Barranco and long trip to Guatemala (August 25-26)

September 11, 2006  
Topics: Belize

Friday, 25 August

The sun was shining and the mood was good. We continued our trip to Barranco village. We got rides from one village to another, and the last 15 km we decided to cover by bus, which was passing by.

Barranco in Spanish means “valley”. First people here moved few hundred years ago. Now this village has one of the oldest Garifuna communities in the country. Several years ago there were about 300 inhabitants living here, but today a lot of houses are abandoned as young people are moving to bigger towns where it is easier for them to find jobs.

Once we got out of the bus, we turned into one of the streets. Soon we approached a small shop with two senior people warmly inviting us to sit together with them on the bench in front of the shop. We had a very nice and happy conversation with both of them. They were interested about our origin, and we were giving questions about the village and Garifuna people. Unfortunately the atmosphere changed when they asked “Where are you going to stay?” Hoping for a help, we explained that we will have to search for a place where we could pitch our tent. “Oh, the tent… Well, we have a room with two beds for rent… but we don’t know where you could place a tent…” – our new friends were a little bit disappointed. From that moment they did not show any interest in us. All new questions we asked got a very poor response. We had nothing else than to say good-bye and continue tour through Barranco. The first impression of the village was happy, but at the same time sad…

In the rest of the afternoon we ate our lunch on a wooden pier in the sea and walked through the village. In general, we regret that we had no time to stay here longer than one night (our immigration stamp was expiring next day), as we met few people with whom would have been nice to spent more time.

We got permission to pitch a tent near the police station of the village. While we were preparing for the rain and fixing big sheets of plastic on the top of the tent, the police officer was wandering around and few times asking if we will be alright. When we were done with the tent preparation, the officer asked us again:
“Looks like there will be a big storm during the night. Will you be alright?”
“Oh, do not worry,” we assured him, “it is not the first time, we will survive…”
“Well, I was just thinking… If you want I could open the police office and you could stay there. I would provide everything I can…” he came with the offer.

We believed in good intentions of this man and were happy to say YES:
“Yes, sure, we would appreciate such opportunity. It would help us to keep our tent dry tomorrow early morning when we will rush for the bus at 6 am”
Unfortunately, the policeman had business in mind:
“Well… Just offer to me as much as you want… For example, the guesthouse in town charges 20 Belizean dollars…”
“Oh… thank you for your offer, but we will survive in the tent – it is not the first and not the last time to sleep during the rain… Thank you once again…” we were forced to finish money-oriented negotiations.

Saturday, 26 August

We had to wake up early, as we decided to go back to the main road by bus, which leaves at 6 am. We had to make an exception and pay for the public transport, because this day we had to leave Belize country.

From the junction on the main road, where we were dropped by bus, there were about 50 km to the village called Jalacte. Here, we knew, there is a possibility to cross border and enter Santa Cruz village in Guatemala.

The road to Jalacte had very few traffic. About three crowded buses passed us bringing people from Punta Gorda harbour town to Jalacte, where everybody rushes to Guatemala for shopping. It was very hot day. We haven’t had shower for couple of days, so we couldn’t refuse to stop to take a bath at the clear and clean river in San Antonio village, about 15 km away from Jalacte. We spent two hours enjoying the sun, the water in the river, and the food we have prepared during this short break.

At about 2.30 pm we managed to reach Pueblo Viejo village, which was the last place before our destination – Jalacte. Still about 7 km left to go, but the only car, which passed in the next 2 hours did not want to stop for us. Was getting late and we asked one family for permission to place a tent on a piece of grass near their cage for chickens.