Prison Life

We went into town for some breakfast this morning. We wanted to grab something quick because our plan for the day was to get Amy onto that zip-line. Unfortunately there was another reason for the early departure. Unbeknownst to me if you rent a car in Belize from Crystal (only rental car company that lets you do this) and want to take it across the border you need a letter of permission from the company. Unfortunately the imigration people would only except an original copy. This means we have to drive back to the rental car company and get a copy. Amy was all to quick to point out that, if I would have read what I signed I would have seen that I needed this letter when we first picked up this car. Yeah Yeah Yeah 🙂 Instead of looking at this as a setback we do what we always do and make the best of the situation.

We looked at the map and realized that elusive Jaguar Paw was on the way to the rental car company, so off to zip-lining we go. We met our two guides, Edgar and Oscar, and then off to the treetops. If you have ever been zip-lining you know it is a blast. It will turn any adult into a little kid again. It was great to see all kids and Amy having such a good time. It was neat to see little Nick holding his own with his big brothers. I don’t think that kid has any fear. My biggest thrill was to see Tyler do the rappelling at the end. He is not fond of heights, but he tackled the challenge with no problems.


The three amigos before zip-lining (Alex, Nick, Tyler)



On the road again, we went and got the letter we needed and headed back to San Ignacio.

On the Western Highway sits a prison located in Hattieville. Hattieville for Belize would be the equivalent to San Quentin in the United States. That however is where the comparisons end. How many prisons do you know still in use, that are a tourist attraction? The security was ridiculous. They had cyclone fences surrounding the prison with open gates and open areas. Rumor has it that prisoners sometimes break out on the weekends and go drinking with friends and then come back before anyone notices. It did have one cool gift shop. All the carvings and other pieces are all made by prisoners. We can now say we own a piece of art made by a Belizean prisoner. Priceless.

After our stay at the prison, we decided to head into the jungle to check out Monkey Bay Sanctuary. Right off the highway the road immediately is surrounded by jungle. We weren’t sure how far the dirt road went but we decided to check it out. The kids of course liked it because it was rough and full of mud and water. Eventually we came to a river, end of road. So we took a swim. Amy was a little concerned not knowing whether there were crocodiles here or not. Not to worry we still had our two kids. Or was it three?

To finish the day we went to our favorite spot in town which is Hanna’s. After a tasty dinner, we got some ice cream and walked around town. On our way back to our car we met up with Car Wash Guy. Let me explain Car Wash Guy. I believe he is the first convicted murderer the kids have ever met. When we parked for that mornings breakfast he wanted to wash my car because he needed a job. I conceded because I thought, what the heck the guy’s not asking for a handout, he just wants to work. When we got back to the car he proceeded to tell us his life story. All about how his daughter was murdered when he lived in L.A and how he murdered the guy that did it and got 6 years in prison. He then was deported back to Belize where he was in a horrible accident that left him disabled. Now fast forward to after ice cream as I am walking with Nick about ten yards behind Amy, Tyler and Alex as they turn the corner onto a side street. Car Wash Guy comes up to Amy and asks how she was doing. Seconds later I get to her and see the look in her eyes. After 16 years together you know looks and I knew this look meant she was uncomfortable. Quickly we went to the nearest store and grabbed some water. As we neared our car we see Car Wash Guy polishing it up. I knew I had to do something quick so I ushered everyone into the car gave the guy a couple bucks and left the scene never to see Car Wash Guy again.

-Tony 11/20/09

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