Category Archives: FOOD
Time flies when you love where you live. And when you love what you do.
My mission is accomplished and the countdown is on to return home and plan for my next challenge.
I’m enjoying as much as I can, one more time, of the things I love about Belize and living in Belize (and Caye Caulker). Aside from the obvious — all my wonderful friends, old and new — here is a non-exhaustive list of what I will miss:
- The Caribbean Sea at my doorstep (literally)
- Taking swimming work breaks (write, swim, write… swim!)
- Impromptu island hopping to San Pedro
- Stew chicken and rice and beans with a splash of Marie Sharpe, and all of the other yummy Belizean food
- My adopted nieces and nephews (my friends’ kids) screaming “Lilyyyy”and running to hug me every time they see me
- The dukunu man, always greeting me with “my African sister” and slipping an extra dukunu or two in my bag
- Hopping on a snorkel trip to the reef, in just a few minutes
- Watching and photographing sunsets on Caye Caulker
- Enjoying a nice cold Belikin and ceviche on a hot day
- Waving and seeing familiar faces every day while walking or running errands
- Getting pampered at Purple Passion
- Waking up to birds and watching pelicans fly
- Sleeping to the sound of swaying palm leaves and coconuts falling
- Speaking Kriol (or trying) and Spanish with my friends
- Hopping around the country in less than a day when I need a break or feel like waterfalls, rivers and hikes
- The blue hues all around me and that cool Caribbean breeze
- Bashing it up Belizean style
- Being asked “You da Belize?” every week
- Sitting on the dock and watching the stars
- Going for my immigration stamp runs to San Pedro (yes, even that!)
- Flying Tropic Air and losing myself in the aerial views (thanks for the special discount, Tropic!)
- Getting my bottle of fresh-squeezed orange or watermelon juice (US$2.50)
- Hearing Garifuna drumming and dancing punta
- Riding my bike seaside and walking on the beach
- Wearing flip flops almost every day
- Sunday Funday gatherings with friends (my family away from home)
- Listening to locals chatting on the occasional bus ride
- Spotting wildlife almost every week
- Cooling off in the sea and being joined by a stingray or two
- Stopping by my favorite roadside vendors for a boxed lunch or late night snack
Some of you might remember my story last year about meeting Marva - owner of Laruni Hati Beyabu Diner in Hopkins - while I was a BTB Road Warrior in Belize. You might also recall how she empathized with my plea to experience Garifuna food and opened up her place and her kitchen, even though she was on vacation for a month, and let me watch, photograph and experience how to make hudut from scratch. I learned a lot from her about the culture and the current dynamics in Belize with the Garinagu people and the rest of the country.
Well, you can guess the first thing I did when I returned to Hopkins last week. I went to see Marva.
It took her about a half second to remember me, and then she proudly pointed to her framed Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence – it came in the mail just two weeks ago, she said. Was it you? she asked. I smiled. I’d like to think I brought Marva some customers from my blog piece last year! But I’m pretty sure it’s just that more independent travelers discovered her wonderful beachfront setting and how amazing her cooking is, and her spirit.
I spent a good hour catching up with her, schedule be damned (for once) and returned again later- she made hudut just for me on my last Saturday there.
She’s a real gem in Belize and if you’re in Hopkins, make sure to stop by and have a cheap plate of really good Garifuna food, and other local specialties. Tell her I sent you! And don’t mind the random Trip Advisor rankings, which I think placed her at number 10 – she’s #1, in every way.
On a separate but related note – I’m super pleased to share my latest publication news: “Garifuna Life in Belize” for BBC Travel, published just yesterday. I hope you enjoy it!
Note: The above photo of Marva was taken with my i-Phone.