Next morning is for departures. As we cook coffee and oatmeal at our campsite, Ismael the volleyball coach, guide, drummer and singer is solemnly raking the sand of the whole island compound. He’s transformed the ceremonial space of last night’s fire and chanting to a clean white carpet. I ask him about the chants and he tells me that Garifuna compose songs for everything, fishing, cooking, loss of love, sadness—all come from the soul.
We will be taken by motor boat back to Dangriga to retrieve our stashed belongings and stand together for the last time.
From there Joe and I will go to the interior to spend two nights at Mommaloots, an ecoresort in the jungle where we encounter more fascinating people and memorable sights. Peter, John, Lionel, Andy and Eban will remain in Belize for several more days, enjoying new adventures.
On the flight back to Houston I have a short conversation with a young man hardly 30 sitting next to me who’s just downed two little bottles of vodka purchased from the attendant. He’s returning from a five-day trip during which he bought a lot near the beach in a resort subdivision outside of Belize City for $230,000 USD. It’s an investment for his retirement, secure, he says, because of the way the place is growing. “Maybe,” I say, “though with the way sea level is rising, you never know.” As we fly over the Yucatan coast near Cancun, I ask where he’s from. “Saskatchewan,” he replies, “but right now I’m headed back to work in northern Alberta.” “Tar sands?” I inquire. “Yep” is the answer.