Home is Where we Hook-up

February 27, 2008

And I speak Creole, too

Filed under: Travel,Travel in Central America — Heligypsy @ 2:45 pm

Part of what I am so fond of in living in this marina, are all the characters I get to interact with. I’m coooool around here, you know. I toss my head back and say “hey” and “s’it goin’?” to the guys around the marina. No big dimple smiles and sing song hello’s, nah, I briskly put my hand up, flick my fingers just slightly – this is how I wave. Very cool. It’s a better perception for them to have of me, I think, like, I’m friendly but you don’t want to mess with me. Which is true. And I get a kick out of being so laid back.

Chav, one of the employees here, rides around on his bike, bobs his head slightly and says,

“Ariiiight, ariiiight.”

Even though it’s not a question, I reply with something like “Yep” or “right”. This is his way of having a fairly complete conversation, an implied statement about life is good, things are going along just fine, no problems. Good.

The man who is going to teach Keith and I to dive is a large Samoan looking guy – he says a lot of people mistake him for Hawaiian or Samoan, but insists he is Belizean. Yeah, me too! Mark is kinda “the guy” around the marina to know, and around here it is ALL about who you know. His greeting is different than Chav’s, he always asks,

“How ya doin’ ma dear?”

Belizeans use dear, sweety, sugar, darlin’, sweetheart and other similar terms, liberally in their greetings of friends and perfect strangers alike. Takes some getting used to.

One morning while walking along the boardwalk, I passed one of our friends, I don’t know his name, but he is still a friend. Every bit of 6’5″ tall, he always wears work gloves and a back support. I have never seen him without his ballcap and orange lensed glasses that contrast with his night black skin. He and I each raise one arm, and make one high, wide, sweep through the air towards each other.

“Maanin Ma’am” He calls out to me.

“Mornin” I call back.

A couple of guys who were walking behind me started to laugh. One said,

“So, you speak kriol now?”

I also laughed and said “No, I don’t speak Creole, why, did I just then?”

“Ya, Maanin is how you say it in kriol.” I didn’t bother to clarify that I thought I’d used more “r” in my greeting, I’ll be sure to leave it out next time.

As I retold that story to a new friend, Carol, in a cab on the way home yesterday, the driver said to me,

“I also hear you speak the kriol, you don’t?”

I guess I do!

Here are a couple fun links about the Kriol language, one has a very short MP3 file with kwik kwik guide to pronunciation, give it a listen, it’s fun 🙂

http://www.belizeanjourneys.com/features/kriol/newsletter.html

Kriol Mini Dictionary 

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3 Comments »

  1. I can see you flickin your fingers and hear you speak’n the 1anguages!! I love it.
    Diving!!!!

    Comment by Debbe — February 29, 2008 @ 3:35 pm | Reply

  2. Tooo funny. So important to understand native customs, sounds like you got it nailed. You’ll have to teach us this summer, I hear you two might be ’round this way.

    Comment by Laura — February 29, 2008 @ 4:51 pm | Reply

  3. Sounds like you are having a great time! Diving…how fun! I would be scared to do that but I bet it would be awesome.

    Comment by Tishia Lee — March 6, 2008 @ 12:23 pm | Reply


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