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Day Thirteen: Placencia, Belize – Hopkins, Belize

Submitted by on Thursday, 19 February 2009No Comment

Day Thirteen
Placencia, Belize – Hopkins, Belize
35 miles

Stefano picked us up in his boat (which was kind of rustic and not the same one he had shown us the previous day) to go the cays and snorkeling.
He stopped in the middle of the ocean and dove off looking for our lunch. He started bringing conch. I remembered the guy from the TV show “Bizarre foods” eating it but I wasn’t really sure what we were doing with it yet I made a comment on the boat to the three other passengers. One of them asked: What is this for? – Have you seen the show Bizarre Foods? Now you are in it.
The sky was overcast and it was raining but it didn’t matter. On the way Stefano cracked the conch and pull the meat out of it and put it in a bowl. He let me try raw and much to my surprise it was sweet with a potato-like texture.
Some of the conch meat came out with a long, stringy, transparent appendix which Stefano would quickly put on his mouth and sucked it like a spaghetti string. “What is that?” Lloyd asked. –The penis.
We went to Laughing Bird Cay National Park were I saw fantastic sea life. Stefano prepared the conch with spices and lemon much like ceviche and steamed coconut rice. I cracked some coconuts with my kukri knife and we had an amazing Caribbean lunch.
The way to mainland was very bumpy due to the rough seas. Every wave seemed like a rollercoaster and the fiberglass boat sounded like it was going to snap in half. We sat on out life jackets to preserve our spine on the bumpy ride.
As soon as we got to the shore we packed and suited up ready to leave to Hopkins. The bikes were buried in the soft sand. Trying to get them out was hard. At some point they didn’t move an inch. “Do you have the breaks on?” Lloyd said tome almost mad. “No it’s in neutral.”
I had put on my rain suit and I was sweating heavily after the ordeal.  It looked like a storm was coming and we had twenty plus miles of dirt road before the highway. We passed cars and trucks maneuvering through the roads.
Hopkins was relatively close and the entrance to the town was about a few miles of dirt road. It was getting dark and I started pushing it again. I was doing about 60mph when I tried to pass an SUV. He started racing me.
I sped up and suddenly fifty feet in front of me there was an overpass with space for one vehicle only. I reached for my breaks and did a panic stop. My ABS breaks didn’t lock my wheels but I still had a lot of speed. My rear tire lost traction, swinging side to side. I tried to regain my balance putting my feet on the same side of the leaning bike.
I had three choices: crash in the ditch, crash on the overpass or crash against the truck. I didn’t have time to think and I gassed the bike to gain control and to try to pass first. The truck realizing I had no control, stopped a few feet short of the bridge and let me pass. It basically spared my life.
It was my fault. I was speeding on an unknown dirt road. Yet the driver was a jerk too. When we got to town he passed and honked. I honked back. My heart rate didn’t miss a beat. I wasn’t scared.
We found a place to stay “Tanya’s Guesthouse”. A real amicable lady to deal with but didn’t back down when I tried to bargain on the room prices. She pointed us out to the local restaurant where we experienced “Garifuna” culture at its best.
Our waitress was a Garifuna or Afro-Caribbean descent. She was a heavy black woman, soft spoken; flirtatious who recited the menu like it was a poem.

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