The Aluminum Asylum

The Aluminum Asylum
Our home on wheels

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Wed December 20, 2006

Belize City, Belize

We had breakfast with grandpa and another passenger Mark from LA about 9 a.m. After breakfast, grandpa said he wanted to go to his cabin and rest, and Paul and I decide to go into Belize City. I am taking my scooter this time…forget walking. I even called to make sure I could take the scooter on the tender…we are docked quite a ways out since the coral reefs here prevent ships from entering the port. I told Paul we could do a tour anyways…they can just put the scooter in the back of the van. That is if we go on a professional tour in a van and not a bus. On the tender going into the city, we are given some shore excursion info by one of the crew members. Paul and I decide that we would like to do the city tour and the Zoo tour. The guy promises us the scooter would not be a problem it would fit into the back of the van. Don’t worry…be happy. We arrive at the pier and follow our crew member through the market area. He has told me that we are the only two from the tender that want to go on a tour so it will be in a smaller vehicle…but that the scooter was still no problemo. OK. We follow this kid thru the mall, up the back alley and into the street. Me tooling in my scooter, Paulie bringing up the rear. We turn into another street and there is a little Datsun car and a driver. We are introduced to Yolanda, our tour operator. Yolanda is the tender crew member’s mother. OK, I get it…this guy is using the tour company name to get dumb ass foreigners like us to go on private tours with this mother! It seems ok, and she speaks good English. Several young men materialize out of nowhere and help to get the scooter into the trunk. OK. We get in the car and Yolanda takes us through the city. What a poor place this is. We get on a two lane highway supposedly to the Zoo first. It seems as if we are driving forever! I have no clue where the hell we are going, and Paul is merrily chatting with Yolanda. It is surreal.

The drive continues…finally I see a sign, Guatemala 100 KM. GUATEMALA! Crap. I have this overwhelming feeling that we are being kidnapped. I imagine us getting our throats cut and our bodies stripped of vital organs. Our organ-less, lifeless bodies will be dumped in the jungles of Guatemala only to be eaten by crocodiles and insects. Zack will never be able to collect the insurance money because there are no bodies and the local corrupt officials will not issue death certificates…no certificates, no benefits. This is how I think. Finally, a sign that says Zoo! We are there! We are not being kidnapped.

Once at the zoo, Paul puts my scooter together and off we go. We are in the only zoo in Belize. We have to pay 8 bucks per person to get in. Only Belize natives get in free. OK. We pay the money and see quite a few tourists. This must be a good zoo. Oh. My. It is a jungle. We see toucans, pumas, otters and even white tail deer. A beautiful ocelot paces in her cage. Parrots and parakeets are everywhere. Crocodiles and wild snapping turtles share a lagoon. As I tool around on my scooter I am amazed to think I am in Central America, touring a poor little zoo that was built by hand by the natives. Each rock along the path was placed by hand. The animal habitats made by natives. Nothing like what I had imagined…remember I am a Chicago girl...a zoo in my head is Brookfield, yanno? Suddenly, my legs are itching. I look down and I am covered in some type of gnat insect. When I brush them away, they leave a drop of blood. OH MY GOD! Blood suckers. The area they bite turns pink with a hot red center and itches like crazy. I am doomed. Deadly Tsi files... my dad told me all about them once. I won’t make it thru the night. Then my heart stops, I have been bitten by a mosquito! Damm the Tsi flies…this is serious! I could get all kinds of deadly diseases from a misquito bite! Remember bird flu? I tell Paul I am getting the hell outta this jungle paradise. I must have 150 bites on my legs. I look like I have pink pooka dot stockings on my legs. Oh gosh. We get a coke and a bag of popcorn at the little shop and once again we are heading down the highway, Yolanda putting the pedal to the medal. I can’t imagine blowing a tire. They will never find all our pieces. Hear that Yolanda?

We stopped at Old Belize City which is a neat tourist area with a beautiful beach, a great looking bar/restaurant and beautiful boats at anchor. We take a few pictures and then its back to Belize City for our city part of the tour. My gosh, I have never seen such poverty. This makes Cancun look like a model community. Such a pitiful place this is. Yolanda proceeds to take us past the US embassy, a private college, some Catholic schools, the Prime Ministers house, the court buildings and some huge banks. You know…the offshore Belize banks where millionaires stash their money so they don’t have to pay taxes? Finally we are back where we started. We weren’t murdered for our vital organs after all. Paul pays Yolanda and we are off to the dock to catch our tender back to the ship. We didn’t have any lunch (and I wouldn’t have eaten anything here anyways) so we went up to the pizza buffet. They had a meat sauce for pasta that was out of this world good. So much for dinner!



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