Sunday, 18 October 2015

Can you Belize it?

Rhonda on the coast
Belize may as well be on a different continent to the rest of Central America. As soon as you cross the border, everything changes.

Formerly know as British Honduras, Belize became a Crown Colony in 1862, and changed its name in 1973. Belize was given full independence from Great Britain in 1981. It still carries the Queen's Head on its coins today.

The mostly Afro- Caribbean descended population, speak with a Jamaican accent, and speak both English and Kriol (an English based language). It's a tiny country, with a big personality and a lot of history, which is clearly evident in its present culture.

Humming Bird Highway
Having crossed the border with ease, I took to the Humming Bird Highway. A road that twists and turns through the lush rain-forest that covers a large portion of the country. 95 miles later, I had crossed the entire width of Belize, and had arrived at its famously beautiful coastline. I pointed Rhonda towards a small town called Hopkins. It seemed like as good a place as any, and I was hopeful that I would find a fairly quiet community, with little tourism. I was not disappointed.

All smiles from the locals
As I rode into town I was greeted with many calls of 'Nice bike!', and big smiles.  A few brief chats and a few enquiries later, I found myself at a small lodge called Kismit. I had been told I may find myself a cheap bungalow here and a safe place for the bike (I'd been warned not to camp). It was so much easier than usual to get information because, of course, they spoke English and there was certainly no shortage of help on offer. I felt welcomed into this small town as soon as I laid tread on it's dusty roads.

Sergio the pig with attitude
I was greeted  by a New Yorker called Trish, and a big pet pig, who I would quickly discover, was called Sergio. Sergio was 8 months old and growing at the rate of knots! He had a bit of an attitude (like most teenagers) and could bite when in a bad mood. Not completely unaccustomed to pigs, I quickly found his soft spot, and a quick scratch on the back was all it took to bring him down! He was a big softy really!

Trish offered me a bungalow right on the water front for a good rate. As she was showing me the place, I noticed it had a sign above the door saying 'Kit and Bob's Place'. I told Trish that this used to be the name of my cat and dog and said 'It's clearly meant to be'. She laughed and said 'Guess what Kismit means', I looked puzzled and so she filled me in on the joke ' It means - It's meant to be'. That was it! Sold to the rather sweaty looking lady in the black pants and big boots!

Elvis with his catch
Later that day I met the two dogs - BB King and Taboo. Then I met Trish's husband - Elvis. Trish had been living here for 17 years, eventually marrying a local and building this little haven, set within the palm trees on its own tiny stretch of Caribbean coast. Trish and Elvis turned out to be a right old pair! They reminded me of a black Ozzie Ozbourne and Sharon! The banter between them, the permanent, slightly dazed-and-confused look on Elvis' face, the animals all over the place and the chaos that somehow - just worked! Trish (Sharon) was clearly in charge here and without her, the whole place would have fallen down long ago. Her attitude reminded me of a sticker my sister used to have on her bedroom door - 'This may look a mess but you don't understand my system!'. Elvis, who liked his drink (as so many of the locals do) and was mostly drunk, was actually a very good fisherman and came back most days with lobster or something equally as tasty. Trish would take the offerings and turn it into something delicious, having owned restaurants and written a cook book in a past life.  We would all enjoy a meal together around the big wooden table every night, along with a rum and coke to wash it down. We played cards and shared stories. Trish and Elvis were certainly a colourful couple! The only annoying thing here, was the minute mosquitos that ate you alive. You can't even see them most of the time. You just feel them bite and after 2 days, I was completely covered in extremely itchy red lumps! There is always a price to pay for paradise!

Trish in her kitchen
Joining us around the table was a Norwegian guy called Frank and his son Chris. They had started an overland journey from the U.S just 8 weeks earlier. Frank in a 4x4 and Chris on a Honda XR650. When Chris had announced he was going to take this journey, Frank - having done a fair bit of travelling before - had insisted he come along too. There was no way he was missing out on the fun. Frank didn't feel confident enough to take two wheels though, and so, between them, they took six! Sometimes they would loose each other, sometimes for days at a time, but it was working, in a fashion! It did't matter, as long as they met up somewhere along the road, at some point! They planned to ride down to Argentina over the coming months and so I shared any information that they might find useful and vice verca - as all good ovelanders do!  We all parted company with Kismit and it's crazy mix of inhabitants the next day. I left later than the boys, with only a vague idea of where I was planning to go. I changed my mind at the first junction and turned right instead of left.

Me and Chris with our Hondas
A few miles down the road I bumped into Chris and Frank again, and so we rode to the border of Guatemala together. Once again we said goodbye, but the next day, more change of plans from both parties, and we ended up in the same place again - Flores! There was nothing else for it - we would just have to have another beer together that night and figure out just who was following who!

The next day we would head out together. A day that would turn into a long ride, and a great adventure. Just the way we like it!


  1. Hi Steph,
    I don't always get the chance to read your blog, but when I do I am always entertained and more than a tad jealous.
    Be happy.
    Peace and love,

    1. Thanks White Knight! :)
      Glad you're enjoying it when you can.

  2. I'm taking notes... it's incomprehensible to me that anyone could follow your adventures without wanting one of their own. Thanks, Steph!

    1. Ha ha! You're welcome John. Looking forward to seeing you make it happen xxx

  3. Hi Steph, your stories have preceeded you for months of people mentioning to me on my way south about some woman named steph on a crf250l. I'm currently in Mexico City for a few months, if you're coming this way, get in touch. Place for the bike and somewhere to sleep. I'm sure it'll work out :)

    1. Thanks Neil. Not sure I will make the city but who knows. I'll give you a shout if I do. Currently on the pacific coast in a place called Zipolite.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. That's great to hear! It's surprisingly nice weather here up at this elevation, I almost died down there by the coast! :P Safe travels and keep the punny titles coming along!

  4. Was in Caye Caulker last winter and it was lovely. Did some trips to the mainland as well: Just got back from the Philippines last week after being there for about a month? Any plans on heading that way?

    1. I missed the Philippines sadly. Went through Malaysia and Indonesia last year.

  5. What you will eat here is completely straight from the ocean crisp fish, which was in the water that day, and neighborhood hamburger and chicken of good quality. belize resort