one last snorkel in before we headed off the caye and back to the mainland. We hung out in Dangriga another day and then headed to Hopkins, Belize. Just a litte way south down the coast. This was a sleepy town with a nicer beach than Dangriga, better waves and sand. Our
days spent here were generally lazy and tranquillo. Thijs and I decided to move on toward Honduras, considering how expensive Belize is relative to the rest of Central America. We headed south to Punta Gorda, the southern most International port in Belize. One night there eating some great fried chicken and the next day we were off to Honduras. We took a boat from Punta Gorda Belize to Puerto Barrios, Guatemala. From there we met an old man with a stick. He was an American on disability and living in Guatemala with his 20 something Nicaraguan girlfriend, a real winner! Anyway he said he would give us a ride in his truck to La Ceiba, Honduras because he had to go there anyway, and we only paid him a little bit for his dirving us there. So we gathered up some of his bags and his young girl and headed off to Honduras in the back of his truck. Several hours later Thijs and I arrived in La Ceiba, Honduras. We stayed in a decent hotel on the Caribean, cheap! we paid about $15 for a private room with a bathroom and balcony. A welcome change to expensive Belize.
check out my busted toe
More on Honduras later. All in all Belize was a short leg of this adventure, but it was beautiful and I will never forget the reef!
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