Ambergris Caye is not wide but it is long. From one end to the other, head to toes, is over twenty eight miles.
San Pedro Town is in the middle of the island and holds most of the business and population. The island’s one improved road, to the south and north,is functional. Once off the pavement though, small tributary roads are potholed, dirt, muddy in wet weather, often difficult to navigate.
As you walk south or north,homes become more private, isolated, and there is more open landscape between them. There are resorts all along the main road and some accommodations have ” Beware of Dogs ” signs on their front gates, security cameras and barbed wire, swimming pools, tall fences you can’r pull down or climb over. These expensive Caribbean bungalows are nestled next to bare wood shacks where a single electric pole runs twentieth century technology to seventeenth century shacks to keep a refrigerator and lights running.
Along the bike ride. I hit a place called ” Hotel California ” that makes me hum the Eagle’s top hit. There are plenty of escapees from cuckoo California in Belize. Californians like to run but they always bring their state, and it’s ideas, with them.
A sign on the Hotel California’s fence says, ” Trespassers will be shot first, and then shot again if they survive. ”
At the end of this bike ride is a knot of construction men digging a hole with shovels and a backhoe to install PVC pipe to hold electric wires that will supply electric to a future gated community for escapees from America and Europe.
In paradise, someone still has to mop floors, fix broken pipes, babysit, build, take care of the needs of people with money from abroad.
On the ride back to Chez Caribe on my borrowed bike, I visit the Marcos Gonzalez archeological site, going back thousands of years. The world has been full of people for a long time and people still don’t clean up after themselves, leaving clues behind about what they were up too. Going from this site to Hotel California is an incomprehensible leap in time and technology, lifestyle and mindset.
I hide my bike in the bushes because I don’t want it to disappear.
A bicycle in Belize is a poor man’s Cadillac and plenty of poor people would borrow this one for free if they had an opportunity.
Taking precautions might be tedious, but I don’t want to walk home and have to explain a bad outcome..
I doubt the residents of Marcos Gonzalez were any more honest than those in San Pedro town today.