Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Belize City

I arrived in Punta Gorda after a blistering speedboat ride from Puerto Barrios and was welcomed by an immigration official in warm Belizian english, which was a bit of a culture shock after a month of struggling with Spanish.

Unfortunately, I discovered that recent political unrest in Belize (protests against government corruption and mismanagement) had included the telephone and water workers going on strike, and the electricity supply being disrupted. As a result, Punta Gorda had no running water and was expecting rolling blackouts during the night. I considered the prospect of trying to sleep without a shower or a fan in the 90' heat and then enquired about means of getting out of town.

Apparently the last bus has left, but there was still a flight to Placencia which at first I was told was BZ $30 but it turned out to be US $30. In any case, it was well worth it as I got to sit in the right seat next to the pilot of the Cessna Caravan and see the incredibly short landing at Placencia from up close.

It was then that I was informed that the water shortage was a problem nationwide, but fortunately the hostel I stayed at in Placencia had a rainwater storage tank that supplied one of their showers which was still working.

The next morning I took a quick trip up to Mango Creek in a water taxi and then a 4 hour sweaty busride to Belize City.

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