Terrible night’s sleep. I don’t really mind the sounds of the jungle. Crickets, the odd bird, maybe the sound of the occasional unidentified eight-legged, two-headed monster rampaging across the land to make menacing noises outside my window. But last night, when it rained in the early hours of the morning, it was loud. So many broad leaves on the trees and plants make for a lot of water-hitting-surface noises. And at dawn, there seemed to be a particularly insistant bird outside my room. No matter how much I wished it to happen, he just wouldn’t hit the snooze button. Between those two things, you can add a bad dream that left me wide awake in the dark for over an hour, mulling over the dream’s contents and the real life consequences of my interactions with the real person in the dream, and the real and dreamworld aftermaths. All in all, it left me knackered.
Piled into the car, we took a winding trip south to what on my not-overly-detailed map looks like the closest village to the southern border. A place called Barranco. Passing through a couple of Mayan villages which pretty much only had wooden houses with roofs thatched from palm leaves. Chickens, pigs, dogs and smiley children along the roadside. The road—a dirt track—came to an end near a messy bunch of houses: some wooden, some concrete. At the one tiny store—essentially a counter, where one can order a Coke or beer—an old fella in flip flops, baggy red shorts, an orange t-shirt, and a floppy green hat beckoned us. He introduced himself as Harvey. He was, apparently, a former policeman and “Belize’s Bill Cosby.” He was also seemingly a tad drunk. He anointed himself as a tour guide, albeit a slow slow guide that took about two hours to walk around a village with less people living there than can fit in one subway car. It was a dire place. They had electricity, but how the hell anyone earns a living there I don’t know. Virtually no sign of crops being grown. There was a small pier, though, so maybe fishing goes on.
Harvey told us that the world Bible is an acronym: Basic information before leaving earth.
He took us to the Barranco House of Culture. We paid the $5 entry fee to walk around a room about the size of a minivan. It was full of faded photos, wooden tools, and some records and tapes. There were a few pictures of a singer called Andy Palacio who was, so I’m told, quite famous. Later in the tour, after being guilted into buying coconut cookies for a dollar a pop by some woman who saw us walking by and ran out of her home with a Tupperware box, we stopped by the cemetery to see Andy Palacio’s grave. His gravestone was marble. A quick scan around at the other graves, and there were nailed together crosses with names painted on them. So he was clearer one of the better-off Barranco people.
Back at the cottages and it was time for some much needed relaxation. Stop! Hammock time. Lying there, reading, with one of the cottage cats on my belly.
Of the four cats that live here, one of them, a wee kitty, went missing. Wasn’t around at food time, either. And as I type this last paragraph on Friday morning is still missing. Poor kitty.