Well I haven’t written this week because it’s been exhausting and frankly an interesting experience. Monday was the beginning of review week at school. This basically was more test taking for my students as they needed more grades in the grade book. Students then did eventually do some review. My teacher signed out the projector and had the students play a jeopardy game until….the power went out. So then we did nothing. On Wednesday and Thursday they usually have religion in the morning. My teacher teaches one of the Catholic classes so I was somewhat excited. There was a miscommunication on whether he were going to have religion on Wednesday so my teacher had nothing planned so we did nothing. You’d think since we had religion Wednesday, he’d have prepared something for Thursday… Nope, same thing…nothing. Luckily I brought my book that day.
Now to explain Tuesday. Tuesday was a holiday called Garifuna Settlement day. This day celebrates when the Garifuna people came ashore to Belize from Africa. This holiday is full of dance, drums, and traditional food. We had made plans to go to Dangriga, one of the Garifuna towns in southern Belize. We arranged the trip with the teacher from Galen University who picked us up from the airport. He claimed fun was mandatory and he was the one to go to for fun, so we agreed to go with him. He had promised a unique cultural experience with a ride to Dangriga in time for the reenactment of the boat coming ashore, the parade, a meal, and drum making craft activity. We nought this sounded like a great deal. However, this day kind of stunk. We got to Dangriga late and didn’t see the reenactment. We set up drums and microphones in the church and missed the parade festivities. We did see some of it as they danced to the church. We then sat in a catholic mass for two and a half hours in Garifuna which is impossible to understand. After the mass, we were starving and were informed that we would then be watching them perform at a park where there might be food. There was no food, we were late, and luckily didn’t stay long. Next, we went to a stand on the side of the main road for food. We had hudut which is a traditional Garifuna food that the locals wouldn’t eat. It is soup with fish in it but these were the worst pieces of fish with eyeballs popping out so I had a coke for lunch. From lunch we went to the drum making place. We expected to make our own little memento and cover it which skin and tie it up and get to take it home. Instead, all 20 something of the people that went made one drum that we didn’t get to finish and that Galen will keep. The process was neat and we tried to participate when we could but this was still a lot of standing around. And we could see the parade from a distance where we were…so we missed that too except for one float which we saw by accident leaving town. This was not worth our money and are working on possibly getting a refund. We’ll see.
Then the weekend came and we went down to Punta Gorda with Dr. August. This was a lot of fun. We saw the sleeping giant (a mountain that looks like a man lying down), orange banana, and grapefruit farms, waterfalls, Mayan villages, Valerie’s mom and step dad and his beautiful artwork, and much more. We got to Punta Gorda and while Dr. August was observing a teacher, we soaked up a little sun then hung out in a coffee shop to pass the time. From there we drove to the peninsula of Placencia. This place is beautiful and is full of lovely vacation homes. Not sure real estate in this area would be a good investment however because the water could just soak the place in no time. We stayed in a cheap little cabana on the beach which turned out to be close to food, shopping, and the beach. We ate at a couple good places on the beach and tried to soak up some sun on Saturday but the sun didn’t want to cooperate and come out from behind the clouds. We found an amazing breakfast spot though and met a couple who retired there from Pennsylvania. They made some mean pancakes. We had a great weekend and had to get up early on Sunday morning to catch the bus to get back to Belmopan. Bus rides are interesting here because they drive too fast around curvy roads. Many small prayers were said along the ride as I was sitting above the back tire that they kept stopping to work on. I thought I was doomed. I may just be being dramatic but roads aren’t the safest here…and full of potholes. I don’t think I’ll ever complain about little potholes in the states though.
Sunday, today, we’re planning on going to Herman’s cave and he blue hole by the cave but I’m not sure of the plan right now so I’ll have to update later!
Some photos of Dangriga, Punta Gorda, and Placencia. I have more on my canon camera but can’t upload those yet. So more to come.