Monday, January 18, 2010

U betta Belieze it: Imprints Collated

So today we got back from a cultural excursion at Gayle's Point, traversing the Mayan Mountains and surviving the Hummingbird Lookout Highway (believe me, it's treacherous) on the way back.

But first, let me share with you my host family and service-learning experience. Imagine a kind grandmotherly figure cooking for you and meeting your every need in a rather rustic and lower-income household sort of way; add to this an opportunity to build, from scratch, a septic holding cell for a building which serves as a community center with the local construction crew; and culminate with the feeding of emaciated cows and horses as well as the sampling of the local wines, and you have yourself one heck of a trip, via Crooked Tree, in Belize.

I even got a chance to read through the Defective version of Mandeville's Travels, read through A Book of Middle English and of course cherry-top my reading lust (or is it list) with Piers Anthony's Night Mare (uhm, yeah...a Xanth novel!). Ah...good reading.

I'm now counting down the hours before I depart this country; the kids are extemporizing around the proverbial fire pit, and I just got back with Dr. A from the local watering hole called "Amigos".

All in all, my trip to Belize has been a fruitful one and it was good to see, touch, taste and feel the political, ethnic and racial, as well as the otherwise, cultural Girardian violence evoked by the indigenous hordes. I am the better for it, and I fondly will remember (in the medieval subjunctive):

Whom Jah bless, no man curse...

'Till next we meet Belize, Belizeans and creeping things of this jungle world.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Belize: Imprint of Day 2

Today was not as eventful as yeasterday; still, we were able to see some Mayan ruins and shop at an old village called San Ignacio--a remnant community founded by Spanish missionaries.

The food has been quite delightful although some folks continue to get sick. The "G-man" survived today although give it a few hours.

I should have mentioned in my earlier post that the "G-man's" legend began with the loss of a hat while investigating the very cockpit of the plane that landed us in Miami. This of course was followed by a slip in the mud, the loss of a sandle, the loss of an oar, possible poison branches scratching his face on a bus ride, the flipping of a canoe, him floating down the river, and who knows what else has occurred.

Suffice it to say that the trip continues to be a rather syncretic mixture of cultural awareness, good food and spectacular flora and fauna opportunities. Tomorrow, we go spelunking.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Belize: Imprint of Day 1

So today we went to the Belize Zoo for a guided, "educational" tour to observe the animals indigenous to this Central American paradise. Look! Let me just say that it was a grand experience--complete with a tapir, the national animal of Belize by the way, peeing on me.

Not to be outdone, I fed a live jaguar named Junior, which incidentally means in Mayan: the one who kills its prey in one bound. After the aromatic zoo, we came back to base to eat a hearty lunch.

Our next trip was to canoe the Sibun River. And yes, some of our members fell in and we did have to rescue them. Awesome! In the midst of water rapids, minor tide pools, the largest orange iguanas known to man, we left no one behind on this expedition. Even the "G-man" was saved. Ah yes, the "G-man" is fast becoming the student explorer of legend.

Dr. A got the runs and I just have bad gas, but other than that we continue to be excited. Up next: Mayan ruins and "shopping" in San Ignacio.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Belize Proem: imprints from a Cruzan Medievalist

I woke up today too early to recount. Why? I was getting ready to go to Belize, my first Third World Country visit. I am traveling with my beautiful fiancee, Dr. A, and 15 students from Eckerd College.

The trip is under the academese rhetoric of "service learning," and I am sure this is indeed the case, but we are really going there for shock value. If an educated American falls in the Belizean rain forest, do the local flora and fauna hear it? Yeah,...I know.

So anyway, what is a medievalist doing in Belize to begin with? Well, I speak Spanish and Creole so my translating skill set should come in handy. By wait! Was it not formerly British Honduras? And then again, is not the official language English, one dialect removed from a king's English?

Yep! So again, why is a medievalist in Belize? Hmmm...this is indeed a question that will be addressed in a more everyday, informal manner. What?! A diary? A journal? Well, maybe more of what Whitman considered his leaves of grass. Perhaps, these ramblings, like Dr. Johnson's narrative attempts, can be considered...uhm...imprints.

So hang in there! I will hold nothing back, and I do mean nothing.