Sunday, December 7, 2014

Quick & Dirty: Belize City, Belize

These notes are designed using structure from Night's Black Agents. The idea is to provide a quick skeleton framework from which to draw if the team heads here for adventurous mayhem. 

Quick & Dirty:  Belize City, Belize 

Description:  Largest city and capital of Belize. It resides at the mouth of the Haulover Creek, a tributary of the Belize River. The city is divided into a north and a south section, divided by Haulover Creek. The city is home to all major branches of the government.

Belize City is the country’s principal port, financial hub, and industrial hub. The majority of working Belizeans travel to work in downtown offices or nearby streets. Branches of all major banks within Belize and the Central Bank, as well as, nearly all insurance centers are found here.

Belize City has a constant flow of cruise ships in its ports. Flights to the city arrive daily from around the region and several times a week from major countries, such as the United States of America.  The government has worked hard over the past decade to increase the number of resorts where visitors can relax and spend their money. Most vacation styled adventure leads into the country, where crime rates are lower, fuel stations are fewer, and the roads become skinnier and worse condition.

Population:  70,000 (Appleton, WI or Paisley, Scotland)
Conflict:  Belize is the 6th most violent country in the world, according to the UN Office n Drugs and Crime with an average of 40 homicides per 100k residents. The majority of the homicides are committed on the south side of the city and are related to street gangs. Due to the amount of crime, Belizean law makers invoked a “declaration of crime infested areas” and allow law enforcement and security forces to conduct warrantless searches of personnel and property in “crime ridden” areas. The George Street Gang is currently the most powerful gang, but struggles to maintain their position versus four other gangs. They control the flow of cocaine through the country.
1.        Fort George:  This is the marina area for visiting cruise ships. It is located at the mouth of the Haulover Creek. The area also offers other water transportation, including water taxis, fishing boats, and smaller, personal water craft. Hotels line the coast, providing guests with a beautiful view of the bay. Small shops line the immediate streets, offering the usual tourist marketplaces.
2.        Battlefield Park:  A small green space with many concrete benches. It is often the site of political speeches and civil gatherings. Vendors dot the sidewalks and street corners, selling tropical fruits, hot homemade dishes, and the occasional trinkets.
3.        Ruins of Altun Ha:  “Rockstone Pond” was settled around 250 BC and ended near the 10th century. At one time, 10,000 Maya lived in and around this 25 square mile area. It is a 30 minute drive from Belize City and hard to get to without a guide to show you the way. A local bus line has a stop approximately two miles away. The ruins have two plazas surrounded by towering temples. The larger of the two plazas is the site of a mysterious tomb beneath a temple, the Temple of the Green Tomb. It was so named for the jade, jewelry and other remnants found here by archaeologists. The other temple was found to contain trade goods from the city of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico. Also of note, a 15 centimeter high, jade head of the Maya Sun God, Kinich Ahau, was found within the priests’ tombs.
Three Hooks: 
1.        George Street Gang members offloading goods from a boat. Are they working with the local conspiracy or up to nefarious activities of their own design?
2.        Tradecraft notices something going on in Battlefield Park – is this related to the conspiracy or just a clandestine meeting between Belize Special Branch and perhaps a cousin in the CIA?
3.        The jade head of Kinich Ahau may hold the secret to destroying victims. It is a sun god, after all.

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