Paget’s Belize Journal #5

Saturday, June 19: Saturday in San Pedro

Gradually sorting out what I’m here to do. Last night I went
to the annual banquet of the Belize Tourism Industry Association
at the grand opening of a convention center facility – banquet,
awards, speeches, dance. Only a few differences between this
and the run-of-the-mill event those of you in association or
hotel management have experienced in your sleep. Food was buffet
and reasonable – mysterious beef bits, stuffed potatoes, tossed
and macaroni salad, cooked squash and carrots – where do these
chefs go to school?

Ah, but the dancing!! A very loud, very sexy band, Santino’s
Messengers, that played full out for two hours (that I know of)
for people who also danced full out for two hours – even the fat
ones, even the pregnant ones, even the 90 year-old ones. Then
I got tired and went home.

The meeting starts at 10:00 today, we’ll see who shows up.

Thanks for all the responses. And particular thanks to Rebecka
for the hint about mosquitos and tonic water. I can learn to
drink my rum that way.

Sunday, June 20: Some More About San Pedro

Well, yesterday I forgot to tell you one of the most important
things about San Pedro on Ambergris Caye. It bills itself as
a barefoot town and it appears that many people rarely wear shoes.
The new convention center where we met has a sand dance floor and a sand meeting room floor. That is,
there is tile around the edges and the sand isn’t very deep,
but it’s sand none-the-less. Which makes for some interesting
problems when you put your papers under your chair, for example.
Or put down your water glass. Actually, it’s when you pick up
your water glass because then you get sand all over your skirt
(or slacks or whatever). It only seems like this would work if
everyone at the meeting were wearing a bathing suit. And even
Belizeans don’t go to a national tourism conference in their
bathing suits. But I went to the dinner-dance barefoot.

The meeting was pretty typical – a small flurry of excitement
when someone challenged the chosen nominee for the presidency,
a scandal when we were served the banquet leftovers for lunch,
a long boring speech by a representative of some pan-American
eco-tourism organization, a huge debate (this was not an official
part of the program) about whether it was legit to feed the rays
and sharks so they would come around to thrill the sea-diving
tourists. Interestingly, the issue of how much ignorant abuse
a shark would take before it bit someone was glossed over –
perhaps for my benefit. Nurse sharks are said to be non-violent,
but I’m not sure I believe it. They get hungry, too, right?

Then the trip home in those island-hopping planes. We had
to overfly the runway once because the crab-catchers wouldn’t
be scared off the runway so we could land. The pilot was not
happy and I’m pretty sure someone’s father got called.

A laid back day today, I can’t believe it’s almost time to
come home. I’m getting Carribean braids today to try to extend
the feeling.

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