I admit it – one trip to Belize which led to another and yet a third – I am hooked on Belize! It was the first travelling I did in an English-speaking country. Prior to this I travelled in Spanish-speaking countries and while people are friendly and understanding and generous to me with my broken Spanish, the depth of our exchanges are limited. In Belize the people were warm and open and allowed me an intimate look into their lives. And I could understand what they were saying!
Of the many comments you will read about Belize, the friendliness of the people is front and centre. I attest that this is true. On my first trip I spent a lot of time travelling the country using transfer services. (I heard the bus system was risky and it was difficult to get on a bus during the Christmas season.) I opted for private drivers arranged through my various hotels. This allowed me hours of non-stop conversation where I got to know my drivers, their lives, families, philosophies, political views and religious ones. Belize is a country of many cultures: Spanish, Garífuna, Creole, East Indian, Chinese, Maya, Mennonite; a true melting pot of the races.
This is some of the highlights of my fascinating conversations:
- there isn’t enough money to fight forest fires so they let them burn
- sexuality is a very touchy subject and some things are best hidden in the closet
- there is a distrust of Guatemala
- Mennonites can immigrate without any hurdles
- the hardest working people in Belize are Mennonites (from what I see most Belizean are hard-working)
- there was so much Mayan activity in this country that farmers pick up relics when they work their fields
- there are miles of unexplored caves
- these caves likely contain more Mayan relics
- people greet you on the street in small towns
- most small town corner stores have Chinese owners
- the best deals in real estate are for locals
- the pot holes in the Mountain Pine Ridge keep the place special
- a good daily workout with a machete in the jungle keeps you young and healthy
In the following posts I will share my experiences in this beautiful country. Enjoy – I know I sure did!