Crossing Ceda Creek
I've been on the road like a madwoman on this trip. From one end of Belize to another, even over the border into Guatemala to Tikal (finally, for the first time) and Antigua (with a friend, for a wedding).
Weeks one and two I spent navigating the potholes and mudslides from this hurricane season in a Geo Tracker (stick shift, with no power steering) that I borrowed from a friend. I was fortunate that the rain held out until the third week. I've rented a car for my last few days here - one that can take the terrain down south and go easy on the video equipment that I'm transporting. I'm going to the Toledo district of Belize, where the Southern Highway meets the old road that was built beneath it and for about 20 miles it is all red clay, packed down with rocks and silt. The major roads here have been mostly finished, but they don't always reach all the way to places like Punta Gorda or Monkey River or Barranco. These are places populated by Garifuna and Maya, far away in distance and in culture from the capital. Travel from here to Belize City further north (but still a few hours south from the Mexican border) can take as much as six hours in bad weather, even though the country is only about the size of New Hampshire.
They say a tropical storm is approaching from the Southwest, so for the next couple of days I will be either glued to the radio or just taking the storm reports that come by word of mouth for what they're worth. In the meantime, I've had a chance to really see the land, for the first time in years. Such beautiful landscapes, everywhere. The latest breathtaking ride was a short one, from San Ignacio, in the West of Belize, just outside of town, where my uncle and his partner run a mahogany plantation called Ceda' Creek. I crossed one of the many rivers I've crossed this trip. This time I left the car on its bank and went across by boat, instead of wading through (Natalie, my jeans are still ruined!) It's not possible to convey my sense of the beauty of this place; I hope you all get a chance to visit one day.