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Bill & Annette On the Road
29th Feb 2008 - Caravan to Panama
Old Belize

We caught a ride with a Gentrac sales rep, into town and out to "Old Belize". On the way, the sales rep made a stop at "Crystal Auto Rental" where he invited us to look around while he did some business there. As it turns out, the business owner has made quite a hobby out of collecting and displaying artifacts from the area, among beautiful tropical plants. See the photos for a taste.

Old Belize is an attraction a few miles west of the city, co-located with a large marina. There is an excellent museum of Belizean history, restaurant and a beach. We did not visit the beach, due to intermittent rain, but enjoyed the museum and its gift shop. A friendly Belizean (lots of them here) saw us waiting for the bus and drove us back into Belize City, where we ate lunch at Macy's; recommended in most guide books. We were somewhat surprised at the small size - only slightly more area than our motorhome, but the food was strictly Belizean and very tasty. Bill had fried chicken, Annette had curried chicken, both with cole slaw and... (all together now...) rice and beans. A brisk walk brought us to the Mirab store north of the swing bridge, where Annette had spotted some small bamboo rugs she failed to purchase the other day, and had been lamenting since.

On leaving the store, we got the usual "Taxi?" question from an older gentleman, and since it was drizzling, we decided we would negotiate for a taxi with him. It soon became clear that he really didn't have a cab, but "could get us one at a good price". This is not an unusual ploy here, so we played along because he seemed interesting. As we walked with him back towards town, he started a very enthusiastic and fascinating history of Belize. He introduced himself as "Prince Charles Paris", saying he was 3/4 Mayan (although his appearance was more African), and a certified tour guide (confirmed later by a Taxi driver), with an intense interest in Belizian history and PR. With the flair of a stage actor, he used drama and question-and-answer to make sure his message was getting through, eventually "knighting" us as "ambassadors of Belizian culture". At the end (about 30 minutes later), as you might expect, there was a pitch for a small stipend, which we gladly gave. He did indeed find a ride for us back to Gentrac, for which he also extracted part of the fee from the driver. Total cost to us was about the same as the regular taxi fare, but the added entertainment and history was a bonus.

We have found that most Belizeans speak Creole when talking with each other. We can only catch an occasional word, as it might as well be Greek when spoken at the usual pace. Bill bought a "Kriol-Inglish Dikshineri" at Old Belize, and can tell you, for instance, that "Mi ma mi hafu aiyan owt da tayblklaat kaa ih mi mash op bad" means "My mom had to iron that tablecloth because it was very wrinkled". We have also noticed that all speech in Belize seems very polite. "Sir" and "Mam" are almost always used.

The engine is mostly assembled, but awaiting another injector, as a second one was found to be damaged, as well as the turbo, which on disassembly revealed the last missing (3rd) valve head from cylinder 6.

Next: Musings
Previous: Engine block arrives!

Diary Photos
29th Feb 2008  Crystal Auto
Bottom part is from a rum still. Not sure why the saxaphones.

29th Feb 2008  Crystal Auto
The landfill that underlies much of Belize City is said to contain millions of bottles discarded by pirates.

29th Feb 2008  Crystal Auto
From the ocean. Note the "petrified lantern".

29th Feb 2008  Crystal Auto
In this storage area were items not displayed due to lack of space. This is an old Spanish conquistador marionette.

29th Feb 2008  Old Belize
This is how the sap is obtained from the Sapodilla, or Chico Zapote tree, to be made into chicle. Chicle is the main ingredient in chewing gum.

29th Feb 2008  Old Belize
A giant old steam tractor used to pull mahogany logs to the river.

29th Feb 2008  Public transportation
Another type of bus, seen at Old Belize

29th Feb 2008  Macy's menu
Of course, everything comes with rice & beans.

29th Feb 2008  Macy's
You are looking at most of the restaurant. Great food.

29th Feb 2008  Prince Charles Paris
Our guide, educator and taxi procurer. He lectures at many local events.

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