Punta Gorda, Belize

After having spent nearly two weeks in Belize, living in jungle like conditions with none of the amenities of modern day life, my group of five explorers and two guides were looking forward to what our travel agent recommended to us as a modern resort with sandy beaches, a Chinese restaurant, and excellent rooms.

As we entered town, I began to have suspicions regarding how nice this hotel was really going to be. There wasn’t anything I saw that lead me to believe that a 5 star resort loomed over the horizon. Still hoping against hope, we all looked forward to spending 2 nights in a real hotel.

Suddenly the van stopped, here we were. The hotel Miramarr, the place was a dump. A big two story building with bars on all the windows. There was a Chinese restaurant, however I’m not sure in what century it was last cleaned. Everyone looked in horror, we were going to spend two nights here?

Looking glaringly at the driver he replied,”I didn’t know, I haven’t been here for ten years, it was bad the last time I came, no one comes here.” Come to find out the travel agent hadn’t been here either, she was just referring to some brochure she had seen. (must have been published by the local Chamber of Commerce.)

Since this was the only place in town,and either sleeping here or on the ground in the jungle were our only choices, we began to unload the van. The driver was going home to a warm clean bed. Immediately after checking in, an ascent up an outside stairway to our second story rooms was necessary. Entering our room required unlocking 2 locks, and I noticed that there were four locks on our inside door, makes one feel real secure. Bars over the windows and barking dogs greeted us, this is going to be quite a night.

All of this traveling and opulence had made everyone hungry, making our way to the restaurant and passing through the bar we found several British soldiers passing the time by getting soused, can’t say I blame them. We had passed by their barracks on the way into town, the barracks were situated below the road and due to the extremely wet conditions the men were walking around in mud all day. I wondered what they had done to deserve being stationed here,it must have been pretty bad. The troops acted as if they had been lost at sea for months and we had come to rescue them.

The restaurant turned out to be a buffet,observing the condition of the food I quickly realized that it would not be a good idea to eat any vegetables,so my dinner consisted of whatever meat I could scrounge up and beer. (The bread was extremely stale, could have been used as a hockey puck.)

We had traveled all this way to visit Lubanaantum, the pyramid where Helen Mitchell-Hedges had discovered the crystal skull many years before. Tomorrow should be interesting.

With all four locks on the door locked , the windows barred and dogs barking we retired for a peaceful nights sleep. It was then I detected a stench from the garbage below, placing my hand over my mouth and nose I drifted off to dream land.

Arising early , a restaurant was found across the street where an enjoyable breakfast was devoured. After a short ride to Lubanaantum, the van was parked along side the road and the half mile trek to the pyramid began, making our way up a one lane mud road walking among cows and mud puddles we arrived at the site. Much work is being done and the site should be restored soon. It is interesting with a great view from the top,one is able to see the Gulf of Mexico.

Before returning to our luxury suites, a decision was made to try some of the local cuisine at a road side food stand, excellent choice!! Tomorrow we would be heading north for one more day in Belize, than back to the good old USA.

It had been an eventful 2 weeks, much had been learned of the Mayan culture and the way of life in Belize. They have a lot going for them , and I look for the country to change a lot in the next several years, as I was told they desperately want to improve their lot in life and all they want from us is our advice and knowledge, they don’t want our money. How I wish more countries felt that way.

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