Life in Belize by a US retiree.
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Topic: Belize time is different
Rick is a US retiree from Colorado living in Corozal town on the Mexican border of Belize with his Social Security fixed income. He has fun! It's all in the attitude.
A SLICE OF LIFE IN THE TROPICS of Northern Belize. -- Rick Zahniser, 24 May, 2005
Yesterday was an interesting day for me
First, a little scene setting. The Corozal School District decided,
about two weeks ago, that they would have a "Festival of Arts and
and began planning ahead. They decided to have it on Commonwealth Day
(May 23 -- yesterday) and started planning. They had a few meetings,
Brad Moore, my erstwhile sideman and teaching colleague, now in charge
of music at CCC (Corozal Community College) asked me to be a judge.
They had a judges meeting Friday, but forget to tell the judges (except
for me) and I was rehearsing, so I missed it. Brad said it was pretty
I already had some other things planned. for Monday. It is laundry
and I did my customary two loads, hung up the dark load, and then
about the white load until it sat in the machine for three or four
hours. I hung it up, and brought in the dark load, which was already
dry. (It was a HOT HOT day.) Our praise/jazz musical group (which you
can see at http://belizenorth.com/levites.htm) was scheduled to
at 3PM. I figured I'd quit early. However, they didn't show up until
little after 4, and the drums needed to be assembled because we used
them at a church the night before, so we really didn't get started
playing until almost 4:30. (This is pretty typical in Belize. Time is
just not as important here as it is in some other places.) So, after
one piece, I had to stop and take a shower and get dressed to be a
judge. As soon as I got in the shower I discovered a million ants
coming into the bathroom thru the hole in the wall where the right
faucet comes in. I got some bug spray and stemmed the tide of ants
enuf to take my shower. Ed (our sax man) said "That means it's going
rain, hard" and I realized that all of the little workers had been
carrying eggs, a sure sign of impending deluge. (They bring them in,
and try to place them up high in your house -- kinda hard, since I have
a cement roof/ceiling, but they are relentless.)
I was late getting to the show, but it didn't start until 5:30.(30
minutes late) There were 12 women judges and me. Most of them were
judging drama and dance, and Gail, a young Garifuna lady, and I were
judging the musical items. The stage was gaily decorated with spinners
and fake flowers, and the backdrop announced the festival in foot-high
gold letters -- perhaps the only billing that it got! In spite of the
lack of advanced billing, there were about 400 folks, mostly parents
friends, waiting to watch the show. We sang the national anthem, and a
pastor prayed, and the show was on.
The dancers were mostly outfitted in Kriol Outfits, gaily flowered, and
they were wonderful. One couple were dressed as Matador and Do?a, and
were superb (they ultimately won a Gold.) The skits were, as usual, in
Kriol, because that's what the kids speak everyday, but I noticed that
could understand a lot more of it than I could when I was teaching at
CCC in 2000-2001. The music was "pretty OK" but I had judging sheets
which let me assign points for the various aspects of the performance
and the judging was straight forward. After the show, the MC took me
to task for giving a Silver (instead of Gold) to a young man whom he
said "Won two Karaokes." Tonight I will explain the judging sheets to
him and point out that there are two judges, and we simply assign
to each performer.
About an hour into the show, it started to rain. Now the CCC
is targeted as a Hurricane Shelter, but they have never put sides on
So it is a 400 x 400 steel framework, with a 20 foot Zinc (tin)
and a cafeteria and storage along the right side. The wind was blowing
from the open left side, and people began to move their chairs in
the cafeteria. Brad moved the left-hand PA speaker, which was getting
soaked. Eventually we moved the judges' tables to the right, The
was wet, which affected the blocking. The rain turned into a typical
"Torrential Rain," pounding the tin roof so that we could hardly talk
each other, much less hear the performers. Brad turned up the sound
we continued until about 7:30 PM when we turned in our judging sheets,
and they figured the winners for the night. Occasionally, these
torrential rains turn the area surrounding the auditorium into a lake,
but this is the first real rain we have had in six months, and the dry
earth soaked it up.
In the course of the performance, the lights went out a couple of times
-- each a frightening episode with gasps and screams -- but they came
back on right away.
I had left Los Levites to lock up my place, and I came home to find all
my louvers shut up tight, and Ernie (the killer kitty) safe inside.
Thank goodness they were there to close the place up -- otherwise
everything would have been soaked. As was my load of laundry -- still
on the line. Five minutes after I got home, the power went off, and
stayed off for about an hour and a half. I went to bed and woke up
about one-thirty in the morning. Wide awake and hungry, I checked my
e-mail, had a "smoothie" -- made with frozen papaya chunks and fresh
milk -- and Ernie and I went back to bed.
This morning, I brought in my whites, spun them dry, and hung them out
in the bright bright day, which promises to be hot, hot, hot.
There will be two more nights of judging, and I hope that it won't
rain. But I can only count on one thing. They will start late.
Looking forward to two more nights of "El Maestro de la Musica en
Copyright, Sr_ric, 2005. All rights reserved.
Permission granted by e-mail, May 2005.
Posted by falconview0
at 1:45 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 24 May 2005 6:31 PM EDT