Left Tobacco Caye this morning just before nine and had a nice easy crossing, a following sea and very smooth. All went well until we got to Dangriga where we had to negotiate a very narrow, very shallow opening to the channel. Oops we ran aground! So the guys all jumped off (the young guys) and pushed and pulled and more guys waded in from shore and soon we were free then docked shortly after.
We caught a shuttle to the bus depot where we were to take our only chicken bus of the trip. (Roy is not big on chicken buses!) There was a bus just pulling out and they tossed our packs in the back while we climbed aboard. Oops, no seats! The conductor assured us there would be seats in minutes as people would get off. So we used our well trained sea legs and stood. Soon someone got off and I made Roy sit…knowing how unpleasant this all was for him. I actually enjoyed standing – the wind was keeping me cool. Soon I had a seat too and the miles were flying by. Unfortunately that didn’t last long. Our bus died about 2/3 of the way to Belmopan…something about a broken cable. We limped along at two mile an hour for a bit but eventually the driver just pulled over at the side. Another bus would be along shortly…haha the buses are packed and there was no way there was room for us. About half the people got on, some jumping through the back door. With luggage, not a prayer!
Some guys went to a telephone pole and pulled some wire off one of the guy wires and they jury rigged a new cable and after about an hour delay, we were underway again. Then the driver decided to pick up time. OMG it was a white knuckle ride! Even the local guys at the back were shouting to the bus driver to slow down…”If you get me killed mon, I’ll kill you”, they shouted. Cell service was working and we google mapped our route and counted down the miles!
At the bus station in Belmopan, we were waiting for our next bus when we were approached by a taxi driver offering us a taxi. It wasn’t that expensive and Roy on another chicken bus is probably not going to happen in this lifetime, so we jumped in and were soon headed to the Belize Zoo – well actually the Education Centre, which is about a mile past it. (Just as well we were in a taxi as the bus would have dropped us at the zoo and we would have had to walk to the Education Centre). We arranged for our driver to pick us up tomorrow and take us to the airport. He is supporting two kids at university and said he would really like the fare. He was fun to drive with, full of stories and tips for travel so we were glad to give him our business.
We got settled into the Yellow Headed Parrot Pond House. The pond has lots of fish, birds and one resident crocodile (which I did manage to see). Nice cabin, a bit rustic but has everything we need and beats Belize City. We have a huge, screened-in deck, and overlook the pond. Our accommodations include dinner tonight and breakfast tomorrow. They run a shuttle to the zoo so once we got settled, that was where we headed.
Grabbed a quick lunch in the restaurant at the zoo then wandered around for a couple hours. It is a great zoo – yes, animals are in cages. But they are nice cages. The zoo was started in 1982 when a woman came to do a documentary film on the rainforest. She used animals that were being kept as pets and when she was done she was left with 20 of them that owners didn’t retrieve. So she decided she would use them to educate people on the animals of Belize, dispelling some of the myths around them. And the zoo was born. Now they take in abandoned pets, confiscated and wounded animals. Most of them will never see the wild again but they are well cared for here.
Some of the animals were pretty amazing – a few jaguars, ocelots, incredible birds. I got some good shots through the wire caging and was doing great until one of the ocelots leapt at the fence where I was taking pictures with all four feet and scared the crap out of me!
Dinner in the communal house and then we headed back to the zoo for a night tour. It was interesting and we had a really good guide who told us lots about the nocturnal animals we saw. Not really conducive for good photos…
And so ends another great adventure.
Thank you everyone who followed along, especially those who took time to leave comments. Always nice to know someone is enjoying this with us. Tomorrow we fly out of Belize City through Houston and on to Vancouver. Overnight in Vancouver then home the next day.