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essays | places


Belize

a fugacious ripple


 

   
   T
hat cabby sure knew how to step on it, and it took me a moment to realize that he was doing all that good stepping being one-legged. Slamming on the gas and clutch in rapid alternation, he neglected the breaks for the most part. It was fine by me. That boat from Belize City to Caye Caulker wasn’t gonna wait for me, and my appointment at the Cuban embassy was cutting it close. No matter. All trips that day were brought to timely and satisfying conclusion. I had lunch at a dingy shack that felt like a crossover of Chinese restaurant and dive bar while pondering the otherness of Belize: a chunk of Caribbean that got lost in a Latin American neighborhood.

Upon arrival to the island, I went to look for the Brits who’d lent me money in Guatemala when I was penniless, yet again. Unlike the other times, it hadn’t been anyone’s fault – no robbery, no theft, no stupidity – but merely a series of unfortunate events. It was the first time in my life that I went hungry, but not for much longer than a microsecond. Fortunately, my money troubles were no longer troubling after the ATM in Belize City was cooperative and the Western Union in Caye Caulker too. Now it was time to retrieve my camera, which I’d given the Brits as collateral in spite of their protesting.

I enjoyed the Creole intermezzo after two and a half years in Latin America, even though the yolos made me cringe, and the Bob Marley vibes were thick enough to knock you into a reggae coma; unlike the subtle and silent underwater motion-symphony composed by two eagle rays that played with me as though they knew things.

In the end, I was no more than a fugacious ripple on these azure waters, but obviously that’s all we ever are, and all we are apt to be.




 

a glimpse
 

 
passages   REV | "Revving the engine is enough to lure them," explained our captain. Then he fed them anyway. Right off Belize's Caye Caulker, nurse sharks live alongside stingrays, eagle rays, manatees and other neighbors in an oceanic vicinity known as Shark Ray Alley. Local boat operators use bait in preparation of a touristic snorkel encounter with the harmless animals in the shallow and crystal clear Caribbean waters. The ethically dubious feeding practice has conditioned the sharks to line up in front of the boats by the mere sound of an outboard and raises the question of how this unnatural dependence and behavior will affect the animals in the long run.

Shark-Ray-Alley, Caye Caulker / Belize · 2014