Wednesday, January 28, 2015

1-27-2015 Road Trip to Belmopan

So, we needed to make a trip to Belmopan for an errand.  Word gets around here, and we learn that two friends also had things to do in Belize's capital city.  It is about an hour and a half drive there, and people regularly carpool here, so suddenly it was a road trip!  We left early in the morning, ran errands all day, and got back at dark.

The drive on the Hummingbird Highway is beautiful.  (Cara didn't have her camera in the right mode, so that's why you see
that ghost effect on the tree.)

The highway takes you through the mountains - an incredible sight.

The mountain jungles are dense and lush.

This concrete building in Belmopan (housing a pharmacy and other businesses) is typical of construction throughout Belize.

This is one of many areas of the Market in Belmopan.  (Market days are Tuesdays and Fridays.)

We ate lunch at some food stalls by the Market.  Eric had a meal of fish, beans & rice, salad and green bananas.

After Belmopan we continued on to the Mennonite town of Spanish Lookout.  Apparently, there is actually a sizeable Mennonite population in the country, and it's because of them that fresh milk and cheese are readily available throughout Belize.

We stopped at Farmers Trading Company, which is kind of like the Belizean/Mennonite version of Wal-mart.

We all found plenty of things we needed here, including some things we didn't know we needed until we saw them.

Yuri had to stop here for some car parts. This is definitely one of the most "modern" buildings we've seen here in Belize.

Right by the car parts store was this gas station that the rest of us explored.  In addition to the standard gas station
convenience store, this place had a restaurant that is hugely popular with the Mennonites, musical instruments, phones &
phone accessories, sporting goods (including snorkeling gear, of course), gym equipment, electronics, small kitchen
appliances, and MUCh more!  Janet got a toaster here, and we came out with a cold drink and a hummingbird feeder.

We stopped at Western Dairies for a treat of ice cream.  Their drive-thru (the first we've seen here) was closed due to this
construction.  Quite the expansion - they must be doing well.

The highways in Belize are really more like the countryside County Roads in the U.S.  The roads have no shoulder, no
lighting, and many of the bridges are one-lane.  In addition, there are no stop lights or stop signs, and you are likely to
encounter several pedestrians, dogs, and people on bicycles.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

1-19-2015 A Day of Exploration and Eating

For Terry and Trish's last day here (this trip) they made reservations for lunch at Miss Emma's Garden & Nursery.  The
restaurant is in the downstairs of this building.

The nursery is Miss Emma's main business, but if you make reservations you can enjoy a fabulous meal, and nine of us did.

First course: salad (including starfruit)

Second course: fried chicken and shrimp (most people didn't realize there was another course coming)

Cara's vegetarian main course, and that's fresh passion fruit juice in the glass - delicious!

Main course

Dessert: banana cake

After lunch Miss Emma was nice enough to take us on  tour of her garden.

A glimpse of the mango orchard (with 300 trees)

On the left is a papaya tree that is only about a year old, and already bearing fruit.

Miss Emma's garden is large and lovely, and had all kinds of plants that were new to us.

Not sure what this spiky tree is

Apparently part of the eggplant family, Miss Emma called these "young girl boobies" and held them up to her chest to
illustrate - lol.  The leaves also have large spikes on them.

Miss Emma with a Chinese tulip (if I remember correctly)

Twisting cactus

Royal palm trees (just 10 years old)

"Chinese Firecracker" tree

"Big Belly" palm tree

Cara liked the cute homemade sign for "Emma's Garden"

On our way back we stopped at the town of Maya Centre for some chocolate and more exploring.

We hiked down to the beautiful river that runs by the village.

This is where the Mayan women wash their clothes.

It was the first time for several of us to see a toucan.

Four of us had a late dinner - another fabulous four course meal at Chef Rob's Gourmet Cafe.

Instead of bread Cara and Sabrina got a cheese and olive plate with pesto sauce.

Eric and Mark enjoyed Shrimp Bisque.

Cara and Sabrina got a special (and delicious) gluten-free soup.

Watermelon salad with pear vinaigrette

Eric's fresh Grouper with ginger cantaloupe sauce

Cara's amazing vegetarian meal

Pineapple crepe with ice cream

Cara and Sabrina got gluten-free version -  delicious ice cream with fresh pineapple.