April, 2014 Archive

Belize Expedition–Day 6

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

April 17

I wake up before sunrise and find a meditation spot under a palapa during a downpour. Soon the sun returns.

Lionel Webb photo

We decide to remain here one more day and enjoy a long leisurely morning.  Around noon, John, Eman and I head south on a winding white path straddling a long narrow isthmus.  We pass a young couple led by a Belizean toward one of the cabanas, and next, a fully developed boardwalk and harbor on the west side of the island invisible to us earlier.  Then, hidden by tall palms and casuarina trees, we come upon a huge conical thatch-roofed lodge.  We walk up the steps to a verandah surrounding a 50 foot conical dome held up by rafters lashed to a wooden circle near the peak.  A mastlike pole at the center supports a circular counter roofed by its own thatched palapa.

DSCF1426.JPGPhoto credit
The floor is a mosaic tiled with multicolored pieces of varnished hardwood. On one side of the dome is a large well-stocked bar, and opposite a small gift shop, and between them a couch, armchair, coffee-table arrangement, behind which is mounted a well-stocked bookshelf.  At the table sits a large bearded man typing on a Mac laptop. (more…)

Belize Expedition–Day 5

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

April 16 2014

After home-brewed coffee and breakfast of leftovers, Joe goes fishing in the single kayak, Peter rests—sensibly pacing himself after his major surgery and also recovering from a back injury—and the rest of us return to the south wharf to revisit yesterday’s snorkeling paradise.  We encounter a group of local conch fisherman just back from a dive with hundreds of the magic-looking creatures in the bottom of their boat.  One cracks a hole in the shell with a pointed hammer at specified spot just below the cap, another sticks in a knife and detaches the inhabitant from the shell, a third grabs hold of the slippery crustacean and yanks it out and then tosses the empty shell onto a huge pile serving as a breakwater, and a fourth slices the edible meat from the gristle and drops it on a mound in the bottom of the boat. As we swim out toward the breakers at the edge of the reef, they take off for another load.

P4150335.JPG

Small children play in the water and a stingray with wings six feet wide glides by them coolly and disappears under the wharf. (more…)

Belize Expedition–Day 4

Monday, April 28th, 2014

April 15

I’m up early and meet the Di the cook bringing the coffee pot to the raised dining pavilion at 6:00 A.M. She and the staff drummed and danced till midnight and then went swimming, and she got up at 4:00 to start breakfast.  In answer to my questions she tells me some of her story, less carefree than her joyous presentation as cook.  She’s about to go home to her tiny village in the interior to see her grandson and three children.  Thirteen years ago she left her abusive husband after he hit her and she stabbed him with a kitchen knife, taking her kids and making her own way. Her sister, who was at the party last night and cooks at the adjoining resort, had a similar problem. After she saw her husband punch her, Di smashed his hand with a rock and won when the case went to court.

P4140148.JPG

I hear screams in Creole and loud laughter from the men’s dormitory above the cook shack. (more…)

Belize Expedition–Day 3

Monday, April 28th, 2014

April 14

Sunrise to the east no less grand than last night’s sunset to the west.

P4130110.JPG

After a breakfast featuring local bananas, pineapple, papaya, mango, and citrus, we’re offered a choice of activities. Joe and most of the men go out in a motor boat fishing with Mike and I choose paddle-board instruction with KIMike and several members of another tour group in a nearby wind-free lagoon.  It’s not hard for me to stand, paddle and learn some navigation tricks, but I refrain from trying a head stand and other balance poses choreographed by a yoga instructor in their party.

After fighting the wind on the way back, I meet Joe, whose first fishing experience has been getting a cut from snagging a big sting ray.

DSCF1322.JPGPhoto credit
The rest of his group have all caught fish. (more…)