Ministerial Parking Spots and Salvadorian Grub
Belize City was formerly the capital of Belize, and is still the biggest and most important place in the country. Yet constant worries about hurricanes and war with their pesky neighbours, the Guatemalans, meant moving the capital an hour up the road to Belmopan.
Belmopan is technically the largest city in Belize. That said, when your whole country has less than 400,000 people, it’s not so big. As we were driving through the genuine capital city of a thriving nation, we decided to check out parliament and the government. Since it was Saturday no one was there, not even security. Naturally, then, we parked in the parking space of the Prime Minister of Belize! If that doesn’t rev your motor, there is something seriously wrong with you.
We also decided to do lunch here. Coming from the West it is normal now to check Trip Advisor. We swiftly found the third best restaurant in Belmopan – a Salvadorian street food diner. The address was short and to the point – “behind the fire station”. That being said the food was cheap and pretty good (overall the street food scene in Belize was pretty dammed good).
And as for Belmopan as a capital city – it’s not the most impressive in the world, but cute in a Caribbean kinda way.
Fundraising, Strippers and Nose Candy
We thus headed off for the coast in our rental car, admiring the jungle beauty until we saw what looked like a wedding on the side of the road. Being the motorboating sonofabitch that I am, I truly love crashing weddings. We stopped the car and got to crashing.
In fact it turned out not to be a wedding, but a school fundraiser. There was food everywhere, booze, and even quad bikes for the kids. The two non-drivers invested in some rum and cokes to help said school and we chatted to the friendly locals. By the time we left we were impressed by the friendliness of the Belizean people, the strength of their rum, and how fun their school fundraisers were compared to those of our childhood.
With our technically four-hour journey now running rather later than planned, we agreed that we would no longer stop the car. We even managed to drive past an establishment called “Gentleman’s Bar” that was full of friendly-looking people, such was our determination to stick to the plan. Alas, this resolve went out of the window when we saw a sign that said “Chocolate Factory next right”. The Willie Wonka in me stood to attention. We simply had to stop.
By ‘chocolate factory’, what we actually got was an American guy in a hammock selling chocolate beans, some of which he told us locals sniffed to get high. Having just come from Colombia it made me realise immediately how similar yet different cultures can be. We could, apparently, also eat the beans, so we purchased a bag of (chocolate) nose candy and headed on towards Placencia.
The next few hours were great. Belize truly has some stunning scenery, and the town of Placencia is buzzing on a Saturday night.
We took it as easy as we could, ready for a Sunday of island hopping and shopping.
If you want to know why we were in Belize, check out our link