I went for a final swim in the lake today and then got on a bus for Belize, formerly British Honduras. Official language, English. The bus ride was comparatively short, less than two hundred miles and about 4 hours. In Belize City I found a hostel to stay in, quite cheap and very basic. Everybody sleeps in one large room with lockers for our valuables. On the plus side there is a washing machine. My clothes won’t know what has hit them, they are used to being rinsed in cold water. The hostel is run by two British guys. As they share a room with, rumour has it, a water bed, we assume they are a couple.
20th June 1976 - Language
It is great to be back somewhere where everyone speaks English. A funny language thing happened today. One of the people in the hostel is French, and I was arranging to meet him later in the day. Without thinking I used the word ‘rendezvous’. He couldn’t understand why I was using French, and was amazed when I explained that it had been adopted in its entirety into English. I have been out exploring the city today. It is very busy, noise and activity everywhere. The city is split in two by a river with a bridge which every now and then swings open to let boats through and stop all traffic. Lying offshore are lots of small islands called Cays. These form a barrier which means the sea front here is very sheltered. I would love to get out and see some of the islands, but I have made enquiries and it is very expensive.
21st June 1976 - The wild cat and the trimaran
Chatting to one of the other people in the hostel I mentioned I had started my travels on a trimaran from England. He said he knew a couple living an a trimaran they had built themselves. Today he took me to meet them. The boat is moored in the heart of the city off the main river. I am not sure if they physically built it themselves or hired people to do it, but it is a lovely looking boat. It is made out of wood and designed for cruising. Smaller than Maya, but designed to have more space inside. The floats are part of the accommodation rather than just storage, with bunks in the cross members. The couple who built and live on it are really nice. They have decided to sell the boat and return home to the USA. They said they would take $1,000. If I had that amount, plus some for fitting out and provisioning, I think I would have bought it and sailed it home. Sadly I don’t. There is another crew member on the boat, a playful wild cat. An Ocelot. Not a breed I had heard of before. I have no idea how big they get, this was is still young and small. You have to keep an eye of it the whole time. Every now and then you spot it stalking you.. When it realises it has been spotted it launches itself at you as fast as it can. Which is very fast. You can catch it or deflect it, it always lands on its feet and comes back for more. At this size it is really cute. I’m not sure I would want to play the game in a couple of years time. We chatted for a while and drank some tea. I hope they find a worthy buyer.
22nd June 1976 - Mennonites
Tomorrow I shall be heading into Mexico, the Yucatan peninsular. There is another set of Mayan ruins there I would like to see before heading for the Unites States of America. I mentioned my intended route to a couple of people. They referred to the north of Belize as Mennonite country. I have no idea what they were talking about.