Monday, January 31, 2005

Belize: Day 2, Part 2 - Leaving Town on The Western Highway

Belize City is not only on the water, it's nearly surrounded by water. Today we would leave the small capital and take the red road going southwest, otherwise known as the Western Highway. Driving time from one side of the country nearly to the other side is only about an hour and a half. This map shows only the beginning of the drive. Note the Belize Zoo at the left side of the map. This was a clear destination for us - in fact, I'd worked with Sharon online for a number of years and you could say it was more of a dream come true than a tourist destination. What curiosity I had about the place! And, not the least of my excitement . . . here I would see tapirs! If I were really lucky, I'd also see Sharon, but she can be more elusive than a tapir in the wild. We had made contact by phone with vague plans to meet somewhere, some way, before our trip was over.

Leaving Belize City: a circle of international Central American flags at the top, and a typical street scene below. How to get out of town? You head for the traffic circle and keep on going (kind of like Astoria, but we have a sculpture of an Indian and no flags).

This is a typical Belizean cemetery, mentioned by Bruce Barcott in his book, The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw. The graves are raised above ground level.

Although the first leg of our trip was not a long drive, it was fun to watch the scenery shift from low and swampy, to scrubby vegetation, then taller vegetation and soon a glimpse of mountains in the distance with the vegetation drier and less jungle-like.

I take a lot of pictures from moving vehicles - not because Lee won't pull off to the side of the road (he will), but because I'm such a "capture the image and all of the nuances" addict that I'd be stopping every few seconds unless the mood is not there, which is pretty rare. During this trip we still had the camera with the shutter delay and without low light stabilization, so there are a lot of blurry road scenes. Still, I'd rather have them than not.

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