A triple whammy today: heat, headwind and hills, but it was interesting, incredibly green, lots of waves and smiles, and being Saturday, a few enthusiastic cycle clubs ( there are so few roads here, they nearly all ride between the old capital (Belize city) and the border with Guatemala). We planned to ride to Dangriga along the Hummingbird Highway “ the prettiest road in Belize” but tomorrow is Garifuna Settlement Day, celebrating the arrival of The Garifuna in 1832 with lots of drumming, dancing and drinking, and absolutely nowhere to sleep. Lucy, an English woman managing our hotel in Belmopan told us that yes, the road is scenic but it would be crazy busy with party people and even more accidents than usual! So we pedalled west from Belmopan to San Ignacio, instead of southwest to the coast.
Usually I cycle behind Charles: I’ve lost count of the number of times I have looked back and he is gone! Besides he is really good at setting a steady pace, and when there’s a headwind he shelters me. But this morning he was behind, so when I braked at a rumble strip he wasn’t looking and ran into the back of me. I think that’s the first time he has fallen off his bike! Fortunately only superficial scrapes, and the bike is fine, the biggest injury? His pride. And being a good (guilt-trip) Catholic girl at heart I apologized lol!
We stayed in Belmopan, the 10th smallest capital city in the world (19,458 inhabitants). I think that being so very modern made it dull: the market lacked atmosphere, and the huge central areas of parkland were empty, dividing communities rather than bringing them together.
But San Ignacio is a vibrant bustling market town nestled in the hills 25km from Guatemala. The buildings almost tumble down the hillsides, chaotic but cared for. I like it here. Maybe the rum tour helped, with a lovely friendly couple who manage our excellent hotel. Food is great, people are varied, but united by noise and banter. We haven’t stayed anywhere like this before.