Monday, May 28, 2012

Wild Night Out

Friday, May 25

Woke up at Hidden Valley Inn. I checked my work email account for the first time all week and had a LOT of urgent messages by people wanting me to stop by their office to sign something etc. Replying to those took a while. I attached some of the photos I've blogged here so people know that I really was out of pocket at the moment.

Ate breakfast, then packed up. Checked out of my lovely cottage DSCN0375

and paid my bill at the front desk. They asked when I would be coming back and I let them know as soon as I could. But likely not for a few months.

Spent the rest of the morning reviewing data with my colleague: DSCN0381

Our research may look exciting, but 99% of it is tedious and painstaking. I tend not to blog about that, but it constitute the vast majority of time spent.

I then said my goodbyes and drove down the road. Checked out at Mai Gate and chatted with the gate-keeper. Then continued on to Moonracer. Had a nice visit with them and ate a bowl of delicious soup.

What would a visit to Belize be without taking in the awe and wonder of a classic Maya ruin? Pacbitun was on my way, and I had not been there in a few years. It is not marked but I know the way down a narrow dirt road to the central plaza.

I took a few snapshots, of the main pyramid: DSC_0075

And of a broken stelae: DSC_0077

Some work was in progress to prepare Pacbitun for the 2012 celebration. Vegetation was being cleared and burned in a fire. However, I saw flames and smoke but no people or tools at the site.

I also too a short video. It basically consists of me turning 360o in the main plaza to show the structures on each side:

From Pacbitun, I continued on through the village of San Antonio. Down through Christo Rey village to Santa Elena. Turned right onto the Western highway. Drove through Central Farm and continued east. Getting low on fuel, but continued to Belmopan. Parked at the Hibiscus Hotel Hibiscus Hotel entrance

My room (#6) was very nice. King-sized bed, and a giant LCD television on the wall. I took a shower and headed up to Corkers for a light dinner of breaded and fried fish fingers. Quite tasty, and a terrific texture to the batter. Drank some cokes, then walked around Belmopan a bit. I have really only been there to change buses and not seen it by foot.

After dark, I walk over to the British High Commission. I go to the wrong compound first but they politely direct me to another facility up a side street near the back of the U.S. embassy. I show my ticket to the guards, who open the tall steel gate for me to enter. Walk across the tennis court to the clubhouse by the pool. This is a nice place!

There are a lot of people, chatting and bidding on the silent auction items. My donation was of, you guessed it, a "jaguar camera." It is getting some interest.

Some people drink at the bar: DSCN0388

But most listen to the speeches about wildlife conservation: DSCN0387

A highlight for me was talking to people who had been guests at Hidden Valley Inn a few days previously and seen the "wildlife cameras" I had placed in January. I told them I had photos of their legs.

By then end of the night, my "jaguar camera" raised a lot of money, I won a framed painting of a jaguar in the silent auction, and got to meet in person some people I had known only online. One of them kindly offered to drive me back to my hotel room: DSCN0389

but he could not get his car started and so we walked the few blocks back to the Hibiscus Hotel. I ended up driving him home. Good times, but I was out way past my bedtime.

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