Monday, March 27, 2000

Nature's Way

For lunch we went to the Punta Caliente for lunch and what a great lunch it was. I had hudut which is similar to the sere we had at Clarissa Falls. A whole snapper is fried and then served in a soup made of coconut milk and other seasonings. Alongside it was served a mound of mashed, seasoned plaintain that was delicious. Add a Beliken beer and I felt as if I had died and gone to heaven for my birthday.

The breeze was blowing through the building and it was deliciously cool. Susan had been feeling the effects of a high carbo, low fiber diet so she opted for stewed beans and rice as opposed to rice and beans. Rice and beans are cooked together with coconut milk, while stewed beans and rice are served separately.

Back at the hotel, we were very lazy and it just felt right to hang out and do nothing. We were thinking about going to listen to Punta Rock at the hotel, but thinking about it was as close as we got. Punta Rock is a combination of calypso and West African rythyms that is peculiar to Belize. Why would we want to go and have our ears pounded when we have the sound of the waves on the shore right across the street and the almost-sambai moon shining in through the window. It may not be the way a lot of people would celebrate a birthday, but for me this is heaven. Besides, as much as I enjoy drumming I think it would have been just a bit too much for two unattached women to walk into a bar with a lot of dancing, singing Garifunas rocking out to the beat.

We have been drinking gallons of water in this heat and the back of the car is filled with quart - or as the Creoles pronounce it "kwart" - plastic bottles. But we were getting low on supplies so I thought I'd find a store and get a supply for the evening. Diane, the owner of the guest house, was sitting at the front gate surrounded by her five children, the oldest giving her a manicure. When I asked where the closest store was, she said, "Go up the road and turn left at the mango tree."

I discovered plaintain chips at the store - and we are hooked. Not only are they delicious and made in Belize, but they are very high in the necessary fiber. So my birthday dinner consisted of plaintain chips, coco yam chips and a papaya sliced very carefully and eaten from the point of my pocket knife. The pineapple will have to wait till I have a plate or the resident ants will be all over the juice which will surely spill on the planked floor.

The birds' dawn chorus woke me after sleeping like a log with the breeze blowing over me. I heard people up really early going to catch the bus. Just another reason for us not to travel by public transportation. But for those who must, the system appears to be fairly reliable. Susan was still snoozing and I enjoyed the solitude of the morning as the sun rose over the Caribbean, lighting up the billowing cumulous clouds on the horizon. A slight, warm breeze ruffled the trees outside as I contemplated the day, and whether we would have running water enough to do any laundry!

The downside of staying in these little guest houses is that sometimes what we consider necessities, like continuous availability of running water, don't exist. It's sort of luck of the draw whether the water is running or not!

Both of us feel lazy today and decided to do "just one more night" here. This place is heavenly and every plant I know lives here. Even avocados grow, right alongside the guava trees, just like in South Africa. Granadillas are growing and orchids sprout out of trees. It really is a Garden of Eden and I think I have found my home. As Jimmy Buffet sings, "You can have the rest of everything I own, 'cause I have found me a home." The rent is cheap, fruit is plentiful, internet access is available via wireless modem. Airtime is fairly inexpensive so what else do I need? When people come to visit I will recommend that they fly from Belize straight to PG.


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