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Meredith’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 09 Dec 2006

Location: Crooked Tree, Belize

MapRain Soaked River Gods

Clare and I were possibly the first two kiwis in Crooked Tree Bird Sanctuary. No one had heard of New Zealand but nationality wasn't important. Whether you are a "Birder" is the indicator of status. It poured for three days. But it seemed appropriate in a rain forest. We sat under the thatch and sampled beans and rice, plum jam from the tree, cocunut pie from the tree, journey cakes and chooks that give new meaning to the term "free range". I think her name was Bertha.

The birds didn't mind the rain. Cormorants, pelicans, egrets sloshed round the lagoon with the odd crocdile and floating turtles. The road flooded in August and the lagoon appeared to be creeping over the muddy road again. Boat transport is better. Four of us piled into a speed boat to Lamanai ruins. I put my new raincoat through its paces and appreciated first hand why it is called the rain-forest. Our guide pointed out birds over the roar of the engine and every now and then an alligator or turtle plopped off a log. I felt quite the explorer, until we turned the corner and arrived at Lamanai and the predictable souvenir shops. A few days later and I was tracking jaguars. Or rather jaguars are tracking me. He was here 20 minutes ago apparently. Fresh prints. 5 armadillos. Mum, Dad and three kids. Did they survive?