Letter from Belize no. 69
20th December 2017
Wow, winter came to Belize last week. 14°C (54°F) and we were frozen! But then you have to remember our house has no glass in the windows so natural air con at all times. Crazy world with snow and blizzards in the UK, -16°C in Ontario, 3 feet of snow on Vancouver Island and +40°C in Cape Town.
The highlight for us last month was a visit from my sister Anne, her first time to Belize and to the Retreat. She was only here for 10 days but we managed to give her, I think, a sense of life in this neck of the woods and do a bit of sight seeing as well.
The weather during first half of the trip was disappointing – quite a lot more rain than we had expected which meant dark days, no sun to heat the shower water and an unnecessarily enthusiastic welcoming committee of mosquitoes. But she was stoical and managed it with great fortitude.
We had some funny ‘it could only happen in Belize’ type incidents too like an encounter with a fierce looking traffic warden who caught me going the wrong way down a one way street (a genuine mistake) and then found me to have an expired drivers license (another genuine mistake) but who finally let me off on the condition I renewed the license immediately – which I did and it only took about half an hour to complete - amazing. And then there was the very friendly bus conductor who took the bus off the scheduled route just so I could stop off at a pharmacy.
Our touristy day out was to Lamanai, a Maya site said by the archeologists to be the most significant of all the sites in Belize, mainly I think because it was in existence over a very long period of time. You take a boat ride to get there which is great as you see a lot of amazing flora and fauna on the way.
The site of Lamanai is set right on a lagoon and is extensive. There are several temples, a ball court and the remains of a whole family home.
The lovely reflections on the way back were in both senses of the word – reflections on a nice day and in the water.
Corozal Town is getting a face lift in the form of some wonderful murals. Debra at the Corozal House of Culture has invited young (and one old) artists to paint on the walls for a project called Corozal Street Art Movement. I have been busy with a young woman called Maggie who is working on a remarkable piece and doing a great job. Mine is much less ambitious. Both are still a work in progress – and progress is slow. It can be hot out there when the sun is out.
Hot? you say, but she is wearing a fleece. This was on one of those chilly mornings. She is painting an amazing picture of a young girl with a Harpie Eagle on her arm. It is going to be really powerful.
Mine is actually painted on a permanently closed window on the building that in the days of British Colonial rule used to be Her Majesty’s Prison. It depicts those zillions of starlings that fly in formation making stunning patterns in the sky which I have only recently discovered is called a Murmuration of Starlings.
And that just leaves us to wish you all the best for Christmas and New Year. If it has been a tough year for you we wish the next may be easier and if it has been a good year we wish you another.
Henry and Rose and all at Gateway Retreat
WE WISH YOU ALL A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS