See that black fishing line in the photo above?  It looks pretty innocuous, right?  Like it couldn't hurt a flea.  

I can only assume that that is what a prankster thought when he strung it tightly across the cart path up near Indigo and Grand Belizean Estates this morning.

It was a splendid Sunday morning after a cold front passed through Belize yesterday.  Bright sunshine, low humidity, and a moderate north breeze made for a perfect morning for bicycling.  We rode north up the beach in great spirits.  I even sighted and stopped to snap a photo of this Black-Headed Trogan right by the White Sands Dive Shop.  I couldn't believe how close he let me get.  I wish you could see his distinctive light-blue eye in this photo.
With Indigo condominiums up ahead, we turned sharply left and rounded the curve on the cart path, heading to Grand Belizean Estates.  

Before I could even process what was happening, I heard Barry yell out "woah" or something similar.  I was close behind him, and almost right as I heard him yell, I felt something hit me full-on in the face.  It stopped me and my bike immediately in my tracks, and the next thing I knew, I crashed down on my right side (the same side I went down on and fractured my pelvis when road riding in North Carolina in 2005).  

Moments later, we realized what had happened.  Some Darwin-award contender had strung a piece of strong black braided fishing line tautly across the path, a booby-trap for anyone coming by with any speed at all.  Since Barry has flat bars on his bike, he was leaning slightly forward, so he hit the line right above the brim of his ball cap, which thankfully he was wearing or his scalp would have been hit full on.  I, on the other hand, was sitting upright.  And before he could warn me, the line caught me right across the mouth.  It did not break the skin, but it stung like a sonofagun.  And I was banged up from the fall as the sand is very hard there.

After this incident, I was in no shape to continue the ride.  I was angry and hurting.  I tied my bandanna around my leg to catch any bleeding from where I fell and scraped up my right knee, and turned around and rode back home to administer first aid, with Barry close behind me to make sure I was okay.

Taking stock of the damage at home, I have a swollen welt on the right side of my face from where I ran into the line, a badly skinned right knee, a sore and swollen palm on my right hand, and a couple of small scrapes on my left leg.  My shorts got scraped up, and I will certainly have a bruise on my butt tomorrow.  As bad as it was, it could have been a whole lot worse.  Just imagine what could have happened if the line had hit at neck level, or if the jerk who did this had used wire instead of fishing line.

I can only assume that whoever did this was playing a prank and that we were not intentionally targeted.  Maybe the expected a golf cart to hit the line and be startled by the palmetto it was tied to to suddenly rustling towards them as if a madman were jumping out of the bushes.  I'd like to assume they didn't think about a bicyclist getting injured.  Right after I went down, a golf cart came through from the other direction.  If we'd been two minutes later, he would have been the victim, not us.

I write this post not for sympathy; I'm a little sore and banged up but am sure I'll be fine in a few days.  But mostly we wanted to warn others who might ride bikes in that area, just in case the genius who set the trap decides to strike again.  Since the fishing line is virtually invisible, ride or drive very slowly in this area.  Something like this shouldn't happen to anyone on this island, whether it be a tourist, expat, or local.  
2/17/2013 03:02:22 am

That makes me so angry. What an idiot. Glad to hear you will be ok.

BeBelize Emily
2/17/2013 03:40:47 am

Thanks Tracey!

2/17/2013 03:04:34 am

Sadly this is not new. Booby traps like this are common along the beach path. Property owners upset with traffic on the beach set a variety of obstacles along the way. Logs, rope, glass, nails and phone wire all intended to stop passers by.

BeBelize Emily
2/17/2013 03:43:06 am

Yes, I am aware of some of this, Elbert. But this was in a place that is actually part of the "road" (such as it is) after we'd exited from the beach. And not very close to any house. So, I'm not sure who would want to maliciously booby trap this part of the road. It was not in a place that motorized vehicles are prohibited, and we weren't even motorized. I guess we've been lucky as much as we ride our bikes here never to have run into something like this before.

Paula Segrest
2/17/2013 05:19:27 am

grrrrrr .... I'm be mad as hell! That's just so wrong. And yes, now I see ... and I'm so sorry this happened. I know it's ruined your day for the most part, Emily. I pray you heal up quickly. :/

BeBelize Emily
2/17/2013 07:18:33 am

Thank you, Paula. I am sure my physical wounds will not be as deep as the emotional impact of something like this. I won't ride with the same gleeful abandon in that area again. Those azzholes, whoever they were, made sure of that.

2/18/2013 02:35:14 am

Just curious how you got your dog to Belize. We ofter think of moving to Barbados but it seems it is impossible to bring a dog due to customs, etc. Is Belize different in their regulations?

BeBelize Emily
2/18/2013 03:54:23 am

All countries have different requirements for bringing dogs in. Some have lengthy quarantine periods and make it very, very difficult, expensive, or downright impractical. Belize is not one of those countries. There are a couple of vaccine requirements, an international vet certificate, an approval form through BAHA, and a small fee, but no quarantine period. It's quite easy, actually. Good luck in your quest to move to Barbados.

2/19/2013 02:34:01 am

So glad you were not hurt more than you were. I really enjoyed your posts of your trip through Mexico. I looked forward to each new one. We are from TN, hoping to visit AC this summer.

BeBelize Emily
2/19/2013 03:32:08 am

Thanks, Diane! Really appreciate your comments and glad you are enjoying the blog.

2/19/2013 04:01:14 am

They do this on the beach path as well???

I have cycled for the last 5 years on the path north of San Pedro and never come across something this dangerous. Have I just been lucky?

BeBelize Emily
2/19/2013 04:09:17 am

Yes, it surprised and startled the heck out of me, aj! We've ridden up there many, many times since 2010 and never had a single problem. This was on the little curve of road that goes off to the left before Indigo, so while technically "the road", it's quite narrow at this point. I surely hope it was an isolated incident. It's a sad reflection on our fellow humans that someone would stoop so low in an attempt to hurt or scare someone. I hope neither you nor anyone else encounters something like this!

2/20/2013 09:32:00 pm

Ouch Emily, that is not a cool prank. Hope you are well on the mend and I do not blame you for being angry over that one.

BeBelize Emily
2/20/2013 10:29:06 pm

Thanks Laurie, I am doing much better. Just can't go back to yoga quite yet b/c the knee scab hurts to put any pressure on.

4/10/2014 04:15:57 am

Hello Folks,
Found your website while looking at some info. on Belize. Love it!! My partner Deborah and I visited Belize, last year (2013) during the month of December. We stayed on the island of Caye Caulker and thoroughly enjoyed the quiet pace and the "Go Slow" attitude (motto) of the island. We are planning to go back this December and January, and also take a trip down to Placencia. We really, really enjoy this place and we are looking to escape the cold Canadian winters, and perhaps winter down there, travelling throughout Central America.

Thanks again for your website, informative and fantastic!!

Karl and Deborah
Halifax, Nova Scotia


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