Archives for posts with tag: belize

 

This is the tiny island where I did my dive training.

 

In the Rum Aisle of the local grocery, someone decided to indicate the health effects of the sauce using marker.

 

John the Baker.

 

This is the soccer game I mentioned a few posts ago. This is where the Placencia Pirates hold court.

 

Turtle Inn is owned by Francis Ford Coppola. In the office center, he framed a newspaper ad of little Sophie’s movie.

 

The Tree of Wisdom, which is apparently where one brings several cases of beer, upon consumption of which, the mysteries of the universe are revealed.

 

Outside view of the beach bar.

 

Palm trees.

Most peoples houses doubled as small businesses.

The Beach Bar where I spent most of my time.

A view of the national treasure, Belikin Beer, in its natural habitat.

 

Jet’s Bar at Belize Int’l Airport

 

This is the “plane” I took to Placencia which makes its home on dirt airstrips across the country.

 

On the plane, the inflatable life jacket is stored in a ziplock bag. Needless to say, I gripped it tightly.

 

This was the view out of the plane.

On my own today doing some reading and serious hammock time. As my electricity was out, I walked into town. Apparently everyone else had the same idea and there was a run on the gelateria near the gas station since they were giving away their soon-to-be useless product.

Later, I asked around to see what the hotspot of the evening would be, only to find Monday is the day to stay in here. “Rum-inflicted injuries,” my friend Mr. Aron said. I walked to The Galley for curry and lime juice and noticed staying in meant watching TV as loudly as possible. Apparently there is an audience for The Showbiz Show. A little eavesdropping reveals everyone here still remembers Hurricane Iris and the devastation she brought a few years ago. A friends seafront bar went completely into the water where now only a crooked stump protrudes from the water. I ate while watching a pickup soccer game, paid the bill, and went home.

I’ve had an amazing time but its time to trade my borrowed life back for my own.

I am back at Jets Bar in the airport, staffed with only a short Tattoo-voiced 68-year old man named Jet. My flight to Dallas is hours away and I sit here finishing “Life of Pi” (it is excellent) and enjoying my last tastes of Belikin.

The TV in the bar catches me up on Headline News and curiously breaks into commercials to show low-budget scrolling obituaries with a passport photo in the corner while “Nobody does it Better” (instrumental) plays. (Note: Thom Yorke once declared onstage that this song was the sexiest ever written. The justaposition makes me uneasy.)

Jet serves up one type of beer, rum punch, margaritas, and hot dogs which can be complimented only with obsessively arranged cans of Pringles. The bar, practically, has terrible selection but is buoyed by the owner and his love of flirting with girls on vacation and general good-naturedness. Everyone who sets foot in here calls him by his first name and those who don’t find it comfortable almost immediately.

A note on who comes through here: largely, only a few classes exist, aside from Belizians (which leaves Americans and British). First are the young hippies, here for the ruins, diving, or “experiencing the third world”. Ironically, these people are the least friendly. Second are the wealthy. They travel in couples who seem recently retired or are going on some exorbitant vacation package, or in groups of men with the calculating gaze of investors looking for an angle. In talking to these people, you notice they are evaluating you and pitching real estate in the shadiest possible way. Finally, there are the honeymooners, who are the most friendly, possibly due to the hangover of mixing matrimony and a big-ass party. I think it stands true still that travelling abroad gives you an excellent view back at your own countrymen.

After a few beers I meet a boozy former-cocktail waitress / current-tractor seller Belizian woman who sells me the story of her life as is only appropriately told on a bar stool.

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.”

 

In the freezer section of the grocery store they have some sort of dumpling named after the most famous panda of all time. Posted by Picasa