Spring in Belize
A princess arrives
I promised to tell you a little more about Corozal, so I will. This town of about 9,000 on the very northern border of Belize just across from Mexico is, predictably, more like a Mexican town than most others in Belize. There aren't as many Creoles and hardly any Garifuna, it's mostly Mestizo, Mexican and Mayan. And of course, the Chinese and Korean shop-keepers and restaurant owners that are all over the world. And the "Rasta" hustlers. Called Rascals by some and pronounced "rah-scals."
The language of the street is almost exclusively Spanish. Other signs of the Mexican orientation are the central square typical of Mexican communities, the proliferation of other public speaking, meeting and music areas and the statuary. The most dominant statue in town is of a nursing mother, but there are a number of other statues scattered here and there. The town is located on Corozal Bay, a "sub-bay" of the Bay of Honduras which borders all of Belize.
The town fathers have done a nice job of preserving public space along the bay; the public market is set on the bay, and the tourist center and a public basketball/soccer court. And there is a park that runs along the bay for a quarter mile or more. The bay is beautiful, reflecting the sky in many shades of blue, green and lavender when clear and a strange milky green when stirred up. I only saw the clear colors because we had a small taste of the rainy season while I was there. A storm that blew up quite quickly and dumped probably an inch-and-a-half of water in less than an hour. When it was over the water in the bay was clear and beautiful and you could see to the bottom in the shallow spots. But then the weather cleared and by the next morning it was like green hobnail glass again -- a phenomenon that I don't understand, and no one could explain to me, either.
Although there are a few nice wooden houses, Corozal has seen some significant hurricane action in the last 50 years and most re-building has been cinderblock and stucco. In the countryside, many of the houses are just built by lashing together small (4" diameter) tree trunks, like the stockades of the old west, which makes you think about the term "stick-built" housing. Likewise, although there are lots of thatched roofs outside of town, mostly in town it's corrugated "tin" or cement -- in descending order of both likelihood of blowing away in a hurricane and in heat dissipation. It's always cool under a thatched roof, cooler even than under the trees from which the thatch is made, but they only last 5 - 10 years and then there is the hurricane risk. And the bugs and lizards which like to live in them. A few of the modern homes try to get the best of both worlds -- having a cement roof and then adding a laid thatch (as oppose to the more expensive woven thatch), separated from the roof by spacers a foot or so high. This is not very attractive and, I would guess, not very effective. A Mayan man with whom I was discussing the issue said in order to make it work, you have to add a lounging story -- a whole room with a woven thatched roof (but no walls) that you just expect to get blown away some day.
I stayed at a wonderful place close to the market and on the bay called Hok'ol K'in, a name which means something like "Greeting the Rising Sun" in Mayan. It is owned by an American woman and a Mayan (I think) man. Great people, good food, reasonable prices, comfy hammocks, hot showers (a treat!), kitchen and bar available 24 hrs a day. So if anyone goes to Corozal, stay there.
Although the setting is beautiful, like most Belizean towns (maybe it's a third-world phenomenon) there is trash and garbage all over the place. There are plenty of public trash receptacles but people just don't seem to have the habit of using them. So that's sad. It's even more trashy right now (and this is true in San Ignacio also) because the town council has asked everyone to clean out the (open) drainage ditches in anticipation of the rainy season, but it doesn't look like they've made any arrangements to pick up the extra piles of junk.
But all in all quite beautiful and the fresh fish, which I have been missing in San Ignacio, is wonderful.
p.s. Went to the fair and the Mennonite Community of Spanish
Lookout. I'll tell you about them soon, but now I'm off visiting
in Dangriga again. Hope your weekend is great.