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Seine Bight January 12, 2008

Posted by Michael in Travel.
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Hey, I discovered today that although the local Belizean wifi hotspot does not work in my room, it connects if I take my laptop outside on our deck. It’s slow. This is a missed business opportunity. With very little investment, they could be raking in the internet access dollars from the tourists here.

Cathy went to bed early last night, so I drove with this young couple from Vancouver that we had met after dinner to a decrepit little Garifuna town just north of here called Seine Bight. This village was isolated for centuries, and is a bastion of Garifuna culture and language (pronounced: ga REEF oo na). A couple of guys on the resort staff had encouraged us to join them at a bar there. We found this hole-in-the-wall bar with a DJ that was an abysmal dump by U.S. standards, but the folks there were very relaxed and friendly. I started chatting with a few of the local girls, and eventually bribed a few of them with Belikan beer to dance with me.

It turns out that one of them, Charmeline, is normally the housekeeper for our unit at the resort but had been off work for a couple of days. She’ll be back at work tomorrow, so I was real nice to her and got her to agree to leave us extra coffee for the coffee maker in our little kitchen. She’s very proud of her niece, Christine, whom she has raised. Christine was there at the bar. At eighteen, she’s a beautiful young lady, and is getting excellent grades in the third form of her high school. Apparently she really likes biology. They’re hoping she’ll be able to continue her studies in Belmopan or Belize City after the fourth form of high school next year. Then I met Christine’s mom, Margaret, who is Charmeline’s sister (and who is an incredibly dirty dancer, by the way, based on my experience with her on the dance floor). I wondered why Charmeline had raised Christine when her mother was right there. Upon inquiry, Charmeline explained that she raised Christine because, at the time, Margaret already had five kids and Charmeline only had two, so she was tasked to raise Christine. She seems to have done a great job.

They had an interesting drink specialty sitting on top of the bar — a couple of huge glass bottles filled with cheap local gin and some kind of weed stuffed inside to infuse the gin with flavor. I tried it — the weed turned out to be something like fennel which gave the drink an anise flavor, like a home-made sambuca. It was good.

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