Monday, January 31, 2005

Belize: Day 2, Part 5 - West to the Beach

What a treat it was to see the beautiful tall jungle foliage as we left the Western Highway and took the Hummingbird Highway toward the coast. There were fewer buildings and more wild land. As much as buildings interest me, wild land rejuvenates.

At some point, we left the Hummingbird Highway, and took the Southern Highway. It seems the few highways in Belize are usually named for where they take you away from Belize City.

I loved the colors in the building and the plants; they made a harmonious picture.

There were a few small bridges crossing tiny creeks. I didn't have much luck taking photos of the water, and we didn't stop to try, now thinking more about our destination, not knowing if we would arrive before nightfall, and not sure where we would end up or quite how far it was. The map indicated that at some point the road would become less reliable, and we hoped to have some daylight to find our spot for the night, or more likely a base for the next few days.

This building struck me with its uncharacteristic double-peaked roof line. The colors and the patterns formed by the wood also caught my attention. I think this was the only building of its type we saw. I wish the photo had come out better and were more complete, but it was hard to stop on the narrow road. You never knew what was coming around the next curve or if the road would be wide enough.

The scene opened out. Seemingly great wealth among the poverty.

Another style house, church, or place of gathering. It was hard to tell.

Banana trees. Apparently the blue plastic helps them ripen.

After awhile, the landscape changed dramatically. The banana plantations and the jungle forest ended. We went through an armed checkpoint. No big deal, but as Americans we're not used to it, and we wondered if something had happened locally. As it turns out, or at least from my reading later, I understand that Belize is always at the ready to some degree because of mistrust between claims of who owns the country - Belize or Guatemala. It's a long-standing disagreement, but the effects have come right down to recent history. Check out the history online or in Bruce Barcott's very readable Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw. The woods became pines, the dirt turned red. We decided not to take the turnoff to Dangriga, but kept on south, expecting to reach Placencia any time. I put down the camera, as it was turning to dusk and there was no way to stabilize the photos in poor light.

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