San Pedro To Belmopan & Back: The Garden of Eden, the Bus and a Baby Sea Turtle

Friday morning, I headed into town to catch the 11:30am water taxi to Belize City.  The plan?  Boat ride to the city (1.5 hours), catch the bus out to Belmopan, our country’s capital, stay overnight to attend Saturday’s TEDx talk in Belmopan.  An independently organized TED talk, the 2nd ever to be held in Belize.  There was a great line up but first….I needed to get there.

As we drove south into San Pedro town, I realized that the sky was hinting at rain.   September has been relatively rain free here in Belize.  Hot HOT HOT, humid and sunny.  And so I had forgotten to pack my rain jacket – that insures that it WILL rain and hard.  I wasn’t wrong.

We had a stop in town to pack up the boat for arrivals at Cayo Frances Farm & Fly.  And right there, just north of town, I saw this little guy flapping in the water.  Almost up on the beach.

I think we can all agree that only a monster would turn her back on a struggling baby sea turtle – especially when there is help available.

I scooped him up, placed him in some water and quickly headed to the office of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve.  Minutes later…

The officer took this little cutie, id-ed him as a green turtle and assured me that they would take care of him.  They will transport him the far north of the island and the Bacalar Chico Park.  There he will join other rescued turtles in a sea pen where he can feed and grow…in a month or two, he will be set free to join his brethren.

Grow big and strong, eat jelly fish not plastic bags, watch out for birds, blowfish, fishing nets and sharks and may you live long in the sea grass meadows of our oceans.

It’s not easy being a sea turtle.

I had a water taxi to catch!  And then a short cab ride to the bus station and I was on the 1pm express to Belmopan.  Easy peasy.

I arrived, walked over to my favorite hotel in this very sleepy town and checked in.  The Hibiscus Hotel is clean, cool and convenient.  PLUS, Corkers Restaurant upstairs is the HAPPENING joint on the weekends – a time when this business and government oriented town is decidedly un-happening.

Plus, half of their profits go to the Belize Bird Rescue.  (A crazy cool place – read more in my post:  If You LOVE Parrots, Set Them Free)

I would show you pictures of Belmopan, the market and the September celebration red-white-and-blue bunting and decorations but at this point it started raining.  Not a drizzle.  The type of rain that immediately drenches you and stings when the breeze blows.

Of course.  I had forgotten my rain jacket.  I waited.  I wanted BADLY to visit an orchid garden and nursery.  I waited and waited and then I made a run for it.

Soaked, back at the bus terminal, I hailed a taxi.  Stop one:  find a cheap umbrella.  Stop two:  the enchanting 96 Orchid Garden.

I found that the rains actually make this spot more beautiful.  I can’t think of any place you can say that about.

The blooming hedge of orange jasmine at the entrance is amazing.  This is the best smelling place in the country.  Well…a rival for the Belize Chocolate Company shop in San Pedro for sure.

They have orchids for sale and, literally, thousands in green houses in the back.  Priced between $20 and $60bzd, they may seen expensive but they bloom for months…

Bonsai trees and little scenes.

If you are not into flowers, they have TONS of succulents and cacti.

I had a HUGE constraint.  Money for sure.  I didn’t want to spend more than $50bzd since my gardening skills are…budding.  But I had to carry my plants on the bus and taxi and boat and golf cart ride home!

I wanted this gorgeous lily pad pot – about the size of my first – with mini-budding pads.

I wanted orchids.  I wanted jasmine.  AND OH DID I WANT THE $2bzd and $3bzd succulents.

But I settled on some glossy begonias and other flowering beauties.   11 plants in total.

Raphael, who worked at the nursery, was SO helpful…answering my 96 questions and packing things up beautifully.

I headed back into the rain…

The TEDx talks the next day were AMAZING.  But more on that later.

I left Belmopan later in the afternoon to make the last boat back to San Pedro.  Back to the express bus…

This time with my bags and huge $12 umbrella and my plants.

Apparently it hadn’t just rained on the mainland.  North Ambergris Caye was SOAKED…Friday night was a deluge.  A thunderstorm of epic proportions.

And when I arrived home at about 8pm, I found our front yard looking something like this.  Sigh…

I might have to wait a bit to start my gardening.

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