Paget’s Belize Journal #6

Monday, June 21: Braids, Snakes and Dogs

Well, I’m not sure the Caribbean braids are an unqualified
success. They’re certainly cooler, but I have to be very careful
and wear my hat all the time in order not to get a checkered
sunburn on my scalp. Tony and Therese’s 5-year-old daughter said
my hair looked beautiful, but the staff comments went: something,
something “many plat” something, something “young
gel” (this is in Creole which has just enough recognizable
words that you can’t ignore it altogether). I doubt if this means
the hairdo made me a perfect 10.

I’m starting to pack up and organize for my departure to Belize
City tomorrow (Tuesday) and then the trip home Wednesday. My
biggest problem is trying to figure out how to tip. There are
dozens of staff people at the resort and you don’t tip meal-by-meal
if you are a resort resident. So, I guess I’ll leave an
envelope for the dining room kitchen staff and for the housekeeping
staff, but then what about the security, grounds and maintenance
folks who are so entertaining in the early morning (I’m getting
up at 6:00am, don’t know why)?

An example or two: last Thursday Obedio, a Honduran who
does most of the raking and disposal of coconut shells and so
forth paced around in a semi-agitated state until Jobe, the head
of daytime security, arrived. He had found a “combola”
in the tree. This turns out to be a smallish boa constrictor,
but tough. They got it out of the tree with a stick, then Jobe
took off his shirt and carried it around for all to admire. A
fine figure of a man and a fine figure of a snake – I’ve
got pictures.

Saturday night there were few guests, so Sunday
morning the night security dog pack got to have a swim and stay
up “late,” i.e., not be put back in the cage until
after 7:00 am. And boy, were they delighted to see me when I
came down for coffee. So delighted that they played a show-off
game tossing around a baby bird they had found on the ground
and crunching it up and nuzzling me with bloody muzzles. The
staff found this hilarious. And I wasn’t really upset as I would
have been if a dog from my neighborhood had done something similar
(or my grand-dog LeGuin, who never would).

In some ways, it’s good that I can adjust to different circumstances,
different realities and different cultural values, I guess. I
mean, that is a major point in this adventure. But it’s also
disturbing to think that I might just as easily become indifferent
to things that are now important to me – an erosion of values.
Well, it’s something to guard against.

Time for me to get back to work. Tony wants me to look at
and revise a press release about a small business merger they’re
involved in. Now writing speeches is my least favorite thing
to do, and press releases are a close second. But hey, gotta
re-pay my trip to San Pedro somehow. Final installment tomorrow
if I get a chance. If not, a wrap up when I get back.