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Monday, 05 May 2008

Belize: A Journey from Belize City to Placencia - Page 4

Written by Aaron Ober
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This was my first trip to Central America. I had arrived with intentions of writing a fly-fishing and kayaking story on Glovers Reef with friend and fellow photographer Paul Kerrison, who had made arrangements with a local adventure company for the expedition. Hungry for some Caribbean sun and relaxation, I flew down a week before Paul's planned arrival. Another friend of mine, Jim Mercure, owned a small plot of beachfront property in Placencia (said to mean “peaceful point”), a village in southern Belize. He welcomed me to stay there but warned of unsure conditions. An unwanted guest had arrived in October 2001, by the name of Iris. Iris began as a tropical storm way out in the Caribbean Sea, but just before making landfall it quickly gathered strength and grew into a monster category four hurricane, with its sights set on Placencia. I wasn’t sure how the storm’s aftermath would affect my plans.

"Why is the bottom so gooey?" Summer asked.

Something didn't seem right about this, so I hurried out of the water. I stepped on something round that squished and wriggled under my foot and jumped ashore behind me. “What the f#!k was that?” I wondered. The others quickly joined me on the beach. As I peered around, I noticed a dark object and picked it up. It was a motor oil container. Next to it was a beer bottle. I walked farther on, tripping over a tire.

"I don't think swimming was such a great idea guys! There's trash on the beach!" I said.

Brooke and Summer shrieked in unison and ran back to the room, anxious to wash off. To make things worse Doctor Ely brought up the risk of tetanus and hepatitis. I shivered as I stood in line for the shower. Dangriga. The word was strangely similar to the word danger, and what a s#*!hole. I couldn't wait to be back on the bus heading south.

 

Belize: A Journey from Belize City to Placencia, travel Central America, travel Belize, Placencia, Dangriga, Belize CityI awoke just before dawn and sleepily peered out the window. The brilliant scene shocked me to life. I quickly dressed, grabbed my camera and raced toward the beach. I had never seen such a display before. The vibrant colors were folding and mixing, transforming as the sun rose over the placid Caribbean. I snapped shot after shot, as pelicans flapped and flew from a twisted pier in the foreground. I noticed two men with a tripod down the beach and made my way toward them. They turned out to be Czech photographers and we quickly got lost in conversation between shutter bursts. A local youth appeared with a net and waded into the sea to catch baitfish, producing a near-perfect silhouette.

Belize: A Journey from Belize City to Placencia, travel Central America, travel Belize, Placencia, Dangriga, Belize City

 

As the sun rose, so did my spirits. I had all but forgotten the going-ons of the night before as I made my way back up the beach. A new day had dawned on this land of, of...Pampers? Pampers! Was I actually seeing this? They littered the shore, along with bottles, tires, shreds of clothing and trash bags. I followed the trail of trash back to our swimming spot and nearly got sick. It was a landfill! Those squishy things under our feet last night were shit-filled Pampers! I quivered with disgust and forced myself to look away and to forget. Yes, I must forget I swam in that Pamper-infested sea! I must forget and leave this bad, bad, place.

 

(Page 4 of 6)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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