From Belize to Shining Sea
My partner, Mia MacDonald
, and I have just returned from a winter vacation to Belize. Actually, I bid on the vacation at AR2006
last year: with half the proceeds going to FARM
, a quarter going to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
and a quarter going to help out the SHAC 7
. Anyway, we got seven nights at Jaguar Reef
ecolodge, just outside the village of Hopkins
, down the coast from Dangriga
, in Belize
Well, that was the plan. What we hadn't counted on was the snow storm that hit New York City the night before our departure on Monday, February 26, which meant that we spent the next day stuck in JFK trying to get to (and missing) our connection through Miami. Nor had we anticipated the chaos at Miami airport, where we were assured we needed to pick up our bags, then told we didn't need to because they couldn't be removed from the plane but that they would travel with us on the plane the next day from Miami to Belize. As it turned out, our bags flew ahead of us to Belize, which should make everyone who travels internationally very nervous! We were forced to stay overnight in a hotel, which was all well and good (it was nice to walk along the boardwalk in 70 degree weather, after the cold of NYC), but cut a day off our vacation.
Still, there were some interesting moments, including an encounter in Miami airport with a 93-year-old man, who'd just come back from visiting his children and grandchildren in New York City. When we found out that the Super Shuttle to our airport wouldn't arrive for another forty-five minutes, we shared a cab with him (he lived near our hotel on Miami Beach). Although physically frail ("All I do these days is visit doctors," he complained), he was sharp as a tack. He told us he'd emigrated with his family to Israel in, wait for it, 1921. A real pioneer. Once he found out that I came from England, he proceeded to tell me about the famous Jew who played for Liverpool Football Club, and scored so many goals nobody could believe it. He didn't know the guy's name, and nor did I, but the wonders of the Internet tell me that he was Ronnie Rosenthal
, who scored a hat-trick on debut. The old man was exactly right! He lamented that his building, which had once been filled with Jews, was now filled with Cubans, and that, while he spoke five languages, Spanish wasn't one of them. Intriguingly, the area where he lived and we were staying seemed to be a strongly Orthodox Jewish community. However, we detected from the way he spoke about his family, that he wasn't so religious and that that was the reason why he didn't live with his family in New York, but chose to live apart from them. That, and the weather, of course.
More on our time in Belize coming up in the next few days.