Why is it that when most people visit The Caribbeans they are hesitant to leave the port unless it’s for an excursion of some sort, or to go to the beach?
Upon arriving to Belize City, Belize both Lou and I were sure that we wanted more from our trip there than just staying in port or just doing an excursion. Since we were cruising on the Carnival Vista, we had limited time on the island and didn’t want to “play it safe” by staying in port, taking a taxi ride around, or going to some tourist eatery. We wanted to have real experience and intermingle with the locals.
When we reached the island by water taxi, we were instantly taken aback by the beauty of the port and the pretty light blue water surrounding us.
After entering the port I walked up to a security guard at Diamonds International and asked if he knew where we could go to get real authentic Belizean food, and he suggested Ms.Patty’s. So we set out on foot out of the port to Ms.Patty’s, while getting food Lou was approached by a man with dreads who asked if we wanted fresh coconuts, Lou’s response was sure why not. We walked over to a covered seating area where about six or seven locals were and took a seat while “Puna” (I’m sure I spelled that wrong) opened up some coconuts for us. A man named Leonard Jr. was sitting there and we began talking to him about culture/history, Belize, and tourism.
One of my favorite things to do is to talk and get to know people. So I was elated that I was able to sit there with my husband and speak with this man about life. I asked about the history of Belize, because initially I thought it was a Spanish speaking island but much to my surprise the people there looked like me and spoke English just like I did. Leonard Jr. told us that Belize was a British Caribbean Island and that the people their spoke English and British Creole, much like the Creole we hear in the states in Louisiana except in the states its’s French Creole. He told us that when tourist come to the island they are always so afraid to come out and intermingle with the locals, which is crazy because “why would we hurt you when you give us money”.
Belize is a cruise port, a tourist city so much of their money, their way of life is dependent on us… the tourist.
The entire time we were talking to Leonard Jr. our good friend Puna kept the fresh coconuts coming, and even threw in some Belizean Rum for Lou to try with his coconut, which was actually pretty good. As we continued to talk to Leonard we ate our food, then it began to rain.
Leonard was extremely hospitable. He asked how I felt about cigarettes (I detest the smell) before lighting his, and when it began to rain he literally came and stood on the side of us so the rain would hit his back and not us. He hand makes jewelry so I bought a necklace & bracelet combo for my little sister. Puna didn’t charge us for any of the coconuts but we paid him anyway, because so much love was shown to us.
If you’re a traveler, an explorer, a tourist, please I beg of you actually give people a chance. How can you explore the world but not meet the people of the places you are exploring? Isn’t that what traveling is all about?
To the people of Belize, to Leonard Jr. and Puna and Ms.Patty, thank you for your hospitality, your love. Thanks for welcoming us to your corner of the world. I look forward to visiting you again!