San Ignacio, Belize-Placencia, Belize
If you have ever been in the San Ignacio area, you know that Saturday mean market day. I am used to the market atmosphere because my days at Canton. Instead of selling junk at the World’s largest outdoor market, I am promoting organic produce at Belize’s largest open air market…nowhere near the same product but the atmosphere is the beautifully similar. Laughing kids running down packed aisles with hands full of overly greasy and sugary treats, merchants making their own money rather than a 9-5, and the joy of community in the air.
After a really cool talk with my new buddy Scott last night…I got up at 5 o’clock to pack my bag, print some Pro-Organic Flyers, and head to the market by 6:30, leaving me with about 3 hours of sleep. Bart and I loaded up his truck with a table and chairs and ventured into San Ignacio to set up the booth. Early market mornings are something I will always love, there are some things in life that are not guaranteed but things like Canton and the San Ignacio market are guaranteed to happen…or something is mad wrong. We spent the morning educating marketgoers on the Agro-chemical free co-op that we will be kicking off on Tuesday, got a few sign-ups but made a huge amount of new contacts who will definitely benefit the organization in the future.
After the market, Mary, Sparkle, and I were headed to the bus to begin our journey to Placencia for the next few days. We were 2 buses and a hokey pokey away from our tropical paradise. Our first bus was from San Ignacio to Belmopan ($3 BZ/$1.50US), this was about an hour long trip making frequent stops to pick up and drop off people along the way…I was able to make up for a little bit of sleep in this time. Upon arrival to Belmopan we were misinformed by a taxi driver that it would be $150BZ to get to Placencia from there and that it would be the only way we could guarantee to make it on time…my bs meter was going off of the charts. I pulled a bus terminal supervisor aside and asked him if the guy was lying to us to get money out of us and he shook his head, mentioning that if he would’ve called the guy out he could’ve gotten in trouble for taking business away from him. The nice man informed us that we would need to take the bus to Independence($15BZ/$7.50US) and do the Hokey Pokey to Placencia. We slipped on our dancing shoes and climbed on board the typical Belizean bus, an old US school bus
Just outside of Belmopan on the Hummingbird Highway, the bus slowed way down as traffic eased past a van with some guys standing on the other side of a guard rail. As we passed by I we noticed the men were wearing gloves and looking at a dead body, the pants were all sliced up as the corpse was laying in the dirt. This was the first time that I have ever seen a dead person, I was a little taken aback…the bus continued on as everyone gathered to one side to get a look at the victim of what seemed to be a brutal crime. It is hard to imagine the things that happen in this cruel world every day, but all we can do is just keep truckin’ and put out all of the positive energy that we can. After a few hours on the Hummingbird and a stop in Dangriga, we got to Independence and took a cab to the water taxi…time to get jiggy with it.
The Hokey Pokey is a water taxi that runs from Mango Creek(Independence) to the heart of Placencia, after a short wait and talk with some new friends from Canada it was time to hop aboard and dance across the sea. 10 minutes later we pull into the dock at Placencia and instantly I was overtaken by a wave of happiness, this town is so magical that it causes me to be in such a happy mood whenever I am here. A short walk to Sunset Point and a buzz of the buzzer signaled Edwin to come pick us up and take us across the canal to the Townhouse. I gave Mary and Sparkle my Mom’s room, we dropped our bags, changed clothes, and got to MOJO’s just in time for Happy Hour. Conch Ceviche, Veggie Spring Rolls, Fish Strips, and a great atmosphere sent us deep into a state of bliss. I love this village more than any place on earth.
There’s only one place on my Mom’s must eat list that I hadn’t tried yet, Tutti Frutti Gelato. They closed for the slow season to head back to Italy to stock up on fresh ingredients for the winter and reopened the day after I left for the internship. Endless rants and raves left me wondering what I was missing, but the wait was over. I immediately asked if they had any dairy-free options in the case, my options were Peach, Pineapple, Strawberry, and Banana. For just $5BZ/$2.50US I got a cup of half banana and half pineapple dairy-free gelato made from authentic Italian Gelato masters. I finally knew what I was missing, my life in Placencia was now complete. I don’t know how to describe how good this stuff is, it just melted in my mouth as I took small bites to savor the Italian Perfection. I will definitely be back tomorrow.
After enjoying mine, my expression convinced Mary and Sparkle to partake in the deliciousness. As we left there, I saw my friends who stayed at the lodge and I spent Thursday with at the Mayan ruins and San Ignacio. I invited them over after dinner so we ran to the supermarket and picked them up on the way back. We all walked down Sunset Point Drive, me and 5 friends that were complete strangers a month ago…now they were all holders of a special place in my heart and memory bank. It’s funny how the universe works sometimes.
We hungout on the palapa for a bit, talked about life and looked at the ocean…they took off after a bit to pack and get to bed so they can get up in the morning and drive back to Belize City, then fly back to NYC. I walked them back to their car and we all hugged good-bye for now, promising to see eachother again.
I walked back to the house with the ocean breeze following me along, no stars tonight but the sky is a beautiful deep black. Tomorrow we will contact some businesses about starting an organic buying group, taking the first step to getting some organic produce brought into the village at a price that everyone can afford. These are the steps that it takes to change the world. These are the drops of water that make up the ocean. Find your passion, make a plan, and take it one step at a time. Things will begin to work in your way that you could have never imagined. Life is good. The universe is better.