Moving inland


Placencia, Belize to San Ignacio, Belize

198.3 kilometers ridden.

Last night was incredibly hot so we opened up the doors to the bunk house. It brought us a nice breeze but with it came the mosquitoes. The whole night was spent tossing and turning. Either being too hot from having the sheet over my whole body and head to stop the bug bites, to shedding it and being eaten alive.

I got up and moving around 8 and made my way to the bathroom to put my contacts in and get ready. The original plan had been to get moving early in the day and make it to San Ignacio by mid-day. But early is such a vague term....

The small boat that took us back and forth across the river to the bunkhouse. 

I dressed went for water at the bar by the pool. Despite the early hour, a women with glasses, long brown hair and looking to be in her early to mid-twenties was there with a large amount of baggage. She was talking to the bar keep as I slid up and began to drink water and use the Wi-Fi to catch up. When Aaron got up and moving we talked a bit about what to do for breakfast. With the heat already sweltering we choose to walk down to the pier for breakfast rather than to get right on the road.

Our view from breakfast. Isn't this where Vin Diesel is supposed to come roaring up the road?
It turned out that the young woman who had just arrived was supposed to have been in the bunk house last night. She seemed nice and we all decided to go to eat together. We went to a place called the Shack and I ended up having a delightful smoothie with mango and a few other things as well as a lamb burger. The conversation was good and the music played was mostly American pop, which made us joke about the fast and the furious due to the song being played and the scene of the Caribbean in front of us. 

We went back to pack and get ready. All told it was nearly noon before we set off from Placencia. The road was good and twisty, running from shoreline through the hilly expanses of rain forest and forcing us to cut speed and pace, slowing due to the blind curves and intermittent rain.

With Christmas approaching fast I couldn't help but stop and grab this photo on the way out of town.

We stopped for lunch as we began to outpace the rain and rode right into it. The timing meant that we ended up at a small cafĂ© on the side of the road. It was an eclectic stone building with a heavy wooden door. The exterior made me think of the rounded stone battlements of a medieval castle. Lunch was a pretty boring affair with a grilled ham and cheese and a smoothie but it allowed us to miss the rain.  While I don’t mind riding in the rain, Aaron however does so it was good timing.

Riding up through the mountains and seeing the changing flora as I pushed inland I stopped to take photos of a huge tree that appeared ripped straight from the mind of Tolkien. I spent a long time shooting from many angles and locations while Aaron pushed on up the road. I find trees to still snap me out of my road trance with a reminder of the beauty that surrounds us if we take the time to look at it. The views were so stunning that I caught Aaron only a few miles up the road where he had stopped to take his own photos.

Entering San Ignacio we headed for the hotel Christine was staying in. It took a bit to find it and the city was busy enough that I stayed with the bikes as Aaron went to find it. The heat was stifling and I was glad to see Aaron walk back to me. He had found the place but they only had one single room and a more expensive double. We had wanted to each have our own room for a day or two just to have some privacy.

We opted to go look at the place next door but the staff were push and it felt more like a crack house than a hotel. We were not impressed. We also went up to the Hostel Ed was staying in, but it was nearly the same cost as the hotel and packed with hippie travelers. In the few minutes we were there I think I was running a high risk of a contact high. The plus side was of course that most of the occupants were attractive women in their 20s. Ed appeared to be in heaven. We had both wanted some privacy so we went back to the hotel Christine was staying at.

The Topicool Inn was nice and had great secure parking well off the road. The best part was that the owner ended up just giving me the double room for the $30 Belize a night as long as I only used one of the beds. We got settled and showered before heading to join Ed at his hostel so we could walk down to a small restaurant for curry.

Lamb Curry.  If you asked Ed he would say it was worth the whole trip to Belize, he might have been a bit delirious.

The crowded sidewalks of the backpacker’s part of town held multicolored signs for the many hotels, hostels, and what appeared to be as many separate tour companies as there were people in the city. The restaurant was a about midway between our hotel and Ed’s hostel, a whole two blocks from either. It was busy but not yet packed and a look around the tables saw a collection of foods from a simple burrito, albeit on the size of my head, through wonderfully aromatic curries. As the three of us walked in we got asked to join two women from Ed's hostel. There wasn't room at their table so they joined us instead as we got seated near the door. I ended up with the lamb curry, which was amazing, and a blended ice tea with fresh lime juice. We all ended up having Pina Colada cheesecake to go with it before moving to a bar right by the hotel.

The bar extended the happy hour specials for us and we proceeded to all drink a bit too much. I had a mojito and many drinks fashioned with the local rum and various fruit juices. The conversation was varied and fun but it was clear how different our worlds were. The two women were drinking and partying their way through Belize on a drunken holiday while Aaron, Ed, and I were each motorcyclists on extended tours ranging from a few months to several years.

Following the fun we all walked back to their hostel Ed and the women were staying in up the hill. On the way to the hotel, Aaron and I ran into Christine who had come out looking for us. She wanted to have a drink so we all sat down in the bar Aaron and I had just vacated. I was already pretty close to drunk so I chose to abstain from the drink. Once my alcohol addled brain caught up, I knew I was the third wheel and so excused myself to go back to the hotel and call it a night.


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