Update on Hurricane Earl . . .
Belize is recovering remarkably well considering the damage that Hurricane Earl did last week.
Here in San Ignacio and its twin city Santa Elena, in far-western mainland BZ, life is pretty much back to normal for most people and business owners. The best news is that the most of the market and street vendors are back in business, though many of the farmers who provide for them are hurting.
The worst thing here in the twin cities–divided by the usually calm and oh-so-scenic Macal River, is that the old wooden “low bridge” was pretty much destroyed–half of it literally washed and blew ashore.
The sturdy old bridge has been rendered impassable God knows how many times from hurricanes and frequent floods, but it always stayed in place. Earl managed to wipe it out, along with the bridge’s pedestrian walkway and railing. It’s going to require some serious rebuilding.
Being the old tree-hugger and river rat that I am, I’m genuinely saddened that Earl knocked down some stately old shade trees–dozens of them–that gave the low-bridge “dip” leading into town so much natural charm. Many days I used to throw down a beach towel on the banks of the river with a book under some great shade trees that are now being chopped into firewood.
Fortunately, the old iron “high bridge” a short way up the Macal River* is so sturdy as to be windproof and so high as to be flood-proof. If it weren’t, this town and the highway leading to so many western towns and villages and into Guatemala would be inaccessible.
Out on the country’s world-famous islands Ambergris Caye (San Pedro) and Caye Caulker, Earl did $10 million in damage. But the islanders are resilient: most of the resorts and tourist-related businesses are already back and starting to go strong!
(*Tourists love the Macal for the great canoeing and tubing, and so do I, btw.)
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Speaking of San Pedro . . .
File this under old news but now relevant news thanks to the Olympics.
Simone Biles–the perky young star of America’s all-star gymnastics team in the Olympics–has Belizean roots. She comes to Belize often and was last here last summer for her brother’s wedding at San Pedro.