From Caye Caulker we continued our travels through the small country of Belize, heading west towards the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. We had heard good things about the Belize Zoo and, even though zoos are really not our thing and even though it was expensive ($15 USD/person), we decided to stop. The zoo is filled with over 100 rescue animals native to the area, including jaguars, ocelots, howler monkeys, tapirs, and various species of birds, including the largest in central America, the Jabiru. While the jury’s still out on whether it was worth the entrance fee, it was cool to see many animals we may not get a chance to see during our travels.
After travelling through Northern and Central Mexico, entering the state of Oaxaca was like entering a whole new country. We began seeing signs of a culture different than any we had previously experienced. Oaxaca marked our entry into Zapatec country. No experience better encompassed the most notable differences than a walk through the city market. The produce stands carry a number of new and strange items, the tortillas have doubled in size and are fried and stuffed with an assortment of delicious fillings and amidst the hum of the market we overheard languages that were neither English nor Spanish. The metropolis acts as a magnet drawing in all of the regional specialties that left Jill and I overwhelmed with new foods to try and shops to peruse.
Our first few attempts to experience some authentic Mexican cuisine were a bit of a failure. In hindsight it should have been obvious, whether it was the plethora of white faces, the quickly accessible menus in English, or the visible microwave in the kitchen. To say the least, our first few meals left us wanting. Luckily, we would quickly wise up and learn to spot the gringo traps. Before we left the town of Todos Santos we would have a meal that satiated not just our hunger but our desire for an experience to come with it.