The following morning we got up relatively early and decided that, before heading to Placencia we might as well visit the “only” thing we came for, the Nim Li Punit archaeological site (the one we found closed last night arriving a little late) We spent a couple of hours there. Not because it is that big but because it has a cute little museum with lots of info about the Mayas’ life, tradition, language, culture and so on with a few display of huge stone carvings, also had a nice long chat with the ranger about the Mayan life and all, but besides all the site itself was so peaceful. I felt it was made up for us for the series of unfortunate events yesterday.
It was still before midday when we left and headed to Placencia. We heard about a few places, towns by the beach that are worth a visit and we decided to check Placencia out. The town is located at the most southern tip of a long and narrow peninsula. Not long ago the only way to get here was by boat from the mainland but there has been a paved road built all the way (with countless speed bumps!) The peninsula is so narrow that as we were driving down in the middle, looking both sides we could see the sea on one side and the laguna on the other. Because of its fortunate location, its coco and banana trees and paradise-like features it is well populated by, mostly, northern Americans almost all the way.
As we drove on to the peninsula there was a sign for a fishing village, Riversdale. We decided to check out the tiny village. It had a very nice atmosphere with local fishermen and a handful of expats, lovely sandy beach with parked fishermen boats, palm trees and local kids playing around. We bumped into a delightful US couple, Steve and Rhoda who are living in an RV on the site where they are building their house. They kindly invited us to park up next to their RV and stay for a few days. We wanted to check out Placencia first but promised we’ll be back in a couple of days.
After driving all along the beach and some extraordinary (sometime ridiculous) houses, hotels, marine clubs etc we arrived to Placencia. Very soon we found out that the only place we allowed to park up for the night is a public car park, in front of the local police and fire brigade station. It was about 50 meters from the beach but there was a footpath and houses between us and the sea. Didn’t mind that too much but minded millions of sand lies that infested Burt inside. (the little buggers come through the mozzie net)
John became friendly with the local firefighter on duty, called Lennon (which created a little giggle when the two introduced themselves to each other) John was fascinated by their right-hand drive Volvo fire engine, and Lennon loved showing John in and out of the vehicle talking about all the err…. water pump things. For Johnny, it was like fun park for children. In the meantime I went for a walk trying to find fresh fruit and veg and some essentials.
“Fresh” food is expensive and not so fresh (except oranges, bananas and coconut) All supermarkets (and all around Belize) are in the hands of Chinese, and to me, they seem quite dishonest how they price generally everything and handle fresh products, such as milk, yoghurt, eggs etc. but even some dry product. (when you buy sugar, for example, open it outside of your house and don’t get surprised if you find ants and all sorts in the package) Sorry, I had to get that off my chest as I felt cheated every time we bought something and was off already.
It seemed we attracted some attention that afternoon/ evening and we met, Sam the local Swiss baker and three Americans who are in the process of opening the first and only RV park on the peninsula. Burt caught their eyes and stopped for a good chat. The couple, of the threesome, Angela and Scott had travelled through Mexico, Belize and Guatemala before and were so in to overland travelling, other travellers’ blogs and seemed to know a lot about current affairs on who’s travelling where and which websites are the best to read. Along with David, the third party, exchanged some stories and knowledge, showed them around inside our home and, having a bit late by now, we arranged a dinner date with them for the next evening.
We spent a lazy day the next day, spending a couple of hours at Sam The Baker’s shop who was sleepily suggesting us a few places to visit in Belize, then walking around the small town, soak in the sea for a bit (it isn’t even near as nice as the Tulum beach was in Mexico). To be honest we weren’t too blown away by Placencia. A little “too” Westernised (having more westerners live in town than locals – at least felt that way) therefore the locals’ attitude a little worn out and some of the prices are around the same as in the US. Though it has some facilities that comes handy; Some good baked products, wifi, a couple of fun cafes and bars, I’d like to say a couple of restaurants but though the seafood is fresh it is, again, expensive.
After having a pleasant evening with Angela, Scott and David we had another bug-infested night. We decided to leave. We thought we’d pop in to Riversdale to see if the invite, from Steve and Rhoda is still on so could stay for a night or two there. Also we saw a Banana plantation on our way here that advertised tours on the farm as Bunches Of Fun! It did sound just The Thing to me. We mentioned this to our new friends last night so they could book in too for a tour with us. We packed up, filled up with fresh water and headed to the Banana farm. On our way, coincidentally we met Steve and Rhoda, they waved us down and said that their invite is indeed still on, and hoping to see us later. So that was sorted.
As we arrived to the Banana Farm, Angela, Scott and David were already there along with our lovely and super knowledgeable tour guide, Evin. We watched a video about the history of the fruit and its trading -so fascinating. Then she took us out to the farm where there were guys waiting for us to demonstrate the stages of the handling the plant and its fruit. Did you know that one banana plant brings only one bunch of banana its lifetime? Then it has to go, but by then it has “daughter’ plants growing beside it, amongst which the skilful farmer chooses the best, most promising plant and get rid of the others.
After the farm tour we went to visit the prepare and packaging area where about a hundred men and women were washing, selecting the most attractive bunches then packaged them carefully, and getting the boxes ready for shipping.
After the whole tour (which took about 2 hours) we were treated with delicious fried bananas and had a little more chat with Evin before we said goodbyes and headed to Riversdale for the night.