Monday, December 23, 2013

First impressions


It has been quite a challange becoming acclimatized to our new surroundings.  Belize is another world. The sights, sounds, smells, ROADS, traffic, people and general ambiance is sometimes a little overwhelming but it is still wonderful.

The perception that people have of Belize, produced from ads for travel and investment, is that Belize is this tropical paradise where people lounge on beaches under palm trees and sip drinks of varying kinds from coconut bowls.  While there are some places like that, the truth is that Belize is a very poor, underdeveloped, third-world country. Most of the people are poor having only a bare subsistance income.  Even so, they are a happy people, very friendly and helpful.  


The mixture of languages heard in the street is interesting.  It is technically an English speaking country but the English that is commonly spoken has an accent and lilt that is rather musical but at the same time practically unintelligible.  When they break into Creole, we're almost completely out of luck.  Most people can speak "proper" English ,as they call it, and have no problem understanding us but we have to get our ears accustomed to them.  Then there are the Spanish speakers.  Sister Tague can actually understand and converse with them more easily but that kind of leaves Elder Tague out.  

Speaking of streets, the streets and roads are TERRIBLE!!!  There are multiple potholes in every "paved" street (and paved is a very optimistic and overblown description).  Many are a foot or more deep.  It is like driving through a maze to try to navigate between them or, when impossible to avoid, choose the most shallow.  (It is my considered opinion that the franchise for car shocks is owned by a relative of a powerful political figure. heh heh).  The alley behind our house in Midland would be considered a pretty good road in Belize.  There are a few cement streets but most, if they are paved at all, are a thin layer of poorly mixed asphalt and gravel.  They get washed out constantly and the holes are filled with sand and/or gravel which are promptly washed out in the next rain. (It has rained nearly every day since we arrived). Driving through the city can be very hard on the back and spine.  The roads are shared equally with pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, buses, and trucks.  It can be quite confusing and many times hair-raising.  

Here are some typical scenes from Belize City. Notice the potholes in front of the Church building.


                                         The Belizean answer to Wendy's

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