Central America: Belize
January 4, 2007
Dear Family and Friends,
I am sitting on the shaded breezy terrace of the Running W. Steakhouse & Restaurant at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, up the steep hill from the town of San Ignacio in western Belize. I enjoy the buffet breakfast of orange juice, freshly scrambled eggs, Johnny cakes (flour, yeast, salt, slightly hard), Creole buns (slightly sweet with cinnamon), watermelon, papaya and robust Belizean coffee. The staff is friendly and attentive.
Beyond the railing of the balcony are green treetops of the surrounding jungle. Indeed, the tag line of the hotel brochure reads, "The only jungle in town." A few birds flit about and on a ledge just below my table. Wish Will, the hotel´s mascot suns himself under the cloudless Centro American sky.
For his breakfast, Wish Will gulps a few large chunks of ripe papaya. Didn't his mother teach him to chew before swallowing? Wish Will of course is a three foot (1m) spiny iguana who along with his family and friends lives here comp at the hotel.
Below and to my right is an all-weather tennis court (in this heat?). To my left, a cool blue swimming pool and chaise lounges and the traditional Belizean Rest-stop - two, red, cloth hammocks that await my tired Belizean buns after five days of non-stop travel.
Stanley, my favorite taxi driver in Cayo takes me seven miles out of town to the ancient city of Xunantunich (soo-nahn-too-neech). First we must take a little ferry across the river. One car at a time. The ferryman hand cranks a steel cable that stretches from bank to bank. A long spiny orange iguana makes his way from a tree above to the river bank.