Let me tell you, this breakfast was so delicious! And the view was gorgeous.
After breakfast, we rushed right over to Ramon's to catch the boat taking people to snorkle and visit another of Belize's habited islands, Caye (pronounced Kee) Caulker. No, I don't swim so I definitely wasn't snorkling. I also wasn't going to swim with the sharks, but it was a great experience watching others do it. I, however, very much enjoyed staying on the boat with another doc student, listening to a wonderful history lesson from one of the crew members.
The lessons that this crew member shared were priceless. First he told us about his life: He is originally from the mainland, but at the age of 11, he was sent off to make a living for himself. On the mainland, the government had not created roads or other passageways for children to attend school past the primary level. Therefore, he hasn't had any formal education since age 11. But as it has proven true for generations ahead of me who sometimes never attended school past the 8th grade, the learning experiences obtained outside the parameters of a school building and the depth of the depth of their knowledge oftentimes has surpassed those who received diplomas and degrees. So was the case with this crew member.
Even though he says he doesn't know all of the history of Belize, I was fascinated by the depth of knowledge he has. He knew so much about his country's history and heritage; more than many U.S. citizens for sure.
As we sailed from the Ambergris Caye to Caye Caulker, he explained that the Caribbean Sea isn't polluted like other waters, especially around the U.S. The country protects the water and sea life by patrolling the area on both sides 24/7. Those caught trying to fish or pollute in this place will be heavily fined and will lose their boat license.
We talked about the diversity of the area. The languages spoken here. The food. We talked politics, which is normally taboo. I learned that a proud moment for the Belizians is when their prime minister signed a treaty with Guatemala which surprisingly was the same day that President Obama signed a treaty with Cuba. The crew member said they were happy for us and also happy for themselves, even though there still is a deep-seeded resentment towards Guatemala over the on-going border dispute. Other than Guatemala, according to this crew member, Belize makes no claim to having issues with any other country.
The crew member explained that there is no minimum wage here in Belize. In fact, even when chartering tours, the workers receive one flat rate for their work, regardless of how many passengers they carry. Therefore, receiving tips is crucial. Needless to say, I will tip everywhere tipping is expected.
After the snorkeling activities, our group spent a couple of hours on Caye Caulker. We ate at a wonderful restaurant. Ahh, the food was so good! I ordered curry chicken with rice and beans and coleslaw. Did I tell you that is was soo sooo good! I believe food is such an important part of one's culture. Food is such a fabulous medium to express one's culture.
While on Caye Caulker, I purchased a couple of souvenirs: a woven bracelet, a 5x7 art piece, and a coconut popsicle. That popsicle was so so good. So fresh.
Having a blast,