Yesterday we did as little as humanly possible. We spent a lot of time hanging around the pool. It was crazy hot. On our way back from breakfast we heard some music so we wandered over to the basketball court where it was coming from. It looked like some kind of children's festival so of course I grabbed by camera and paid my dollar to get in. There were children running and dancing all over the place. Some were dressed up in traditional clothing. It instantly made you smile!
They were celebrating their heritage which has deep historical roots. Belize is a multiethnic country with residents of African, Caribbean, Amerindian, European, and Asian descent. Colonstation, slavery and immigration have played a big role in affecting the ethnic diversity and population. Some of the common names you will run across are Mestizo, Garifuna, and Creole. I won't go into explanation. That is what Google is for.
Belize was once a British colony called the British Honduras. in 1981 they became independant. It is a very young country. The main language spoke and taught is English, although once you get deeper into the mainland you run in to more Spanish. You
don't need to know Spanish to get around but it's nice to have a few simple phrases to pull out of your back pocket.
In our 5 years we've spent here, we have gotten to know quite a few of the locals. It's always nice to come back and see familiar faces each year. These are entrepreneurial hard working people. Some of them hold down 2 or more jobs to make ends meet and many have launched their own little businesses in tiny shops or at stands along the beach. On Caye Caulker there is little to no pan handling and people are proud to earn there way in this tough business environment, one that would make some of us westernears cringe.
So when you are visiting Belize or any where else in the world, remember your manners! Be courteous. It will not kill you to smile and say thank you. Respect and take interest in their culture. You will be amazed at what you will learn and you will probably realize how much you have in common. A couple nights ago we enjoyed the company of two dear friends we have made over the past 5 years.
We have been invited to their homes for dinner, have met their spouses, and watched their children grow. These are the things that we cherish and know we would have missed out on had we chosen to spend our vacations in all inclusive resorts or on a cruise ship (not that there is anything wrong with that).
So today we might do a few more things. I managed to get my butt out of bed and took a few photos of the sun rising. Tonight is St. Patrick's day celebrations so we will probably go and check out how the Belizeans celebrate St. Patty's day. Green rum maybe?
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