Home is Where we Hook-up

February 18, 2008

Ohhhhhhh, You’re Belizean…

Filed under: Travel,Travel in Central America — Heligypsy @ 5:29 pm

I love Belize. My friend Caroline from Jr. College told me in 1988 that I would, and she was right. Wish I could find her and tell her so.

I stood in the laundry room of the marina this morning and had a 15 minute conversation with a man who works in communications for the American Embassy in Belmopan, 45 minutes south of here. His is the boat in dry dock that little mama chose to have her pups under, and that’s what got the two of us talking (never mind he was going in to use the bathroom, and…he was using the womens…) He and his family have traveled extensively, but it’s the Caribbean that has captured his heart. We both say it at the same time,

“There’s no stress”

I, of course, make the motion of gliding my hands out from the sides of my body. He just stays, leaned against a door jam as he’s been since the beginning of the conversation. I’m telling you folks, seriously, come here to unwind, it happens quickly.

Keith has had his Belizean work permit for the better part of 2 months, I have a dependency Visa from just about the same time. Both are good until this time next year, this makes us Belizean. We get a “locals” discount. This cracks me up. Keith shrugged off the potential savings at one of the ruin sites, something about the difference in the few bucks meaning more to the caretakers of the ruin than to us. Little did he know, the trick is to not take the ticket issued…that’s where the real difference is made. The corruption of this country is nothing if it is not completely on the table. Ok?

Yesterday we took a Sunday drive. We were not going far, or for long, but we just wanted to get out. Heading for one destination, we turned at another, Jaguar Paw, a place we’d been meaning to explore for awhile. Isn’t that the definition of a Sunday Drive?

Surprisingly, the road was fantastic. Paved and not potholed, this means big money in this country, and for us, it meant we could relax and just keep going. We missed the Jaguar Paw – tourism is not at its finest around here, signage is a problem and businesses are often behind shut gates. Fortunately, in Belize, where you end up is equally as good as where you intended to be – insert Western cliche – “It’s all good”.

The road ended at an Archaeological Reserve. A ticket booth had been built between the end of the road and the parking lot.

“You going tubing?” The guy behind the glass asked.

“No. We live here.” Keith replied.

“Ohhhhhhh, You’re Belizean.” The ticket guy finished, waving us along to park.

We wished we had brought our suits, going tubing looked like a fine idea, and lots of people were partaking. All along a shaded gravel walk-way were small corrals filled with inner-tubes, and “guides” offering to take us tubing. By now we had the phrasing down,

“Nah, s’ok, we live here”

Off we went to walk into the jungle, wade into the river, and explore like the locals were able. Keith convinced me to follow him “off trail” (I swear from one time to the next I am not going too…but I always do) to look for what might have been coatimundi, or even a tapir, for sure a toucan that we had heard earlier was back in that way. Soon enough, I lost sight of him, and began feeling less than prepared to be trekking in the jungle. I mean, most people at least have a machete to hack along this growth, not to mention that I’d forgotten bug spray, was walking in open toed shoes and had no water….this went on inside my head for a few minutes as I stood atop a vine claimed tree stump under the shade of a banana tree.

Butterflies were surfing on the refreshing breeze, I scanned the tree tops for Toucans (and glanced at my feet occasionally looking for a Fer De Lance, the aggressive and deadly snake I’d learned about). When Keith emerged from the distance, he did so clutching a beautiful purple flower, like a morning glory but 15 times the size. It’s like that here in the jungle, take any common house plant of garden flower and expand it 15 times. A person could wrap themselves in a single philodendron leaf here. I put the lovely flower behind my ear and we trekked on out.

Before we left the reserve, we assured the guide, Lewis, that had approached us before the others, that we would call and arrange a tubing expedition. He offered that we could get in on a “night” tubing tour – and though I don’t know the real difference between tubing through a cave in the night or in the day, I suspect it’s because we are Belizean that we received the offer.




  1. I love that phrase “butterflies surfing the breeze”!!

    Yeah, when you said you went off the path, I’m thinking … are you crazy?!

    Who knew Bro as a romantic? Beautiful flower, and you look like a yokel with that tan.

    Comment by Laura — February 19, 2008 @ 7:18 pm | Reply

  2. Sounds like a perfect day. I love the photo (I love all your photos!) and you are getting very brown 🙂

    Comment by JennH — March 9, 2008 @ 7:59 pm | Reply

  3. Looking good and looking tan!! The ‘Balizean’ life is being good to you guys! Can’t wait to see you again!

    Comment by Bonnie K. ;-) — March 19, 2008 @ 8:04 pm | Reply

  4. Wow, it’s nice to read people’s experiences when in Belize. I always hope that they are good ones. Hope you don’t mind me reading your story. A true Belizean tho would have gone cave tubing while drinking, came out to explore in one of the caves and then was too tipsy and thought all the water had disappeared since inside the caves the water lays like glass at the top of the cave and reflects the ceiling of the cave. True story I tell you – doesn’t really happen to all Belizeans though.

    Comment by Jenx — September 18, 2009 @ 4:06 pm | Reply

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