I’ve been in Placencia, Belize since last Tuesday, a small peninsula in the southern part of the country. The trip here required a small plane ride from Belize City with a 10-person “plane” which landed on a dirt airstrip just outside of town. It was easily the most scared and fun I’ve ever had in a plane.

People casually refer to this place as Paradise and really it’s not too far off. The people are warm, friendly, generous, and laid back. There is little to no crime, the air and water are both in the 80’s and there is a sweet Caribbean breeze blowing in at all times to keep you cool. People here are Breeze Connisseurs, as they discuss which parts of town have better and worse breezes who prefers which type of wind. This certainly isn’t a rich place, but its not horribly poor either and there are reasonable guest houses and hotels next to shacks on stilts with kids playing among the laundry drying on lines in the back.

There are certainly a lot of tourists here, mostly from America, but they’re mostly here for diving and so the locals don’t seem to mind them very much. A friends mom manages the high-end hotel in town which is where I’ve been hanging out mostly, playing chess, enjoying mojitos, staring off into the sea, and discussing politics and philosophy. Joe Montana and his family are all staying there, and while I haven’t spoken to him, he seems like a pretty nice guy and his kids are well mannered and bad at backgammon. He enjoys the anonymity of not having anyone know who he is, clearly, and is here for the Whale Shark diving like most people at the resort.

I went diving for the first time yesterday while in the middle of my certification class and saw the ocean for the first time. While it takes some getting used to, its definitely fun and i’m glad so much instruction and safety surrounds the sport. My friends and I are already talking about future diving trips, although I’m going to probably try to ease into it. My new friend Glen (who is also the mayor) is a master diver and told me to stick with it and that its the most important thing I can do as a scientist. He was pretty gone on the local rum at the time, so I may have to reconsider, but he is well respected here so who knows.

A friends godfather is here and he is without question the Trip MVP, logging most inappropriate comments, best over-the-top claims and exaggerations, and picking up the most dinner and drink tabs. The first time I met him, he asked the bartender for drinks and said “Get comfortable young man, you’re about to tell me your whole life story.” And I did. It took a few hours but he’s genuinely interested in helping out other people as well as impressing his intelligence on them. Last night he asked one girl “So tell me what are your reproductive plans?” I might have to hang out with him next time I get the chance.

Anyhow, that’s it from here. I’m enjoying reading in hammocks and watermelon juice today and thats about it. As for Placencia, I think my feelings are best summarized by the the prophet Ferris who once said, “If you have the means, I highly recommend it, it is so choice.”

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