Wednesday, 26 August 2009

In the woods again

After Dangriga, I did two things, I'd been planning for a while.  First I visited the Cockscomb Wildlife Sanctuary, the only nature reserve designated for jaguars, of course I saw no signs but I was also disappointed as I had heard there were lots of neotropical river otters and I walked along the river as far as I could without seeing any signs.  Then I discovered that the cooker in the camp kitchen didn't work so dinner was bannana cake.

Much closer to what I'd hoped was the two days homestay in the Maya mountains at a village called NaLuumCa, where I did get to see a jaguar footprint.  I also stayed in a traditional Maya house made of wood with a thatched roof and ate what the family ate, which was (you guessed it) rice and beans with tortillas.  I also learn't that they have tried to set up a village school but been stopped by a special feature of Belizean politics where anything set up by one party is cancelled when the other takes over. This even extends to the unused bus by the roadside which was there because the owner had a transport contract before the election, so of course he couldn't have one after.

To get to a village I had to go to a tiny town called Punta Gorda on the south coast and discovered on the way that buses in Belize are air conditioned almost at random, they cost a little more but are run by the same companies and still pick people up at the side of the road and allow passers by on board to sell food.  From Punta Gorda it was three miles in a yellow school bus up dirt roads, exactly the kind of roads that in Honduras the buses weren't allowed to go on, then a 15 minute walk. I returned to Dangriga today by the same route but starting at 3 in the morning in the pouring rain. On arrival I checked into the nearest place to the bus station and went to sleep for another 3 hours.

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