The joys of a road trip in Belize are innumerable. Allow me to state my case.
The adventure begins when the car rental company hands you a map, which looks like it was drawn by a five-year old. Then the rental agent walks you to the car, where he shows you the spare and the tire jack with the reverence due the Holy Grail.
Next, you hit the washboard rough, pothole-pocked road, and experience the inevitable loss of dignity that comes with having your noggin jiggle involuntarily for hours just exactly like a bobble head. The locals refer to this road-induced jiggling as the ‘Belizean massage’. Likewise, Belizeans refer to the speed bumps that proliferate in front of every school, church, intersection, place of business and the home of anyone related to a government official as ‘sleeping policemen’.
One of the best things about a road trip in Belize is that you can administer the Friendly Test to the local people. The Friendly Test is simple. Just wave to every person you pass and count how many folks smile and wave back. The Belizean people scored very high on the Friendly Test, but to be honest, I am not sure whether they were smiling or laughing at us.
There is plenty of inspiration for chickens-crossing-the-road jokes in Belize. But your road-crossing joke repertoire has to be expanded to include tarantulas, crabs, Jesus Christ Lizards, and the occasional Belizean Cadillac, also known as a tractor.
Then, there are the ruins. No, not the Mayan ruins, though Belize is full of those. I am talking about all the twenty-first century Belizean ruins. Apparently nobody who begins construction in Belize really worries much about whether or not they have the money to complete the project. They just get started and hope for the best.