Spring in Belize
A princess arrives
Miscellaneous Facts and Lessons
On my last trip to Dangriga, I found out about a few things that I had been wondering about, didn't know or misunderstood.
Bus sandwiches. The "hamburgers" that they sell on the busses are actually bologna sandwiches and the chickenburgers are nice pieces of shredded chicken on a hamburger bun. Both with margarine, lettuce and ketchup. I still wouldn't buy one unless I saw the meat come out of a refrigerator and go into the sandwich. Which isn't going to happen.
Hitchhiking. I'm not a very good hitchhiker. I learned this because I had to catch a ride into Dangriga from Mike's farm (25 miles) and the bus didn't come and didn't come and when a car would come I got wary and didn't wave until I could see what the driver/passenger combination was, which was then too late. Finally a car stopped waaaay down the road and backed up to where I was standing forlornly in the hot sun with my bag. "Do you need a ride?" "Yes, please, if you have room." "Well, why didn't you just flag me down, then?" Ah. Mike was helping me, but he was also unloading the car and catching up on what had happened on the farm in the three days he had been gone, etc. or likely I would have had a ride sooner.
The van was full of some splinter Christian group -- one man/wife/teenager family and three extra men and an old Maya man who turned out to be another hitchhiker. I say splinter Christian group because their main message seemed to be that the Roman Catholic Church is a tool of the colonial/imperialist oppressors and people shouldn't be taken in by them. Seems a little bit late, but who knows? They were actually from San Ignacio, going to distribute pamphlets door-to-door in Dangriga and I give them credit for knowing where the Catholics are. Anyway, they seemed to be nice, friendly people otherwise and I was grateful for the ride. But I didn't tell them I was living in San Ignacio too.
Too much of a good thing. I'm apparently still subject to weird "frequency" food allergies -- you know, you eat too much of something and your body reacts in a strange way. This time it was mangoes. There are 28 or 32 or some such number of different kinds of mangoes here ranging in size from plums to cantaloupes and since it's mango season, and Victor grows lots of them, I ate lots of them. And after three days, I woke up with numb lips. I stopped eating mangoes and two days later, it was fine again. It didn't hurt, so I'll probably try again. Blue mangoes are absolutely incredible.
Getting ice in Dangriga. You may remember the last time I was here, I was told that you could buy ice from the fisherman's co-op or you could buy it "almost anywhere" for a shilling (BZ 25 cents) a bag. This turns out to be like a plastic sandwich bag of frozen water that you use in ice chests (not in drinks) and it IS possible to buy it lots of places, but in homes, not in stores. Victor's mother says that people buy a refrigerator on time and then they sell these little bags of ice to all their neighbors who don't have refrigerators yet to make enough money for the payments. Pretty enterprising.
Curing the stutters. Victor's mother also gave me a calabash, which is half a dried gourd (of the same name) used as a drinking utensil. She says it's not used much anymore except if a child "don't speak fast", which Laura interpreted for me as one who stutters. When I showed it to Pat at Naturalight later, she concurred and said her mother also had all the babies drink out of one as soon as they could to help them speak well in general. And that she also did it with her little girl and would with the new baby (due the end of June). Sure worked on Tessa.
Potato shortages, be specific. There's a potato shortage in Belize right now, but we didn't know that when Laura sent me out to buy potatoes one evening. So after I had tried 3 or 4 places, I went to the Creole bakery and asked them where I could buy potatoes. Oh, they said, go to S.P. Cheng, they always have potatoes. So I went there and they said sure, how much do you want? and I said 5 lbs and they came back with sweet potatoes. Oh, no, I said, regular potatoes, not sweet potatoes. These *are* regular potatoes, the girl said (all this negotiation among me, the Chinese-speaking grandpa and the Creole-speaking clerk). Finally Mrs. Cheng the younger saw we were getting nowhere and sorted us out. What I should have asked for was *Irish* potatoes. So they told me where to buy them. Belize just started growing (Irish) potatoes and they don't have enough. But they don't want to import them from Mexico again because of some trade deal they imposed they'd have to abandon somehow. Just have to eat rice until next season.
Geckos are homebodies. I was whining to Laura the other day that we had only small geckos in our house in San Ignacio, not nice big fat ones like she has, and many too many large spiders so I thought we would have to do some spraying. But she explained to me that geckos move in when they're small and stay pretty much at the same place their entire lives, not wandering far except to find a mate. So we should just wait for the geckos to grow up and as long as we saw them every day or two, we would be fine. Okay, we didn't really want to spray anyway.
Enough miscellany. It's my last week here and I have to sort
things -- what to give away and to whom, what to store for future
visits, what to bring back. And Mike is sending pineapple, both
fresh and dried and of course, I want to bring some of that lovely
French brandy. Lots to do and lots to organize. I'll try to write
once or twice more (and I still *love* getting comments and notes).