We are in luck this morning…it is not raining yet! This will definitely make things easier for us. We pack up all of our gear and head over to Lisa and George's garage, where the bikes have been tucked away. Everything loads easily…even the new wood carving I am now caring, sometimes I can kick myself! We ride over to the only petrol station in Placencia, located by the pier where the water taxi's come in, and fill up, oil my chain, check the tires and head on out of town. We have traveled less than a mile and my body is already on overload, perspiring profusely inside my riding gear. I ignore the tickling effect from the sweat that is trickling over my skin and concentrate on the road ahead. Once we have exited the populated areas the 'speed hump or humps", as it is displayed in Belize, will disappear and I will be able to travel fast enough for the air to travel through my suit and cool me down. Until then… I'll just drip!
The scenery is gloriously amazing was we head south. The vivid colors of the countryside popped from behind my polarized lenses. Lush tropical trees, ferns, palms and grass greens, moist from a recent shower, showcased bursts of opposing placed color. Bright colored hanging laundry, flowering trees, stormy skies, roadside chickens and roosters, dogs, cats, horses, people, and thatched homes…practically everything captured your attention from the spectrum of lime greens, yellow greens, dark greens, and blue greens surrounding them.
We turned right at the "Dump", the point where the Southern Highway ends and either directs you into the jungle, or over to the coast. A right turn directed us into the jungle towards the border with Guatemala and through simple, traditional Maya villages. About 9 spectacular miles in we are pulling into the entrance of "The Farm". Kevin, the owner, Digby, the rotty/mastiff, Pec, the german shepherd, Peep, the guinea hen, and Bambi ,the deer all appear to greet us as we ride onto the property. "Welcome", greets Kevin in his South African accent. "Wow, I am so happy you are here and this is amazing…This is the first time that Bambi has come out to greet travelers!" "Believe me it is the most amazing welcome that we have received", I laugh!
"The Farm" is a working, self sustaining, off the grid chocolate farm. Kevin and his wife have previously enjoyed the marvels of the world traveling for 16 years by yacht. Kevin is humble traveler, adventure and entrepreneur, and we enjoy visiting with him. This is our first stay at a genuine "Eco" establishment and the scene is tranquil and serene. The generator runs at night for a couple of hours pumping the cool fresh water from the nearby creek to your shower and powering up the outlets so that you can charge electronics. Kevin serves you up a hardy home cooked meal that has been prepared over an open fire and is presented to you table side surrounded by the romantic ambiance of kerosene lanterns and chirping geckos. Pec, the german shepherd…funny enough Pec is Maya for dog…rests by our feet waiting to escort us back to our cabin along the tropical dark trails. Pec was even outside our cabin in the morning! After enjoying a farm style breakfast we follow Kevin as he walks us around his chocolate farm. We acquire an understanding for the chocolate growing process, learn about the medicinal flora of the area and walk some beautiful trails. This is the first time that we have hiked with guinea hen and deer in toe for over 3 kilometers! It was truly a magical experience!
We load up the bikes, take a memory shot or two and are just about to saddle up when the skies burst, pouring drum loads of rain upon us. We grab our helmets and head under cover to wait it out. Another 15 minutes of visiting time is always a great thing! As the rain clears the welcome party bids us farewell and we head towards the "Dump"…this time taking the left fork heading for the Gulf of Honduras.
We ride into Punta Gorda, meaning Fat Point and locate our accommodation on the grounds of a cemetery. Today was a very short ride, but we seem to be smelling like we have been riding for days. We unload the bikes, head up to our room, turn on the a/c and hit the shower. Refreshed, we walk into Punta Gorda Town to take a look around. Lee Wallace, a young Belizean lad befriends us as we wander. Lee Wallace has ulterior motives, he wants us to purchase some coconut tarts that his mother has freshly baked. He rides beside us on his bicycle inquisitively chatting and asking questions, we oblige loosely. We purchase 5 tarts but pay for 10 and give him an extra $10 Belizean, $5 US so he can purchase a can of spray paint to paint his bike. Lee Wallace is thrilled and hangs around now pointing out people that are "chancy" and that we should avoid! Punta Gorda is not that spectacular, really. I feel as though eyes are watching our every move. Maybe it is curiosity, maybe it is calculated. I do not feel threatened…however, we will not be walking around at night! Food choices here are a little bit of a problem. The problem is not the abundance, it is the cleanliness. Rubbish is strewn everywhere and anywhere, piles of garbage rot, ridden with insects against housing, shops and restaurants. I do not sense a community township pride happening here. I do feel like going back into the jungle and the amazing serenity of "The Farm"!