It is now day 6, and we are feeling great!
After a hot but pleasant night at the quaint Belcove Hotel, located on Haulover Creek about a block down from the famous Swing Bridge, we spent the morning investigating the inner workings of downtown Belize City. I would not say they were the best inner workings I have ever seen. Except for the cheap waffles and johhny cakes, Belize City did not really have that much to offer at first glance. So, we decided to head on out to the Cayes and see what Caribbean Island life is all about.
Here is a view or our hotel from the Swing Bridge, the yellow and red one on the right.
And here is a little taste of the urban fabric downtown.
What pretty colors! It is too bad nobody wanted to hang out in it in the 90 degree heat with no shade, however, the vendors surrounding the park seemed to do alright.
Our Caye of choice was Caye Caulker, located about 45 minutes north of Belize City by boat and about a mile inside the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere (also possibly the only, but largest sounded more impressive). Everywhere on the Caye, where bicycles and golf carts dominate the public transportation market, there are signs posted urging all to “Go Slow”. I believe the residents of Caye Caulker not only take these signs literally, but have made it their mantra. It was a great place to relax and to enjoy the fact that we had nothing to do and nowhere to go. In addition to hanging out at the beach bars and walking the three streets of the Island, we decided to test our snorkeling skills out at the reef. It really was a pretty amazing place. I think what impressed me most was the diversity of the marine life in this little underwater oasis. It was only a week ago that I was out fishing in a local lake in CT with my neighbor Greg; and it just hit me that I could probably count all of different kinds of fish in those waters on one of my hands (and most of them are stocked). And yet, Bolton Lake seemed like such a pristine piece of nature at the time. I think that sometimes, especially as our surroundings get more urbanized and sterilized by development, we can tend to get excited if we can have any little critters at all in our landscapes. We get tricked into thinking that we have achieved biodiversity just by having bugs, birds, and a chipmunk all in the same general location. However, this could not be further from the truth. To have truly healthy and sustainable landscapes it is imperative to not only have different types of flora and fauna, but many different species of each. This was something that I got a really good glimpse of at the reef. Now I just have to hope that they will be able to continue to protect those waters for years to come, so that others may gain inspiration from it as well. Anyway, a couple highlights from adventure to the coral reef included swimming with the stingrays and coming face to face with a barracuda, not much unlike the one I had eaten for dinner the night before!
Oh, here I am…and there is the beautiful blue Caribbean.
And here is one of the three main streets in town, and the only gas power vehicle I saw on the island.
This is a great example of taking advantage of your natural resources. If you have lots of water and not much land, why not sit in it?
Becky and I fearlessly swimming with the stingrays…okay, maybe not fearlessly 🙂
In addition to the beauty and pace of the Island I also very much enjoyed the people. They took the time to notice and enjoy the simple things in life. For example, I have never had as many people point out a full moon to me as I did the other day. You could tell this was a highlight for many of their weeks, which might sound lame, but I could not remember the last time I had taken time to enjoy a full moon and I very much enjoyed it? I found this appreciation for the beautiful things this world offers us very refreshing…this is not to say that I do not notice the beauty of nature around me…but sometimes i forget just how much of it there is. I also felt like there was a very strong sense of community amongst those living on the island. They seemed to spend much of their time outside interacting with each other rather than hiding away indoors with their Nintendos and Tivos. I have a feeling this will be more of the norm in the many places we will visit instead of the exception.
A glimpse of the beauty brought about by a rising sun. Also, in contrast, a glimpse of the last remnants of what was once probably a dense mangrove stand along the coast.
We have enjoyed our stay on Caye Caulker immensely, however, we have many more countries ahead, anxiously awaiting our arrival. So, we must head off to our next location, Flores, Guatemala. Another stamp for the passport!
# of Days: 6
# of Countries: 2
# of Cities: 4
# of Pictures Taken: 127
Current Book: Hope, Human & Wild – Bill McKibben