Belize City and a Fantastic Zoo

Trip Start Nov 15, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Guatemala  ,
Monday, January 15, 2007

A fairly long, but painless bus trip from Flores (Guatemala) and we arrive in Belize. Ed described the minibus as ´zigzagging crazily along the road and changing direction spasmodically like a dog with fleas!' We found it amusing when the driver opened his window to spit and because of the strong breeze and extreme speed the spit ended up flying past Anna and landing on the face of his co-worker. That´ll teach ém!

The scenery is much the same as northern Guatemala - humid, rich green plants everywhere but the Latino culture which we are now familiar with is replaced by a black Caribbean culture complete with their sing-song (and sometimes intelligible) English.

One of our first impressions of Belize is that the bus trip takes us past lots of Chinese restaurants, even in the smallest villages. After a steady diet of beans, rice and corn for over a month, this has our mouths watering.

We had heard great things about Belize Zoo, and conveniently enough it was situated on the road to Belize City. For all you animal-lovers and zoo-haters, Belize Zoo is special. All the animals there are at the zoo because they have been injured or confiscated as illegal pets of the locals. They have fantastic huge natural enclosures, and staff that take great care of them.

The Zoo is focused on education because it doesn´t seem like there is a huge concern for the environment in Belize. The informative signs about the animals were in Caribbean English - ´YEAH MON!´ and often contained poems in street language to get the conservation message across to young people.

We spent hours there in the tropical heat and were fascinated by the spider monkeys and river otters, repulsed by the Tapirs (really stinky and ugly with nasty appendages!) and in awe of the ocelot, a wild cat like a small white leopard.

Entering Belize City we find quite a mix of people, black-skinned schoolchildren in immaculate white school uniforms, Rastafarians with dreadlocks, business people in suits and some very large women that you wouldn´t mess around! We walk to our accommodation with a few stares (Belize City is known as a dangerous place for tourists, they don´t normally wander around) and after the sun went down we taxied to and from dinner (great Chinese!!) because it really did feel like a threatening place.
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