Punta Gorda, we were
headed to a town north of there called
Independence and it was to be the first stop of the day.
Rising early we readied ourselves for taking the 7:50 am
bus. The early morning light was peaceful as we headed
to a green clapboard house,
sat on a bench
and waited for transport to arrive.
Being in Central
America, we were surprised that the bus was on time.
Another Blue Bird School Bus, but not decked out like
Boy Toys of Guatemala
from Punta Gorda to Independence was $9BZD each.
Fortunately, we were able to get on at an early pickup and find
a seat. Quickly the bus was jam-packed with standing
Affordable family transport all through Central America
can learn a great deal about a culture through the music
it produces. Reggae was blaring the full 3 hours we were
riding on this bus, and I found these lyrics to be
"Leave di young
How can you have
di heart for a school girl, Mon?
Let her see her
future without being a baby mother
The world has
many place for a woman
Leave di young
The song had the
grooving beat of Reggae and the words were easy to gloss
over... for about 20 seconds. All of a sudden I was
thinking of Belizean daily life:
Man/woman relationships, Man/child relationships, the
poverty and struggle of single motherhood and more.
Here I am, windblown by tropical breezes and thoroughly bounced by
Immediately upon arrival in Independence, we are met by
a small pickup truck whose driver motions to us to jump into
the back. He'll take us directly to the dock to
catch the Hokey Pokey Water Taxi, which is right where
we wanted to go. The ride was free and
the people were very cordial.
Dockside at the Hokey Pokey Water Taxi
quickest and most enjoyable way in or out of Placencia
is by the water taxi system, costing $10BZD, about $5USD per person.
Again, we were impressed by the competency of this
tourist transport arrangement.
Guide to Early Retirement, 5th Edition
are expecting us when we arrive off the bus.
a fairly efficient system they have going on here.
Business owners who run the water taxis know just when
the buses arrive in Independence. Transport is available
to take you straightaway to the dock, and clerks are ready to take
your BZDs and throw your gear into the boat.
times and prices are posted
relatively pleasant 35-minute boat ride takes you to
right to Placencia.
This is Main Street
more cutesy and tourist attractive than Punta Gorda,
Placencia is a typical Caribbean flavored gem-of-a-town.
peninsula rather than an island, the attitude is still
distinctively Island time.
lyrics from the ever present Reggae music:
"Here I am on island time
Here I am on my ganga farm
Here I am smokin’ and tokin’
Here I am on island time…"
Dat's deep Mon. Lots of tinkin' went into writin' dis
Brilliant colored clapboard houses built on small stilts
in the sand are the norm.
Placencia has just about anything you might want :
Internet, a table, a bicycle... What more do you need?
The Adventurer's Guide to
Tatch Restaurant daily specials
Tatch has internet available for their patrons and their
specials change daily. For $10BZD you will receive a
huge tasty portion. Hamburgers, foot long burritos and
other mains are available. We especially recommend their
conch fritters and their fish fingers.
you hear the Reggae music in the background?
DeTatch's famous fish fingers
is a typical lunch main with fish fingers, potato salad,
red beans with coconut rice and fried plantains. Prices
are affordable and you won't go hungry.
lone palm, a single beach chair
though Placencia was gearing up for a holiday week, one
could still find the enviable beach prize of peace under
Lydia's Guest House
first hotel was booked solid for the coming week so we
had to find other lodging. This initial minor chafe
brought us to finding one of the best deals on the
peninsula: Lydia's Guest House.
Staying here was like staying with Aunt Bea. Even though
we all had to share bathrooms, they were huge,
immaculate and there were no shortages of them.
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Included in the price of $50BZD per night was maid service, wifi
access, view of the sea, kitchen privileges, and
purified drinking water.
Laundry was extra, but at least one did not have to
carry it to town for cleaning.
Placencia's Post Man
offers single cabins for rent behind this guest house.
They are so popular that they are often rented out one year ahead!
you see Placencia's Post Man delivering mail to the
residents of Main Street. For the most part, one can
walk or ride a bicycle just about anywhere on the
Another look at Main Street
told us that this paved walkway is called a "jealousy
sidewalk." Generally, there is room for one person at a
time going each way on the walkway. A man will follow behind
his wife and when they greet other residents of the
town, he can tell by the enthusiasm of the greeting from
another man to his wife if his marriage is in danger.
the "Olden Days" people would wheelbarrow their
groceries and supplies to their home from the center of
concrete sidewalk was a major improvement in the
lives of the locals.
Placencia's famous beach
This beach has to be the quietest beach we have ever
been on. There is no lapping of waves, no jet skis
or motor boats, no blaring radios and the only
sounds are of the wind and the birds. It is so calm
that you can hear conversations people are having
who are several houses away. If someone drops a tool
or is using a hammer you can easily pick up the
activity wafting on the breeze.
It was here that a Rasta Mon approached us and began
an unusual conversation. His name was Jason, but
everyone called him "Service."
"What kind of service do you give, ...um...
Service?" Billy inquired.
between me and di udder person," Service replied. "I be
lookin' for a sweet white girl now."
"Why would the color of her skin matter? Isn't that,
um.. sort of ... well,... racist?" Billy
"Nah, Mon, it ain't di skin, it's di way de body
is, di way di mine tinks." Service assured us.
A man who appreciates a woman's mind, I'm reflecting
to myself, digging my toes into the loose sand...)
Then Service turns to me and lays on the charm. Startled
by this twist of events and a bit annoyed as well, I let
um... "Service" know that "dis sweet white girl"
was sweet on her husband, and wasn't interested in going
realize that some Cougars would have appreciated this
attention, but as for me, I think his name should have
walked everywhere in Placencia and on weekends there
were home style restaurants set up right by this Wisdom
Tree. During the holiday, some restaurants closed, but
that is the time the family restaurants opened up.
had some local Creole style shrimp for $10BZD and stew
chicken for $7BZD. The meals came with stew beans
and white rice, cole slaw and the best fried plantain we
had ever eaten. It's a really good value and was great
fun socializing with the locals - who seemed surprised
that some tourists would come and eat at one of their
Airline ticket house and tee shirt store
was probably a one story home on stilts with the lower
shop built on at a later time. Houses on the bottom
floor can be flooded out when the ocean rises in large
storms. While this does not happen frequently, these
floods cause a great deal of damage when they do. Most
people live in the upstairs section of their homes.
Placencia's Post Office and Social Security building
population of Placencia in low season is about 600.
During holidays and high season it can reach a couple of
thousand. For 600 people this Post Office and SS Office
fills the need just fine.
purchased some stamps here as a gift for a stamp
collecting relative. They were gorgeous.
Adventurer's Guide to the Possible Dream
Prices and types of tours are listed on the chalk board
Brightly colored buildings liven up the scenery and is
typical of the Caribbean. As you can see, houses and stores are built
right on the sand.
men shoot the breeze and exchange stories at the
intersection of Ol' Wife and Main.
We never found "New
Wife Road" by the way...
Perez's Fruit Stand
David's place had better fruits and vegetables than most
other places in town. Their prices were reasonable, but
the best deal was a fruit and vegetable truck that would
come daily and park on the side of the road. They might
not have every variety, but their prices were far
better. If you have access to a refrigerator, just load up
on the fresh goodness and enjoy!
ocean is the life in Belize
People generally come to Belize to snorkel, scuba dive
or go boating.
People speak English here, which many tourists find to
be a benefit, and if you enjoy the life of the sea you
might have found your paradise.
Enjoying the sea breeze at Yoli's
favorite hangout of yachties and the local expat
community, Yoli's bar/restaurant is perched on stilts
out in the shallow sea. It's a great place for relaxin',
eatin' and havin' a Belikin beer.
lunch we had some fresh Kingfish which was just awesome.
All of our books lead
to adventure. Don't miss out on yours!
If you sail, dive, snorkel, fish
or drink, then Belize is a great place for you.
di island life Mon, and if you are looking for mental
and cultural stimulation you may need to go elsewhere.
You could bring it here, but then... you might forget
where you put it.
Between the humidity, the laid back atmosphere, and the
total lack of complexity, we found it to be fairly
Brainless in Belize. Ambition was a scarce commodity.
beach chair is waiting for you...
105 Day Adventure by moving on to Belize's
largest caye, Ambergris.
you don't want to miss
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