Letter from Belize no. 48

‍22nd November 2015

I love receiving your responses to my letters as you so often share similar sightings or experiences you may have had. So last month after I had described the effects of Hurricane Janet in 1955 a friend wrote that it brought back vivid memories of a young curate at her local church who was very active in raising funds for Belize following the hurricane. She recalls joining in with much enthusiasm and how because of this she knew about Belize from a young age. Isn’t that a great story?

I had a great reunion with another old friend from Zimbabwe this month. Shirley Dock, who now lives in England, was attending a family wedding in Canun and we managed a precision timing meeting in Tulum which is south of Cancun and a 4 hour bus ride from Belize. It was so fantastic and in a perfect setting with her son and charming family at Tulum ruins and then Coba, some very impressive ruins about 45 minutes away.

The outstanding difference between Mexico’s Maya sites and those in Belize is the number of tourists. Before I left a friend asked if I would go to Starbucks at Tulum ruins and get her some coffee beans. Starbucks?? At a sacred Maya site?? Oh yes, along with loads of shops, and Mexican Maya people dressed in traditional garb doing performances and plenty of touristy curios and bus loads of people.

Coba is much older (600 – 900 AD) with an estimated population of 50 000 in its time and where I was very delighted to at last see a Ball Court intact.

A vicious sounding game was played here, more for ceremonial and sacrificial purposes or to resolve disputes between rival communities than entertainment, where the players had to pass a solid rubber ball through the ring you can see in the right hand photo using only their hips, elbows or knees and it could continue until the death of one of the contestants.

I have to confess I am quite a woos when it comes to travelling on my own to places I don’t know and where I cannot speak the language. But I did it and it was wonderful. I was put up very luxuriously by a gorgeous family I met down here who manage some holiday condos in Tulum (by chance the husband is also originally from Zimbabwe). I travelled by bus and I have a great taxi driver to took me to the bus station in Chetumal over the border and helped me to buy my ticket and met me on my return.

Back home I am loving the gradual change in season. Usually by this time it is much cooler but the late rains and so far pretty mild weather in the US seem to have kept the hot season going on for longer than we have become used to. On the forest floor all sorts of things are going on.

Beautiful fungi and leaf cutting ants carrying not leaves but the flowers from a parasite that is flowering profusely at the moment.

I have been taking delight in the flowering of this lily. Each day it grows so much. I can’t imagine all the energy that goes into that growth.

A picture a day. How gorgeous is that?

And then on a good day I managed to capture this. Not easy because of the constant fluttery movement.

And here is some more of our local produce. This papaya fell against the house. They have very shallow roots.

My love to you all

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