Food of the Gods

Some time ago, I wrote a post about Belizean food. But I didn’t mention all the delicious sweet things that the country produces – from Black Cakes to Coconut Tarts to Rice Puddings to Tres Leches (Three Milks) Cakes. And with most of these desserts packed full of sugar and soaked in evaporated or condensed milk, their sweet deliciousness is only matched by their sugary and fatty unhealthiness. Wash that lot down with a bottle of Coke and ponder why 60% the locals are overweight and 15% have diabetes… Continue reading

Goff’s Caye

There are over 400 islands in Belize, ranging in size from Ambergris Caye (with its population of over 13,000 and its bustling capital of San Pedro, one of the five largest towns in the country), all the way down to places like Laughing Bird Caye, tiny scraps of sand and palm trees that cover an acre or two at most, and where you’re never more than a few metres from the sea. Continue reading

The Living Maya Experience

As I’ve mentioned previously, the southern Belizean district of Toledo is home to the majority of Belize’s Maya inhabitants, with around 20,000 of them spread over 60 villages.  And while many of them seem happy to live in their thatched wooden houses and tend to their beans and corn on the farm, living the kinds of rural lives their people have lived for generations, some of them are slowly embracing the kinds of cultural tourism that the nearby Garifuna people have been pioneering. Continue reading

Maya Ruins and Missing Keys

As I mentioned in my last post, as pretty and quiet and relaxing as the progressive Mennonite village of Blue Creek is, there isn’t very much to do there (to be honest, there isn’t really anything to do there).  But there is a large Maya ruin south-west of the village at La Milpa, and that’s where my travelling companion Maki and I ended up on Sunday afternoon.  I promised I’d post the details of that day (and some of you may already know that it didn’t go entirely to plan); and here they are. Continue reading

The Mennonites of Belize

Belize may be small, but it’s certainly not homogenous.  With a population of just 330,000 people, this tiny country contains a diversity of races that’s unusually large and surprisingly harmonious.  To put it fairly crudely, you could say that Belize is indigenously Maya, ethnically Mestizo, and politically Creole.  But while Mestizo and Creole form the majority of the population (and give Belize its Central American meets Caribbean flavour), several other ethnicities live here, including Garifuna, Chinese, Indian, and Lebanese. Continue reading

The Aggregations of the Crustaceans – Part 2

The weekend after San Pedro’s Lobsterfest, and I’m back in the cayes, feasting once again on the delicious spiny little critters – only this time, I’m in Caye Caulker.  And I’m not spending all my time quaffing rum punches and lounging about (not ALL my time, anyway) – I’m working.  Like our trip to the Ag Show back in May, the BCVI is on an awareness-raising mission / fund-raising drive – this time, to raise money for our Rehab department and their work.  As part of the BCVI’s mission to both eradicate blindness and to rehabilitate those who are already irrevocably blind, our Rehab officers know the 1,200 people in Belize who are on our blind register, and work with them, their families, schools, and employers, to help them lead as independent lives as possible.  This not only involves the BCVI paying for the staff and their time, but also for the materials and equipment they supply; plus, the BCVI doesn’t charge its clients for these services (many of whom probably wouldn’t be able to pay anyway).  So this vital service costs us a truckload of money to provide, but doesn’t generate any income (as a non-profit organisation, nothing we do [or sell] generates a huge amount of income).  Hence the importance of fund-raising. Continue reading

The Aggregations of the Crustaceans – Part 1

Belize’s tropical waters are home to a smorgasbord of tasty marine life, including the Caribbean Spiny Lobster.  It’s an ugly but delicious sea insect (lobsters are arthropods, just like shrimps, crabs, scorpions, and spiders – remember that, the next time you say you love prawn cocktail but get all grossed out by someone eating a bug on TV), and it’s a very popular seafood menu item here.  So popular in fact, that the Fisheries Department has a season (and size limit) on them – lobster season runs from June to February; so for almost all of the first half of every year (the lobsters mating and spawning season), it’s not on the menu (but it’s conch season then, so you can feast on delicious sea snails instead!). Continue reading