Monday, March 27, 2000

Clarissa Falls

I couldn't wait to get into the water and went down to the river. The water was clear and silky cool. Tiny little fish swarmed around me as I slid into the water, bumping against me as they checked me out. A gentle current propelled me downstream, overhanging jungle shading the river. Just think, thousands of years ago, Mayans swam in the same river, washed their clothes here, and used the water for cooking and growing their crops. I closed my eyes and imagined the activities as brilliant green parrots flew overhead.

After a lazy float, I knew that I would have to insist that Susan come down to the water despite the fact that she was sunburned and afraid to get out in the sun again. But with the river so shaded she would be fine.

After that refreshing swim we went up to the veranda and had a beer, watched all the while by the ever-present "Butcher," the resident parrot. He - or she - had adopted a visitor called Tom and was very jealous of anyone who came near him, including the help.

As we sat there, enjoying the ambience, a double rainbow formed in the north. Huge thunderheads rolled over the hills and the rainbows dipped down, pointing to a pot of gold amongst the palm trees.


Birthday dinner time and we had one of the best meals of the entire trip. I had a national dish called sere, which is a fish stew made with coconut milk and local vegetables that include yams, potatoes, squash and onions. Served with rice and fried plantain, it was "to die for." Susan had a chicken dish made with some type of black seasoning that was also delicious and we washed it down with beer. The owner's sister who helps run the hotel said that good things always happen on that Maya mound and I know I could feel the good "vibes" emanating from the earth.

Both of us slept well, no bugs at all and after a good breakfast we hit the road again.

Belmopan is the capital of the country and is right smack dab in the middle. Made up mostly of government buildings it is rather drab. We stopped long enough to go to the bank and for Susan to call home and for a visit to the market.

The market was very colorful, with stalls filled with wonderful fresh fruit and vegetables. While Susan sat in the shade at the International Café, I went shopping and bought tangerines, bananas and a papaya. The young Maya woman was charming and helpful and as I took pictures I heard the sound of a small baby. On closer inspection I saw her child, smiling and gurgling happily in a cardboard fruit box!


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