This is a series of posts about Belize that starts here.
One of the missionaries had followed me into the store.
“Are you from here?” he asked.
Do I look like I’m from here? I thought, but responded no.
“Do you have a few minutes to hear God’s holy word?”
“No,” I said firmly. “I’m busy buying mouse glue. Besides, I’m Jewish.”
He pulled back as though I had said, “I drink the blood of Christian children,” which in his mind was likely synonymous with “Jewish.”
“Well, Christ bless you and have a blessed day,” he said as he handed me this card and hurried off to save other souls.
The back has more judgmental drivel, and their contact info, but I’m not going to share that. This kind of thing really pisses me off. Aren’t there any sinners to save in Iowa? Sure there are, but Iowa is cold, so here they were, probably with all their expenses paid by their congregation, proselytizing in the sunshine.
I walked around the neighborhoods of Havana and Harlem. This is a typical street scene.
There were churches on every corner, so again, why the need for missionaries from the US? Here is Epworth Methodist.
The housing stock varied from run-down shacks that seemed inhabitable, to perfectly-maintained villas.
I loved the name of this restaurant, “Always Hungry.” I wasn’t sure if I would want to eat there, but it was good to know they had a pay phone outside in case I needed one.
There were a number of “fast food” restaurants; this is Wen Quan Chen Fast Foods:
And another Chinese restaurant, Fu We Kitchen:
I liked this combination of services—Frank’s banisters and tombstones:
I wonder how much longer this place will stay in business now that we are making it so difficult for anyone to enter the US:
Our group rendezvoused at the van and drove back to the spot where we had watched birds, but after much searching we couldn’t find Trudy’s shoe.
We stopped to get gas and a man was sitting between the pumps ladling something out of a 10-gallon plastic drum into empty glass bottles. Other customers were snapping up the bottles so I called out the window, “Whatcha got there?”
“It’s Irish mess!” he answered enthusiastically. “It’s a mess o’ seaweed and spices. Very refreshing, and only 50 cents.”
Mark pulled a handful of coins out of his pocket and I said in a low voice, “Think about the water.” He slipped the coins back in his pocket. We had all started having tummy troubles.
“I don’t understand it,” said Mark. Jeanie supplied drinking water in a five-gallon jug in the lodge for $1 per liter. We had all assumed it was purified.
I thought about it and asked Mark, “Have you ever seen a truck delivering new bottles of water?”
He paused thoughtfully. “No, now that you mention it.”
“So they just refill the same five-gallon jug from the tap in the kitchen, I’m guessing. We might as well fill our bottles directly from the tap. That’d be free.”
After lunch, we were off to Cockscomb Basin. As we drove down the long entry driveway, something big and black slithered quickly across the road. When we arrived at the preserve, which had a well-funded interpretive center, we immediately identified the critter as a Jaguarundi. This was promising; we were all excited about what else we might see here.
In the office, Mark was having a hard time convincing the guy at the desk to let us in because we didn’t have a reservation or a local guide. I think the contents of the jar were meant as a warning of what could go wrong if we wandered through on our own.
I’m not sure how Mark got us in and I don’t need to know, but we were soon hiking through the jungle on our way to Victoria Peak—at 3,675 feet the second-highest mountain in Belize. Doyle’s Peak is the highest, but it only beats Victoria by 13 feet. I had no sense of how high 3,675 feet was and I’m glad I didn’t or I might have skipped it.