We arrived in Belize on a Sunday (Mother’s day) and left just 5 days later. Belize is an amazingly beautiful county but it had a rather depressing feel to it. It’s rather hard to pinpoint exactly why and maybe it’s just got a slower pace to it that gives it that feel. It’s definitely has got an island feel to it, like everyone is on “island time” and there is just no reason to rush for anything. Many of the buildings and houses were patched together with corrugated sheet metal, which gave a look of poverty to the area but there were some newer buildings and beautiful homes mixed in too. It had lots of little hole in the wall bars but not as many hole in the wall restaurants as there were in Mexico, not sure if more people are drinking there than eating or what. As for the food, we were surprised that we had a hard time finding a good meal there but music was awesome and reggae music was played in many places which we both absolutely loved. We did finally find our first good meal in Santa Elena, at a little roadside restaurant, where, of course, they played reggae. I had the stewed chicken with rice and beans and fried plantains and it was so good we went back the next day again.
For our last two days there, we stayed in San Ignacio, which is just east of the western border with Guatemala. Again, there were lots more bars than restaurants, but we found a wonderful three story gym, Hillview Train Station, where we worked out at that I want to give a shout out to for all the great things that they are offering the community. After we were finished working out we talked with them for awhile and they were very proud of all the hard work they put into the gym and that they are offering something to everyone no matter physical condition, size, or age. They are doing a great job at making a community place for everyone.
Eco-tourism is big in that area and people raved about the caves tours offered but we didn’t go on it because Milton ended up getting sick. On our last night there we met an American couple who lived in the DC area, but one of them was a nurse originally from Maple Valley where her family still lives. I am amazed at what a small world it is sometimes. We had a wonderful time sharing stories with them and it was nice to talk nursing shop for a while.
We were able to donate my special boot that I got after I broke my foot to one of the hospitals in Belize before we left. Milton had been strapping in on his bike everyday that we’d travel and he’d say overtime he took it back out to the bike that we needed to get rid of it. As we traveled further down into Mexico, the people kept getting shorter and shorter and I am pretty sure that there aren’t too many 5’4″ people who had a size 11 foot so I didn’t want to donate it where it wouldn’t ever be needed but as we crossed into Belize I started seeing tall people again so I figured that would be the best place. In Orange Walk, as we were walking past a Farmacia, we noticed that there was also an orthopedic doctor’s office in the same building so I stopped and asked the doctor where would be the best place to donate it and he told me that since Belizeans didn’t pay for medical care at the public hospitals, one of the local hospitals would be able to use it.
I figured we’d pass a hospital somewhere in one of the towns we passed through but it wasn’t until San Ignacio that I finally saw a sign. When we were at the gym I asked the owner and she said that the local hospital there could use it, she said it was so run down it even had holes in the floors there. So on our last day there we went there and spoke to one of the ER doctors and he was very glad to have the boot. Here’s hoping I don’t break any more bones but it felt good to give it to someplace that could use it.
We never got any farther south than the outskirts of Belize City but on the day we left, after we had already crossed over in Guatemala, w we ran into someone who lives in Southern Belize who said he loved living there. Might just have to go back someday and give it another go.