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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Belize III: Richard, that blowhard...

<Belize I <Belize II

The long and the short of it is that we moved next door to the Radisson. Good thing, too, because the cayes were being evacuated and hotels were filling up fast. We'd gotten settled in the evening before Richard actually hit. So there was another day of hanging around Belize City and by this point, we were both ready to consider moving on. Sis asked me if I thought the cayes were a good idea and while my original inclinations were to head inland to Guate, I knew she'd really enjoy the beaches. I would, too, so it was really moot to me if we did some island hopping first and then headed over the border.

We strolled over to the water taxi places and checked out fares and departure times. I was even thinking that maybe instead of heading to Guatemala after the cayes, a quick trip to Lamanai or Chetumel might have been in order. At any rate, we did some more strolling around, went out to the Government House of Culture, saw a show of some stunning photos by a fellow who was still employed by the G.O.B. Sadly, I can't recall his name and after a half hour of poking around online, I can't turn him up. The House of Culture only has the Facebook page and their oldest posts only goes back to February of 2011.

Be that as it may, it was a day well-spent before heading back to grab some dinner and get ready for Richard, who took his sweet time getting up to speed. He did. The following day was replete with high winds and rain and power failure. We were lucky; the windows stayed intact but leaked like hell. Other people weren't. The next day, we saw how extensive the rains and flooding had been. The Radisson crew stayed on through the night and the general manager was there through it all. Naturally, they wanted to get home to their families.

Although Richard was a category one (I think), it left a swath of destruction, causing at least one landslide and wiping out thousands of homes. Much of the water had receded around where we were, but you can see from the photos that quite a few places, including the Radisson, took hits.

By this point, I think we were pretty ready to split Belize City. We checked out and got the first water taxi we could to San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye.

The following give a good idea of the winds picking up and the sky darkening. Sorry about the last two, they're pretty murky, but give you a better idea of the choppiness of the sea when you click on them and see them up close.

The aftermath is pretty self-explanatory. The nice white colonial building below is the Chateau Caribbean; they got flooded and you can kind of see how their roof got chewed up.

Just to be clear, this isn't the Chatea Caribbean; this place was across from the Radisson.

We took a stroll around the 'hood.

Baron Bliss bids us farewell.

A monument's not a monument without graffiti.

 The irony, if you want to call it that, is that although the cayes had been evacuated, Richard pretty much fizzled out in the ocean and blew back and over toward Guatemala as a tropical depression. We heard that the worst that the islands got was a little spray here and there. The winds churned up a lot of seaweed in the ocean; but basically, people were evacuated to come experience the hurricane.

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