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We took a long Sunday bike ride after walking Paisley, hitting the pool, and eating breakfast.  This ride proved to be quite an adventure, and not always in a good way.  We headed far north up the beach, as we'd done several times before on previous trips, but this time, once we got several miles up, the beach was in pretty bad shape.  I had to walk my bike quite a bit because the beach was all cluttered up with seagrass and debris in places, and there was the usual soft sand at several of the resorts, rather than the usual packed sand that is easy to ride on.  In soft sand, your tires start spinning as you attempt to plow through, and often you lose all traction and have to put a foot down before you fall.  It gets old when this happens over and over on a ride, so we prefer to avoid areas like this.
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Pretty, but not the best for riding
There were also a couple of places where we encountered unfriendly watch dogs.  Large dogs running towards me barking angrily scares the bejeebers out of me, and one particular place, I knew I didn't want to have to ride by twice since the dogs approached quite ferociously.  Barry scared them off, but I still didn't feel comfortable encountering them again.  
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One of the few friendly dogs we encountered
To avoid the dogs and bad beach areas, we decided to take the unpaved "road" off the beach back to Chico Caribe at the turnaround point.  "Road" is in quotes because in places it is more like a trail, and is really intended mostly for golf carts.  When we first started back, the road was in great shape, a nice packed sand trail, and we also had a tail wind, so it seemed like we'd just sail back to our destination.
Unfortunately, we eventually got to a place where the road widened and was packed down and rutted by construction trucks.  There were deep depressions, but no water at first.  Eventually, puddles appeared, then the puddles grew into small ponds.  We could get avoid most of these by zig-zagging and going around the edges, but at one point, there was no way to avoid riding through them; and the standing water was fetid, muddy, and dark.  Barry plowed through some of this, but when I saw that his bike was about a foot deep in the water, I couldn't make myself attempt it.  I just knew I'd get mired in the mud and flop over sideways into the dank, stinky cauldron of who-knows-what kind of evil.  Just couldn't do it! 

Sorry for the lack of photos of this part; we were too busy trying to figure out how to cope with the situation to take any at the time.  Barry has threatened to ride back up there to take some, so stay tuned!

So, I turned back and started walking my bike through property that appeared to have a side cut-through to the beach.  We had already gotten by the doggie trouble spots we'd encountered heading north, so I figured if I could just get to the beach, it would be mostly smooth sailing getting back home.  About this time, a dog from the house whose yard I was trying to cut through saw me and starting barking loudly and running around the yard.  Crap!  I guess just about everyone in Belize who lives in a private home has a large watch dog to dissuade would-be thieves.  I felt pretty helpless, but the dog never actually came after me, and no screaming homeowners appeared, thank goodness.  I have to say my heart was racing.  Just what else could go wrong?

This:  Barry came rolling up beside me, none too happy since he'd had to turn around and come back through the putrid water once he realized I was not going to attempt it.  He showed me that he'd gotten a rather long scratch on his leg when a piece of metal wire in the nasty pondwater wrapped around his wheel, then slapped him on the leg.  He needed to hightail it back to the condo to get it cleaned and some antibiotic ointment on it, so he took off down the beach at top speed to tend to it, and I rode as fast as I could behind him, but he was out of sight almost immediately.

Fortunately, the scratch wasn't too deep, so hopefully all that will be required is the ointment and the large bandage we put on it and it doesn't become infected.  I don't think we'll be riding the far north route again until dry season.  What a fiasco!

This afternoon was much calmer but very wet.  Normally when it rains here, a shower or squall passes over quickly and the sun soon makes another appearance, but this time a tremendous storm blew up with much wind and sideways rain, and bands of rain and strong breezes continued to move in all afternoon.  We never saw the sun after mid-morning, and it actually got quite cool by mid-afternoon, by Belizean standards.  The outside temp hit a low of 73.5, which was the coolest since we've been here (even overnight), and with the wind and rain, it actually felt a bit chilly!  We hope that tomorrow will bring a nicer day, but after all the rain today, the road into town is sure to be full of puddles.  Ah, rainy season in Belize!
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Surendra
9/19/2011 01:36:25 pm

Hope today was a better day. We have enjoyed reading your blog and postings on Facebook etc. We are also retired and moving to SP in November. Did you buy your bikes in SP or did you take them from the US?

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BeBelize Emily
9/20/2011 04:18:59 am

Thanks Surendra, Monday was much better! I didn't blog as we didn't do anything all that exciting, but sometimes that is a good thing. :) Lovely weather all day long too.

We bought our bikes on craigslist in North Carolina and shipped them down. This way we were able to get aluminum bikes, which we hope will last a little longer than the steel bikes sold here. They still have some steel parts, though, so rust is still an issue. This is a very harsh environment for bicycles.

That's great that you are moving here too! Where will you be living in SP? If you are on Facebook, you should look up the "Belize Expats" group. There is a lot of good information there from/for current and future expats.

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Surendra
9/20/2011 10:07:30 am

We have rented a place just north of the Bridge for November and December, which will give us time to look for a more permanent place. Our land lady thinks we can continue staying there if we both like each other. We are bringing our 8 1/2 yr old German Shepherd with us and we will be home schooling our daughter. We have read a lot and visited once before we made the decision to move. We continue reading and even became a client of Sharon Hiebing for a month. Our intent is to help the San Pedro Catholic church build a children's home in SP. We hope we will run into you.

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