DAY 394 - BELIZE
Day 394 - Orange Walk, Belize - 7574 km
Border of Belize. I left early morning from Bacalar, where I spend two days with Madison - holiday. It was hot as usual. A black lady looks angry at me if I place my bike against the wall next to the entrance of the immagration building. She points away. I have to park it somewhere else. I don’t understand why she is grumpy and I don't know where to put my bike, I don't have a stand so I need to put it against something. She comes outside and we come to an agreement for parking the bike. This is her border, so she's going to tell me what to do. At the desk a black man with a small moustache asks how I am doing, while I walk inside. “Are you enjoying the cool weather?” I smirk at his joke. He must have seen me coming on my bike and sees me sweating. A form gets handed over and I fill in the details. Destination adress? I don't have one and fill in the first hotel I find on Google maps. Booth 2. Another black lady - this is definitely another country - who asks me some questions on my whereabouts and I can go the next. Another black man stamps my passport and I'm good to go.
Belize is a lot different. The first thing I notice is that they mow their lawns, everywhere, it's more cleaned up than Mexico, but still very poor. The language spoken are English, Creole and here and there Spanish. Architecture is different too, more like in the US, with some colonial influences. But the biggest change is the people. It's an interesting mix. A lot of black people, supermarkets owned by Asians. There are Americans, Brits and the most surprising: Mennonites. They are Germans, living of the land, with strict rules secluded from society, wearing traditional clothing. A local at a roadside cafe told me about them, in English. I realised how great this trip would be if I speak the local language. I need to spend more time on learning Spanish. The man also warns my for Belize City, which is dangerous according to him. I wasn't planning on going there, I'm heading straight for Guatemala which should take about 3 days.
I pass sugarcane fields, deserted houses, and driveways with prestiges looking gates of landfills, all deserted and for sale. Looks like prosperity from another era, not many people live here. It's a quiet road to Corosal, the first town. I need cash, charge my phone, get groceries and find out what the local currency is. I'm badly prepared. I heard Belizean hotels are more expensive and I haven’t been camping much the last weeks. The high temperatures and the plaguing mosquitoes hold me back from spending nights outside.
The roads are in bad condition. Dusty and rough, with patches of old pavement from far flung times. Comfortable enough on the Surly ECR, when I leave some air out of the tires, but still slow. Passing cars make my eyes squint. Out of nowhere there’s a ferry, about to cross a small river. It's an old boat which holds not more than two cars and a bus. I’m just on time. It’s only about 50 meters of a quiet river. To my surprise the ferry moves by men power. Two guys turn a wheel which moves the ferry.
I pass sleepy villages with the most minimalistic infrastructure. It reminds me of remote villages in Romania. Kids playing on the sandy roads. Chickens, dogs, pigs around the wooden houses. All the people are black, they look at me with curious eyes. I'm on a backroad tourists never go. There is nothing here to visit. These are people that work the sugarcane plantations. Dogs sleep on the road, they don’t bother me. The sun is getting low. There should be a like nearby where I want to find a camp spot, but I'm afraid there will be to many mosquitos when the wind dies. It's pretty bad during rain season. While the day ends, some cars pass me. People going home from their working day. A pick up truck with a white man sitting on a crate in the back. This must be a Mennonite. Red, sun burned, grim face. The top of his forehead is white of wearing a cap. Another car passes with a few of the younger guys sitting in the back. The look on their faces are peculiar. They follow my moves, bewildered and suspicious, but at the same time curious. I'm wearing a colourful cap with 'Tulum' on it which shouts tourism. They wear dark overalls, checkered shirts and stro heads. All with the red, slightly deformed faces, likely a result from reproduction in small communities. I wish I could talk to one, but they are drive to fast.
A brief moment I hold still at the lagoon. The sun is about to go down. Mosquitos find me right away. The thought of possible crocodiles in the lagoon make me continue. It's still 23 km on dirt to Orange Walk town where I can find a hotel. In a village I chuck two Pepsi's and I make a 3 double peanut butter tortilla. It gets dark quick, dogs from farms are more agressive in the night. I squirt water at them when they come to close. I reach Orange Town with a sore ass.