At the end of our Mopan River tubing voyage, we were picked up at the Clarissa Falls Hotel by the Trek Stop's pickup truck. There were two guys in the cab and a little girl in the box of the truck, so, along with our tubes, Sue and I hopped in the back with her to enjoy the sunshine and breezes on the 4 or 5 mile drive back. It turned out that 6-year old Geneveva, in her school uniform with frilly socks and pink sneakers, was the driver's daughter and had just been picked up from school. We were surprised when she began to chat away with us in perfect English with not the least bit of shyness (she said that her parents make her speak it even at home because it is really good to know more than just one language).
She sang the songs for learning your 'ABCDs' and 'Twinkle Twinkle', but with different words than we are used to in both cases. We showed her a trick way of using your hands and fingers to make a church with a steeple and the people inside it. She really loved that and repeated it over and over.
It was not long after we were back at our cabana getting freshened up, that she came running down to help Sue with some small bits of laundry. Geneveva also had a great time 'helping' with the make-up session. It seemed that we had made a friend on our drive back because she came down to see us on the subsequent days when she was brought to the Trek Stop by her parents! We sent her a card with this photo in it, as well as some small games after we returned to Canada.
The day after we arrived at the Trek Stop, we asked the Belizian lady (Flora), who prepared meals in the kitchen, what was our best option to get our 13 days of laundry seen to. She said it was no problem to have one of the villagers in San Jose Succotz take care of it (US$6) and she would look after the details for us. That was great, so we brought our pile to her in a plastic bag and she sent it off into town, with a promise that it would be returned by the next morning. Later, as we walked along the highway in the village on our way to the Mayan ruins of Xunantunich, we could not help but notice a happy group of villagers doing their (or was it ours?) laundry at the edge of the Mopan River! In the distance you can glimpse a part of one of the sets of rapids on this river that we braved while on our tubing trip. As promised, the laundry was returned by 7 AM the next morning and, although a little damp, it soon dried out in the sunshine on our cabana's clothesline.
Roads in Belize vary in quality. In the dry season the roads aren't too bad. In the rainy season it might be more of a problem. We often saw Amish people on the various roads. They deliver farm produce, and we were also behind a delivery of a building on the Southern Highway.
When we went on the Humingbird Highway, it was only half paved, with quite ragged edges. It may have a better surface now.
Mountain Pine Ridge had unpaved roads, and some interesting signs. We decided that the dangerous curve signs didn't mean a really sharp turn, but a turn with rocks/potholes around the corner. Also saw signs which said "Pin Curve" and "Hidden Slope".
Lan Sluder writes: "A few roads, such as the newly completed Hummingbird Highway, and resurfaced sections of the Western Highway are very good indeed, among the best in all of Central America and the equal of any rural road in the U.S. or Canada. We have to remember that not too many years ago the Western Highway was unpaved, the Hummingbird was a nightmare of potholes.
MOUNTAIN PINE RIDGE ROAD ...On a recent visit, the road from San Ignacio was in better shape than the route from Georgeville, but this varies depending on when the roads are scraped. Even in good weather in a good vehicle, don't expect to average more than 20 or 25 mph on this road ... A reward: I have never seen so many butterflies in Belize as I've seen on this road, and the scenery in many spots is lovely. After a heavy rain, the limestone dirt can be very slick and dangerous, and clay areas even more so
Overall Road Condition: Fair to Very Poor
Paved Section: 0%
Gas Availability: None
Believe it or not, there is a sizeable Amish community in Belize. On our way to Barton Creek, we passed through an Amish farm. Though it is tempting, refrain from photographing these people because they find photography offensive. The Amish shun technology and live a simple life.