Lost in Crooked Tree, where cashew nuts come from

After Lamanai we drove to Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary. There’s also a small village by the same name, and we arrived late in the afternoon, just before sunset.
Since there are so few roads in Belize, getting from one place to another usually means going back to where you came from and taking ‘the other road’ to your next destination, as not too many roads connect the smaller places.


We found a room at Rhaburn’s; this old and charming copule lives downstairs, and rents the rooms upstairs to visitors (this is one of the first houses renting rooms to tourists in the village, we were told). The house is wooden and old, and sitting on the porch looking at the lovely garden and small town is quite relaxing.

Just before sunset and after settling in at the room, we went to the lagoon (which is actually a big water-hole now, just before the rainy season), where some cattle and many birds were gathering.
At night we sat on the porch with a couple from the UK who were also staying at the same place, and during the frequent power-outs, we saw beautiful fire-flies on the lawn in front of the house.

The next morning, considering the scorching heat of the day, we got up at sunrise to walk arond the sanctuary. By 0530 in the morning, it was hot as hell; the humidity is exhausting, and there are hardly any breezes to relieve of the heat.
I think the animals were also too hot, and other than the birds near the water-hole, walking around in the trails we didn’t see too many animals. At one point we decided to start heading back, and just at that point we got lost… There’s no real comprehensive map of the trails, and we walked in total about 10 km until late in the morning when we finally made our way back to the our room, exhausted…
The disappointing thing was not that we had not seen too much wild-life, but that the trails lead us inside the village or around the outskirts of it, and they were so piled up with the people’s trash… We saw one dumping place for old electronics and home equipment (old washing machines and such), and a few other spots with trash (notably, used baby diapers). Considering that these trails are the reason why people come here, it was a pity that they were so polluted with trash.

Another main attraction at Crooked Tree are the cashew nuts. There are lots of trees, and they have an annual cashew nut festival. How disappointing it was to find out that this festival tradition was started by a US tour company.. But it goes to show that the cashews there have a central role.
The cashews come from a strange little fruit; we had seen it before, but did not realize it was a cashew. It’s a bright red, and has a small dark-brown growth at the bottom. We heard an interesting explanation to this fruit’s weird anatomy from Taka (to be introduced in greater detail later on..) – the devil wanted to prove that he could invent a fruit just as well as god could. He brought this bright red fruit to god and the angels, but then god asked – ‘how will more fruits come from this one, if it has no seed?’. The embaraced devil said – ‘oh, I didn’t forget it; it just goes here, below the fruit. Let me stick it in there…’. And since then, that’s what the cashew looks like…

OK, so we didn’t see too much wildlife, but we did see quite a bit of the area aroud the village and we had a nice time.

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