Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tuesday... The beginning of the mainland tour...


Up early today as we had a 8 am boat to town… I had to check the lobster pots that I had set out yesterday as a trial run. All I have at the time to bait them was baked chicken.

Traps had a snapper, a crab and a damsel fish, released them back to the sea, to catch later.

Quick job of packing and then of to Belize Municipal airport.
Gate B at San Pedro town.

This is one of the Cayes (Keys) near Ambergris Caye.

Hiway map of Belize. (Click on it for a larger veiw)

It was a short 15 minute flight and we were at Belize city… Met our rental car driver, back to the rental care agency, and then off on one of the few hiways in Belize.

We stopped at Hattieville Prison Gift shop, I place where the prisoners make the products, the gist shop sells the item and the prisonor gets a percentage in his account so he/she will have spending money when the are released. I have a picture of them inmates out tending to the yards, with a machette. Heck of a way to mow the grass!

Our next stop was for lunch.

This place had more signs posted than I have seen on my whole trip Inside it was almost every bumber sticker that has ever been printed

Pretty good food, I had garlic shrimp. Then I noticed the deserts... We all had something different, I really enjoyed the lemon pie.

San Ingino Belize has a nice little farmers market area, we are staying here on Weds Night., so we will check it out then.
Lots of hills, small mountains in the area, as I write this note, we are at 425 feet above sea level.

We are almost in Guatemala, seeing a few resorts along the way. Country side reminds me of Lake of the Ozarks, then more like Benet springs, Mo.

Crossing a one line woodedn bridge near Benque Viejo del Carmen, on the boarder of Guatemala

The Belize border crossing building. Had to pay $37.50bz each to exit.

Our next step was to get the car sprayed for bugs. $17.50bze for a few hundred drops of spray. Didn't even get the windshield wet... what a rip off.

Had to pay a Guatumella entrance fee $20 guat, ($1us = $6 Guat) then pay a fee for the car, then pay a park entrance fee of $20gu ea. More on the park fee in a future blog.

Wow, what an ordeal at the border…

Lots of “people” to help us, disguised as money transfer agents. $6 guat to $1 am one the Belize, $7.20 100 feet later on the Guatmella side. Everyone had a hand out!

The bridge between the two countries
The hi-way was worst that a poor lake road at Osage beach.. we had 30 miles or so of that, then a poor asphalt road with pot holes, pot craters, etc and lots of traffic, we were outside of Flores and so far, none of us are impressed. No road markers, street signs, etc. And of course I didn't have Belize or Guatamella maps downloaded to my garmin GPS.

We are going to Flores, and we have a map that has been photocopied so many times that it us blurry. Hiway markers are very rare, and non of them say Flores. We hope we are heading in the direction.

We stop at a turest information building around 4 pm… closed damn…

We continue on and find a convenience store. We go in to get some auqa puricicada (filtered water) be cause we sure don’t want to drink what the local do. As we are getting the water, I notice 6 locals, all male, and 4 of the 6 have some kind of firearms. (Sorry I didn't get a better picture, but I was doing this really low key.. I didn't want to attract any more attention that I absloutly had to)

The most noticeable was what we in the states call a street sweeper… a sawed off 12 gauge shotgun. One blast from one of those into a crowd on the street, and no one is left standing; now you know how it got its name.

This is the militery base. These guard towers were attended, and yes they were armed!

Ok made it to Flores, Guatemala about 5, we commented that we felt like we were on the Amazing Race, and made it to the pit stop but never did find Phil Grogen.

This is the entrance to Flores, The Town on the Island in the biggest lake in the area.

Very narrow, steep streets.

Flores is an island in the lake, and seems to have a lot of tourist business, lots of shops selling the same old t-shirt or wooden bowls.

A few pics of the area. Sory for the poor quality, some were shot holding the camera outside the window above the car.

After seeing such a run down poor housing and really a run down country it was nice to see something half way decent.

The local beer. You see the logo everywhere!

At least there is an ambulance on the island.

One of the many open air places to eat. Seems to really cater to those that want to visit the island, met a guy from Chicago who flew in just to see Tikal.
This is the kitchen, with an open brick wood oven.

That's it for the day... no one was shot, and we felt lucky.

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