Thursday, February 11, 2010

Belize: enter the country


I've got my micro laptop, I've got my illicit feeling but completely legit internet hookup from Tully's (apparently the best coffee in Seattle area, better than starbucks, which is so ubiquitous now that they are starting to open small shops that look like independent coffee shops, because people are getting tired of them ruling the world, and want to feel like they are supporting local business.)
And I've got my journal with the notes and scrawlings from my Belize trip.

I'm at a dilemma though: I'm not sure whether to just tell the whole story in as much detail as I can remember, or snippets that are interesting, or spend a lot of time putting together the most interesting bits in the best flow said the best way, creating something completely different from the truth of the experience and perhaps more interesting to read. Which is what I suppose most writers do. Except most writers have an agenda, like, "prove that abortion is a good thing" or "get the editor to buy my story" whereas my main motivation is, "create something that keeps me from having to repeat my stories umpteen times to everyone I know."

In which case, I suppose that answers my question: I will do what I always do on this blog, what I enjoy doing the most, and shoot entirely from the hip. There is a reason I like Improve dance more than any other form.

So: you've already got the beginning of the journey, back in the archives, as I was waiting for my plane, at SeaTac airport. SeaTac is weird, in that it is more expensive to drive to the airport yourself, because of the cost of airport parking. It's like twenty-five dollars a day. holy fuck! erm.. I was trying to swear less. anyways:

the longest leg of the journey was actually within the united states, down to Houston-Bush international airport, which I hope is named for senior, not junior, because I don't think junior deserves anything useful named after him.

Next, was a flight to belize international airport, the smallest international airport I have ever been too. It's smaller than the teeny airport I'm used to flying out of from iowa. There are five gates total, and one security line. The flight there is... I think under three hours. From there I got on a teeny prop plane, with room for maybe ten not too heavy people, which picked up and dropped of people like a bus, as it flew deeper and deeper into the jungle. Every ten or fifteen minutes, it would land at a single runway in the middle of jungle, with a single room building next to it, which was the "airport" and a few people would get on, a few off. I was heading to Punta Gorda, the final stop.

Looking down from the plane as we flew along the coast, I saw some farms, a few red lines cutting through the green, which I assumed were unpaved roads connecting distant villages (later this was confirmed. there are very few paved roads in Belize.) And a few houses. Belize City, which I flew into, was a fair size (and I would not recommend anyone stay there any longer than nessiary.) but aside from that, most of the stops didn't seem to have much human habitation, which was more than fine with me.

I got off at Punta Gorda, which the locals refer to as PG (which confused me at first, because I thought they were saying they were "going to fiji" when they meant pee-gee) and met with a car of Tracker students, heading off to the Cotton Tree Lodge. Including Roxanne, the woman responsible for finding and informing me of Reef CI, the diving expedition company I spent the last five days in Belize with. (fuck you, proper english :D ! ) And Sara, a girl about my age, who I met up with at Bush International, since we were taking the same flight.

Roxanne is a nice, vibrant middle aged woman who is part of an aroma therapy business, and is going down to Egypt soon, to peruse one of the oldest sources of perfumes and incenses in the world, and has done close to 400 dives. You'll see these people when I get my pictures up, (hopefully I remembered to get some head shots.)

Sara is a little older than me, and more experienced with primitive skills than I will probably ever be, barring my going down in a plane crash and having to survive for a year before making my escape via home-made sail boat. Which Sara, by the way, is working on right now. No, seriously, she's building a boat in her back yard, by hand. A sail boat. shit these people make me feel lazy. I met sara at Scout Class this summer. She was volunteering, since she had already taken the class. She likes Ren-Fair type stuff, and, if I heard correctly, likes making medieval armor replica's. When I was with her on the plane in, she was reading a book with a black cover written by guy from the military, called something like, "The Psychology of Battle." that was all about the psychological effects of actually killing someone, what that did to people, and how to cope and get yourself to a place where you can function when you are in a life and death battle situation.

She was very kind, sweet, and spiritual, in the earthy way that people interested in nature and the ways of the earth, are. So don’t get a mistaken idea about her personality, but I would definitely choose here over me in the event of zombie apocalypse.

Also in the car up to the Cotton Tree Lodge was Tom Brown Jr. himself, who I guess had arrived just before us, and was waiting to have a full car, to get shuttled out. That was cool. After reading Tom's books, and seeing him teach, it's hard not to get an image of him that is a cross between an action movie hero and Gandalf. But in person, up close and hanging out with him in the much less formal environment (there was, unlike most tracker classes, a lot of time to do your own thing, relax, enjoy the scenery) I got a bit more experience with his everyday persona. He's a New Jersey boy. He was a mischievous bastard as a kid. The kind that hid rotten opossums in the teachers desk drawer. He has an acerbic, hilarious wit, constantly teasing the people who know him well. Behind it all is an unmistakable caring, but he doesn't every try to appear in any way holy or saintly. He's just tom. Oh, and for anyone who's met him in a class and been ignored by him, and thus think he's an asshole, fyi: he is partially deaf in the vocal range of sound, so he probably just didn't hear you. He sometimes doesn't bother to correct these misperceptions, because he doesn't care what people think of him (this is unmistakable, observing him.) Anyways, It would take a good bit more description to give a good picture of what tom is actually like, as it would with anyone. Even reading all the books, when I finally met him in my standard class, he was different than I picture. And in subsequent classes, my image of him continued to change and refine, as new facets came out.

After an hour and a half of driving I arrived at the Cotton Tree Lodge. It gets it's name from an enormous cotton tree that grows up right near the entrance. This is not a cotton tree you have seen before. It is a jungle variety, and it is breathtaking. There must be some pictures in my soon to be album of it. It does on of those things where the roots start extending out, way up on it's trunk, and are solid going down into the earth, creating partitions around the trunk. Probably twenty people could hold hands around it. maybe ten, up around the trunk, where there are no roots. The walkway in has an assortment of rainforest greenery, including cacao tree's, with there odd purple fruits growing out of branches and trunk alike. The cotton tree lodge makes it's own chocolate, and it is delicious, though expensive, because everything is hand done, and no shortcuts are taken.

Apparently, Cacao was called "The food of the gods." by the Mayans, back when they were building temples and sacrificing people. They made chocolate back then too, but only the rulers where allowed to eat it.

(insert long rant about what assholes all those rulers who claimed special divinity and higher status than the people that served them, were.)

On the way in we passed Mennonites and Mayan villages. The Mayans lived here originally, but got driven out by whoever it was that concurred this region, but more recently they came back. And the Mennonites came with industrial machinery because the land had a lot of sun, rain, and nutrients, and so they could make a lot of money farming it, live in an idealic landscape, and convert the heathens, all in one stroke. There are a lot of schools, in Belize, and they all have crosses on them and christian denominations. In fact, on the plane ride back out of punta gorda, I was sitting next to a nice, clean-cut man who was in the process of setting up a nice christian high school somewhere. He had just flown in to meet with the government, who were more than happy to give him the land to build the school, and now he was going back to the US, to fundraise to get the money to build it.

I was torn, in how to feel: he's building a school for kids. That's supposed to be a good, empowering thing, right? But it was going to be a christian school. It would impose American and christian values both, on these kids. Was that even a good thing? I am so vehemently against prosthilitizing and converting people over to your religion. It makes me furious and sick to my stomach. It is the same force that drove the inquisition, that drove nazism, that drives the islamic extremists, that drives the american warmongers. It goes something like this:

these people are different. they must become like us, and give us there wealth, or die, and we will take it. some people are more interested in the wealth, some people are more interested in the differentness being eliminated, both are monstrous and against life, against the natural tendency towards diversity that exists in nature.

This thinking kills everything it comes in contact with.

And a reminder, to myself and others, that to fight the energy of destruction, with hate, anger, violence, is to fight the energy of destruction with the energy of destruction, and thus increase it. To effectively fight the energy of destruction, you must use the energy of creation. The energy of love.

ok, that's all for this installment. More as time allows.

(as a side fuck you: to google, and the blogger team, for once again making my spell check inoperable. you bastards, it's work to have to copy past/repast this into word. If I was paying you, I'd pay you less now.)

No comments:

Post a Comment