are we in seattle?

The last two days the weather has changed for us here in Belize. Its been in the 70's, but really windy so we are a bit chilled and have not been able to dive. The skys have been gray for the most part reminding us of Seattle. We have made the most of the days though and spent yesterday with Gretchen, Doug and Patrick walking the island, visiting bakeries and ending up at the Crazy Canucks bar for pretty much the entire afternoon. It was a great day! Today we all headed into Belize City. Tom had lived here 20 yrs ago and sadly--it hasn't changed much and if anything has gone a bit more downhill since then. He didn't remember too much about the city from his time here and I think thats probably ok. To explain it in terms that are more recognizable, Ambergris Caye is to Beverly Hills as Belize City is to East LA. We were so shocked to see pretty much all of the city (and we were in the "good part") in shambles. Houses that would normally be condemned had people living in them. Windows--even with wood shutters--had iron bars around them. Every window on every house. Sewer in the curb systems and garbage all over. We were offered drugs and "good deals" on anything we may want on more than a few occasions. It was an eye opener. We had all been to some pretty remote places, but this was the worst. We didn't ever feel unsafe, but we never felt totally comfortable. Even with this description, we are glad we went. We did see a few places of interest (even the guidebooks have to reach for suggestions on things to do/see) including the local and only Hindu temple and the Belize Museum which had a great Mayan artifact exhibit. In all, it was a good trip, but still very sad. Its a perfect example of internal corruption within a government system that benefits no one but a few. Normally this is more common in a communist country--not a British Commonwealth.

Tomorrow we head out. We are glad to be going home, but its hard to leave. We have had such a great vacation.