2.13.2016

Journal, March 18, 1976 AM

We’re in San Ignacio, in Cayo District of Belize. We have heard nothing but negative stuff about Belize since we’ve been here! A Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) told us Belizeans (especially in the capital) are distrustful of gringos {North Americans} & she and another guy both said Belize City was a real dump - not to go there to spend much time. Well, we’re going today anyway!

In this town the people speak some Spanish and some Creole (a form of bastardized English which is almost impossible for us to follow). Most everyone can speak English as well, so we have no problem being understood, etc. We are far from the coast, yet there are many Caribbean Blacks even in San Ignacio, & they were playing some “Caribbean beat” music over at the local soccer field when we went over to watch them practicing last evening.

The people here aren’t farmers. The PCV said they import almost everything but bananas, oranges, and rice & beans. Thus food is expensive, & there are no cheap El Salvador style "comedors {small restaurants}", at least not here. The people don’t keep animals around the house (chickens, pigs, a cow) as in El Salvador & Guatemala, even though there is grass & surely food garbage to feed them. They aren’t farmers! The PCV says there are about 60,000 Belizean "creoles {natives}" in the States - mostly illegally - and this is part of the reason for their standoffishness toward gringos. The U.S. has been cracking down on illegal aliens lately.

We left Flores at 10 yesterday, after a morning swim. What clear warm (super clean) water, & full of little fish that would come up & tickle your legs if you sat still long enough! The bus ride was dusty, but not bad, & we managed to bluff the Guatemala border people into not charging us extra, even though we went through before 2 PM, when they "officially" reopen the border. We had a scare on the Belize side when they asked how much money we were carrying. Then Jan showed them her airline ticket, and they must have assumed it was for both of us, ‘cause they passed us right through!

We hope to see some Mayan ruins & maybe take a swim before we leave here today, con suerte {with luck}.

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