Happy Garifuna!

Riding south after some great R&R at Casa de Tortuga, I crossed into Belize and found myself in Orange Walk during the national holiday Garifuna. The town was abandoned (everybody goes elsewhere to celebrate) and the weather was bad. Tired, hungry, and lonely, I consoled myself with copious amounts of baked goods from Panificadora Popular which, thank god, was indeed open on this public holiday. Later, inside my overpriced and Spartan hotel, I met Ben from California and Nike from Czech Republic. I quickly latched onto their company like a leech, and pretended they liked having me around. Ben and I even shared a six-pack to celebrate Garifuna.
The next afternoon saw me arrive at the ruins of Altun Ha, down a rough stretch of the old Northern Highway. The guards at the park kindly offered to keep an eye on my bike inside the gate while I explored the ruins. As soon as I entered, a vendor named Keith offered me a place to sleep for the night! So, I spent the afternoon trying to help him sell CocaCola and water (I do wonder if I actually
scared away potential customers), and chatting with his sons and brother-in-law. That evening we relaxed at Keith’s place, listening to the rain and drinking the local brew (which features the ruins I had climbed that day in their logo). My abode was a stilted cabana with a thatched roof. Thanks Keith!
Onward to Belmopan, Belize’s capital city. My CouchSurfing host, Claire, from Australia, gave me a warm welcome, a washing machine, a refreshing shower, a hearty home-cooked meal, and a comfy bed. And, most enjoyably, good conversation! After a deep and restful sleep and plenty of fruit and coffee in the morning, I decided to leave the bicycle at Claire’s and head to the ruins of Tikal, Guatemala, by bus. IMG_0635.JPG

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