The plan had been to depart from our last stop in Mexico, Yax-Ha, prior to the weekend so we went on a final supply run Friday and stopped at our favorite taco joint downtown for one last feast. When we got back in the truck it wouldn't start. I was convinced it was the starter so I crawled underneath and banged on it a few times to no avail. I took my greasy up to the elbows arms back to the taco joint and hand gestured my way into getting three of the young gents to come give us a push start and off we went to Autozone to get a new starter.
Success at acquiring the starter and, with only two interruptions from two new, French speaking arrivals, managed to get it installed before dark. Only to discover that the problem was the battery, not the starter – thanks Philippe (French speaking interruption #1 – I know, I don’t mean to be insulting, but Philippe will understand, and he prides himself on being a bit of a smart ass anyway, eh Philippe?).
Our newest friend/family member – Philippe. There’s something about someone who gives you shit right out of the gate – and can take it equally well – that I admire. Philippe is a traveler of the Americas. He started in Panama and has been on the road for years. He also captains private vessels from time to time to earn money to continue his travels.
We very much enjoyed our time with him and are hoping he chose to adopt the sweet, young street dog who adopted us while we were at Yax-Ha. She slept under the RV every night, hung out with our dogs, and acted like she was the newest member of the pack. We, unwisely, fed her a bit too regularly and were sad to drive away as she watched on from our spot. Philippe was in town when we left and emailed that she was waiting for him when he returned. He said he has now been cooking for two, him and Pepina, and we think they would be a great team. We’re also hoping they will visit us soon in Belize.
Oh, the other French speaking interruption? French Canadians from Montreal. Huge, expensive RV, unsocial occupants. Au revoir.
Monday departure for Belize. 40 minutes to the border, relatively painless, 2 hour, border crossing, and then another 30 minutes into Corozal, Belize. Corozal is a super friendly town. Lots of little shops and eateries. Accordingly, we dined and shopped, but there's not much else happening there.
The primary business at Caribbean Village RV park in Corozal is transfer services – i.e. driving folks to and from all the surrounding areas via a small fleet of mini vans. At one time, this park was geared up for at least 100 RVs at a time, but those are the foregone days of RV caravans. These companies are partly to blame for their own demise by encouraging folks to RV in large groups to minimize the risks of “dangerous” solo traveling in Mexico and Central America. Alas, they have left RV ghost towns in their wake. On our second night at Caribbean Village we met Martin and Janet from Switzerland. Another very nice, adventurous couple on a long holiday, driving the Americas. They wanted to do some ocean swimming in Mexico so we sent them to Yax-Ha.
|The skies in Central America are always gorgeous.|
3 nights in Corozal – one too many, but we needed to do laundry – and then off to San Ignacio. Or, so we originally planned. We discovered the Community Baboon Sanctuary web site the night before we left. The sanctuary was about halfway along our route and decided we needed some monkey time. We read on ioverlander.com that we could park next to the hub of the sanctuary, but it was a small, uninviting parking lot right next to the road. Right behind it, however, was the Nature Resort. After a bit of chatting with the neighbors we were ushered into Roy’s place where we settled in for a couple of nights.
Roy has slowly built a gorgeous little complex of about half a dozen cabanas that accommodate travel groups of all sizes and needs. His wife prepared a few wonderful meals for us and Roy was kind enough to give us a tour of his facility and explain how it developed. He also gave us an education on building cabanas and I was fortunate enough to get a first-hand lesson on how to construct a thatch roof and how to detect termites. Invaluable lessons for potential, future, Belize inn owners.
We were also treated to a wonderful, fried chicken dinner prepared by Geraldine who seconded as our tour guide to lead us to see a troupe of howler monkeys, and sold us her handmade, “horsetail” fly swatter. The group of 7 villages that make up the baboon sanctuary is suffering a bit now due to a re-routing of cruise ships arriving in Belize, but they have an incredible project going and their community is well worth a visit.
Today, we departed the land of the Baboons (this is what the locals call the howler monkeys) and arrived at our final destination in Belize – the Cayo District. We’re about halfway between San Ignacio and San Jose Succotz at Hanna Stables. This is an incredible place – absolutely gorgeous. A beautiful horse stable, an organic farm, a cute complex of little cabins, and stunning views. We’re looking forward to spending more time with Santiago, the current caretaker and owner of this multi-generational estate. However, tomorrow will be a long, exploratory drive around the area familiarizing ourselves with things and doing some house hunting. It’s time to get out of the “tiny house” and nest in something a bit larger.