This post has been getting written in stages, most recently while I visited Astoria. Please excuse any temporal dissonance.
I know it’s spelled differently, shut it. You still know what I meant and it’s cute- so there.
Well, I’m super-lame but I’ve not written a word about our trip to Belize. Where to even start? Belize is a country of contradictions. One needs to understand the history in order to understand the things which are always at odds. Invaded by the Spanish, who were driven out by the English, Belize retains elements of both. The official language is English, but the food owes more to the Spanish influence. The music is decidedly Afro-Carribean; definitely islander and not mainland.
There is not much of a sense of time in Belize. People give you a time to meet, eat, etc, but it’s truly approximate. Do not go to Belize if you prize punctuality and precision. You will be grossly disappointed. If you come to Belize, you must be prepared to react on the fly and accept things changing on a whim. It’s like Hawaii’s island time only much, much more relaxed.
Oh, and you’d best be prepared to accept mosquitoes that are nigh-unto-vampiric. We visited the southern part of Ambergris Caye (our home port, as it were) twice. Both times, I felt like it was our own personal version of Pearl Harbor. I’ve never seen or had welts like that anywhere else. I’m still not sure how we survived. It must have been all the Belikin Beer. More on that later.
Speaking of beer, minor diversion into the present. I’m sitting here in the COOLEST place ever, the Ft. George Brewery & Public House. I’m writing this on my iPad and thanking the Flying Spaghetti Monster for wifi, iPads, beer, and understanding wives. I should probably thank Jaysus Christ, too, while I’m at it, since it was He who introduced me to this glorious place. Amen Ramen!
Where was I? Belize. I regret not writing about this sooner. Memories have faded a tad and stories which were relevant aren’t as front-and-center. But we met AMAZING people who changed our lives, and I think we changed theirs.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t lead off with the awesome owners/operators of our B&B. C and R, both Indiana natives and smartypants cool to the core, were our hosts. We started as guests and ended as friends. They’ve lived in Belize almost a decade, and both come from high-stress jobs/backgrounds. It was easy to see why they traded the rat race for Belize. Which is not to say there aren’t challenges. They’re just not the same.
They were amazing with the background and detail they could provide about this place or that activity, who had the best food or cocktails. We eagerly absorbed their advice and hit places like Caye Caulker, the Palapa Bar, Wayo’s, and the local Marco Gonzalez ruins. All home runs.
Each morning, we had breakfast, prepared by the ladies or their employee, a lovely native Belizean named Esther. We would sit, chat over coffee, and trade stories. The mornings were magical and memorable to me. I learned about the other wonderful guests, what brought them to Belize, and what made them seek out paradise when they did.
And then there was Ethan. Oh, Ethan. If ever I wanted to steal a child and make him mine, it was this kid. A born entrepreneur, at age 10 he had not 1, not 2, but 3 different side jobs going to make money. What was his aim? To save enough to buy a bike… to rent to tourists. He was shy and quiet but clearly super smart. Ethan was a neighbor kid who helped out the ladies when school was out or he had free time, doing odd jobs. Watching them interact with him was hilarious; he did not get sarcasm and really responded best to clear instruction.
What else? The water, oh my Dog the water. And the sea denizens. I never expected to see or touch sharks or sting rays in my life, but I did both. And there are photos to prove both, go here in case you want to see.
I SCUBA’d for the 1st time in Belize. It was awesome- I had no problem adjusting to the necessary actions and procedures, and being 30 ft or more underwater felt natural. My first real dive was in the Hol-Chan Preserve, which is known for its rays, coral, and sharks. A truly gorgeous place. We also saw some massive Tarpons and Barracuda. Looking back, I can’t believe I did it. It just seemed so natural. Now I want to get certified but I’m not too sure about diving in the Puget Sound. That’ll take some getting used to, for sure.
No amount of writing is going to do justice to everything I saw; Belize is a complex, interesting place. Nowhere else quite compares to its unique melt of influences, languages, and people.
All I know is I want to go back, and I’ve a desire to visit more of Central America, something I never thought I’d say. But hell, travel is in my blood and why limit oneself to the ‘usual’ suspects?
There is so much to see, and in the most unexpected places.