Being totally confused about the time difference, I couldn’t figure out why I was wide awake at 5 am. Probably since I was still on Florida time.
It was a gradual transition to “Belize time,” which accurately represents the pace of life down here.
Donna at D’s Hostel made us breakfast of toast, fresh fruit, coffee, tea, guava jam and peanut butter for breakfast. Walter and Joan picked us up around 8:30 am. They drove us to Hopkins to drop their new puppies off at the free animal hospital for spay and neuter.
Visited Emma’s Garden and saw the local plants and fruit trees for sale. Emma was in California for her sister’s funeral, so we never got to meet her. The place was huge and beautiful. Groves of fruit trees and acres of exotic plants, flowers and more fruit. I believe Geri would have been content to spend the whole day there.
From there, we went to the celebration at the beach for the birthday of Hopkins. We had a lunch of beans and rice with home made tortillas and coleslaw. Spent $7 for both of us and $2.50 for a beer.
Walked the beach and saw the sea grape trees. Listened to the DJ play a reggae version of I believe I can fly. Yet another unusual but cool reggae remake.
Hopkins was a nice place to visit. The expat community is growing there rapidly. Small shops and restaurants make it feel like a Caribbean version of Helen or Dahlonega, Georgia. Just not as much beer.
The one thing that really bothered us about Hopkins was the trash. We watched locals dropping wrappers and cups, as well as stepping over what was already there. The beach had a ridiculous amount of trash all along it. We tried to cut them some slack, since storms were moving through all week. Watching it all blow around, with no obvious effort to clean up, made us wonder if it’s always like this.
Stopped at another one of the aircraft hangar-type markets for beer and water. Same concept of groceries, liquor and hardware. These places could be a great source of funny home videos. Public drunkenness is apparently not a big deal. Spent $15 for 2 bottles of water and six red stripes.
Stopped at a Mayan shop for chocolate and a few souvenirs. It was a small place on the side of the road with an impressive painting of a jaguar on the front. Handmade jewelry, pipes, trinkets and chocolate. Lots of chocolate. Picked up stuff for almost everyone on our list here. Spend $41.
Went back to pick up the dogs and drove out to see Walter and Joan’s farm. They moved down from Canada a year ago and bought 15 acres outside Dangriga. Horses, pigs, chickens, guinea hens, ducks, all kinds of fruit trees and a garden started.
We made a detour to see the river where they spend some of those hectic days in Belize. Geri couldn’t take it and just had to play in the water. The whole area around Hopkins and Dangriga was just beautiful.
They took us out to a piece of property we were considering buying, with an overgrown orange grove at Stann Creek and coastal highway above Hope Creek.
(Where to find everything in Hopkins…)
This part explained one of Belize’s great mysteries. If you check the bus routes against the maps of the country, one question practically screams at you. Why don’t the buses use Coastal Highway to run between Belize City and Dangriga? Drive it and see. Imagine driving on the surface of the moon, after an atomic blast, at 50 miles an hour, in an antique school bus. Yeah. That’s why.
Back to D’s and made plans for dinner tomorrow night. Needed to cool off and rest for a while. Hunger soon set it again. It seems like vacations are just an excuse to eat stuff you never had in places you’ve never been. Fair enough?
Walked back to Slaghterhouse, since everything else was closed. More ganaches, coleslaw and beer. Love this place. With those 3 for a dollar (bz) ganaches at my disposal, I went for a record. Eleven down. Geri took one for herself. I guess it proved I love her. Nobody else takes my ganaches. Spent $22.50 including tip.
Walked back through town. Saw kids playing on one of the many public parks in the area. Watched the moon dance on the river running through town. Went down to the beach at D’s and sat on a bench for a while. It was a good day. One more left in Dangriga.
M. Erik Matlock is a self-professed recovering knucklehead with more than 500 articles and four books in print. He shares his hard-earned wisdom at ErikMatlock.com, ProSoundWeb.com and through his books, which are available at Amazon.