Well, as many of you surmised, today I find myself in Belize. Specifically, Caye Caulker, Belize. I have 3 true passions in my life: gardening; travel and food. I was hoping to find a bit to appease all 3 here, and I am happy to report that I have not been disappointed.
Caye Caulker is a small island off the coast of mainland Belize. It is considered to be a tourist destination, but is less tourist focused than its more famous sister town of San Pedro. Believe it or not, you have heard of San Pedro before. If you are a child of the eighties or just listed to any kind of pop music, you heard Madonna reminisce of San Pedro in her song La Isla Bonita. Caye Caulker is all that, but better.
There are no cars here, just bikes and golf carts. And because of this, the streets are not really streets. They are more of a general idea of how far apart the buildings should be built.
Flowers abound. They creep in to the nooks and crannies and conspire to rip apart the buildings because the structures are an affront to their scented sensibilities. But the buildings remain and instead the tourists mistake the flowers assault as simple beauty.
Palm trees of all kinds punctuate the island. Mostly coconut, but there are others. In the morning they rustle in the breeze that comes over the piers and tell tales of the pirates that once ran these waters. Unfortunately, it is in a language I can’t understand. I appreciate their intentions though and hope they do not throw a coconut at me for my lack of tree talk education.
This is not to say that this paradise is perfect. Nor should it be. If you find what you think is a perfect paradise, you are either not looking hard enough or you paid more money than I make in a year to stay where you are at.
Poverty is large on the island. It looms over you as you walk through town. Caye Caulker is not a developed enough tourist destination to have successfully shoved the poorer natives out of their homes and out of the sight of paying customers (because after all, who wants to be reminded of the real world when you just dropped a couple grand a person on an all inclusive). The people who live here are happy though, as much as we are in our own lives, maybe a bit more though, admittedly, perhaps a bit less. Children still play and laugh, adults still work and live. People fall in love, fight and take the trash out. They just do it without the cell phones, video games and gas prices that interrupt our daily lives. I imagine they have their own interruptions. Ones that I will never understand as I can only observe their daily lives. Still, it is reassuring to see all of it here. It means that this is real. It is not a whitewashed dream.
As for food, there is plenty and all of it looks good. On the piers, men unload and clean their catches, rock lobsters, conch and fish of all colors. And hour later, you can have it on your plate at one of the local restaurants. Last night I had a conch ceviche that was simply amazing. It started out tangy and spicy and ended up sweet and left a pleasant burn on the tongue as you swallowed.
Alright, I suppose you are all tired of my sappy poetic waxing. Besides, you all would like to know who won the snow blower. The winner of the snow blower is Karla Hal.
Congratulations! And I hope that you do not have call to use it for many weeks to come.