Postcard From Belize
Greetings friends! I hope you've all had a fabulous July. I've been taking a step back this month to recharge, and going away for a bit was definitely the cherry on top. I came back from my trip feeling refreshed, and jet-lagged, but mostly refreshed. I have an entire guide coming up later this week, but today I wanted to share three of my favorite stories -- and lots of photos -- from my time in San Pedro, Belize.
We woke up bright and early -- or alternatively dark and late as we woke up at 3:30am and it most certainly was not bright out yet -- on a Tuesday morning to head to the airport. Half asleep and coffeeless, I sat on the floor in JFK waiting to check in our luggage before going through security. I heard "excuse me" coming from my left side and turned to see an older woman with glasses staring down at me. She asked to borrow my phone, and as a New Yorker my immediate thought process was "is she going to run off with my phone if I give it to her...?" She must have seen the hesitation in my eyes because she quickly explained.
Her phone had died. She needed to call her daughter because she was going to Central America and couldn't find her keys for her house down there. I gave her my phone and waited as she talked to her daughter. Luckily she realized her keys had been in her bag all along. When she gave my phone back, relieved she hadn't secretly planned to rob me, I mentioned we were on our way to Central America too. Turns out we were both on our way to Belize, AND on the same flight. She told me about her home on the mainland and how after living in the US for decades, she retired to her birthplace, loving how simple life is there.
FAST FORWARD to boarding the plane. I had an aisle seat and had only just sat down when I saw my across-the-aisle buddy settling into hers. Who was it, you ask? None other than the same woman. You can imagine how happy I was that I hadn't been an overly weary New Yorker an hour earlier. We chatted until take off when I promptly fell asleep thinking about how if everyone in Belize is as lovely as she is, it was going to be a great trip.
One day while waiting for the water taxi from mainland Belize to San Pedro, we walked past a man selling coconuts. Intrigued, I stopped to talk to him. He had what looked like two different kinds of coconuts in front of him -- some yellow and some green. I asked him what the difference between them was. He said, "There is no difference. You and I were made with different skin tones, but the blood that runs through our veins is the same, just like these coconuts. The insides are the same." And I thought that was pretty neat.
Our last full day on the island, my family went on an all day trip to the Blue Hole. Before you read in outrage that I didn't accompany them to such an iconic site, let me explain my thought process. By this point, I had snorkeled more days than not. Plus, I felt like if I were to go to the Blue Hole, I'd rather dive than snorkel. But, I'm not diving trained. So, I decided to make a point to learn in the future, which would give me an excuse (as if I really needed one) to come back to Belize one day. While they were out at sea, I explored the island. Not before some good old coffee and book time, though.
There were workers building a structure of sorts on the beach near where we were staying. I absolutely love people watching, so I parked myself on a lounge chair right in front of the workers to simultaneously observe and read. They seemed amused by how interested I was. After a while I asked what they were building the structure for. I had assumed it was for a wedding, but it was for a baby shower. What a lucky baby, huh? They cut down palm tree leaves for the roof, and along with the leaves came tumbling coconuts. Contrary to my previous coconut story, I still hadn't gotten a chance to try one. The workers gathered all the coconuts and skillfully cut open the tops to drink the water. At this point, I had been a loyal observer for about an hour and a half. Another worker walked by and smiled asking if I was supervising. I laughed and said yes, yes I was.
They must have liked my silent company because when I looked up from my book again, one of the workers was holding out a cup of fresh coconut water for me. It was such a simple act of kindness, but I was filled to the brim with gratitude. And guys, it was DIVINE. Nothing like bottled/boxed coconut water, which I think tastes like garbage juice (or what I imagine garbage juice would taste like). Seriously, it was fantastic and I think if I lived there I'd drink fresh coconut water every day.
Belize, you're everything I hoped for and more. Until next time.