Nov
18
2008

More from Belize

UPDATE: Alex has posted some wonderful photos of our trip here:
http://tumultimedia.org/clients/belize/index.htm
I particularly like the ones of the schoolkids..

Our snorkeling trip was nice. Not the best snorkeling I´ve ever done, but pretty good. We saw lots of coral (most of which is dead, unfortunately) and tons of critters: pikefish, small beautiful jellyfish that moved like they were in outer space, sea urchins (ouch!), angel fish, grouper, barracuda, porcupine, parrot fish, snapper. I passed by a couple of nurse sharks just hanging out waiting for dinner. They´re pretty docile, but have a wonderful etymology:  “Nurse sharks are so-called because their method of feeding on prey larger than their mouths is to bite down and slowly suck the prey’s flesh down their throats..”
James pointed out a spotted eagle ray that I had missed. They´re massive creatures, and literally fly through the water. Apparently they can jump several metres above the water, too, which I would love to see.

Occassionally “square grouper” washes up on shore, which is how a lot of the locals get rich. Square grouper is, of course, bags of cocaine that are dumped overboard by drug runners being chased by the feds. Usually it´s boats from further south (Columbia) headed for Mexico.

The weed here is cheap, plentiful, and strong. There was so much of it we didn’t know what to do with it all. I wish I liked it more, but it just makes me cloudy.

Our cabin had a hummingbird feeder which I filled up, and we got a few coming around. As well as a sweet, very pregnant dog who looked as if she was about to spit them out right on our porch!
Marisol walked past a large boa constrictor on the road. A couple of the locals caught it and were going to keep it as a pet.

Sol gave me a haircut using kids scissors borrowed from the one-room schoolhouse she´s been volunteering at. I´m really impressed with her (and the haircut!) teaching and volunteering everywhere she goes.

I´m learning from Alex that everything goes better with lime juice (and salt). No matter the food, squirting a bit of lime on it makes it perk right up. He´s also taught me that Peace Corps volunteers are the best source of local information. I´ll have to remember to look up the local offices whever I go.
Alex also demonstrated how to open a coconut with one swift smack against the tree such that the end of it pops open, ready to use as a spout. That guy is amazing!

The Belizean phone book looks like a magazine. Every person and every business in the entire country fits into one slim booklet.

Placencia feels a bit like Fire Island, what with the lack of cars and what’s billed as the world’s narrowest street connecting all the houses and businesses. [Although when you actually investigate this Guinness claim, it falls apart..]

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