47. BELIZE – Southern Belize and Punta Gorda a.k.a. PG

From the zoo, the next day, John was keen to travel south to Punta Gorda. Not many overland travellers go to the southern beach town but he wanted to check it out visiting a Mayan archaeological site along the way.

This area is the least visited are in Belize. I don’t think for any other particular reason than it is just out of the way. Punta Gorda or PG, as they call it here, is surrounded by Mayan villages.

As we were travelling, for some reason I flipped out and half way I decided I’m actually not keen to go to the town but rather only to the Mayan site. I don’t know why. We had a disagreement. John thought we came this far so might as well check out the town and its villages.

It was around 3 PM when we got to town only to found there was not much to it. We parked up -which first seemed complicated as people had problem with us parking “near” their properties or businesses… Once we found a place, we walked around town only to found there’s really nothing to it. I was keen to move on. Finally John agreed but by this point we were pressured to find a camp spot for the night as it was getting late in the afternoon.

On our way out, at the edge of town we saw a green area near the water. We asked a couple of people if there was OK to park up. They weren’t sure, suggesting we should go back to town and ask in the town centre! I thought “naah, we’ll find something else”. It was after 4 PM at this point and decided to drive back, a reasonably long way to one of the archaeological sites (there are two) and park up there. In Mexico this was usually a sure bet. We knew it closes at 5 so we had to push on.

We got to the one which was closer at 5.06 PM and the gate was closed. At this point it was getting dark and we both, in our own unique way, were getting agitated. We remembered spotting a no-man’s-land by the side of the road not far back so we turned around and drove back. I jumped out to ask someone at the nearest house if there was OK to park up for the night. The man wasn’t sure, he didn’t want to take “responsibility” for this decision and suggested to wait for his father -who is the leader of the community, to ask him. He was expected to return home hours later so we decided to drop it but we were getting more agitated now.

There was a village few miles back south, I remember seeing a sign, by the side of the road, for a lodge or something. I thought we should ask them for camping in their car park. At this point John and I weren’t communicating, let’s put it this way; in a civilised way but not having any other options, he agreed and drove back to this village (the 3th time that day). It was completely dark by now. We didn’t find the lodge, instead we found a mill or a factory-like building. Also, by chance, the guy John found to ask permission from happened to be the manager of the rice mill. In the dark everything seem spooky, strange or unsure so first he said “no” but after a 10 minutes conversation he warmed up and let us stay only to asked us to leave by around 8 in the morning. His name was Jim and was actually a very nice man.

Finally we parked up, tucking ourselves away by the side of the building next to a little swamp that the heavy rains in the rainy season created, and as always, nature finds its way to grow and expand, it was heaving with wildlife. With this moment John and I, both calmed down. We had just the right amount of chilled beer in the fridge too. Put some mozzie repellent on, climbed up on to our roof top and spent a very quiet evening watching the stars, enjoying the balmy cool air and listening to the gig the frogs and crickets put on for us.

Next, Placencia and the peninsula.

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