Rio Dulce, Guatemala: when the closest ATM is a boat ride away

Livingston, Guatemala. Our shaky feet just touched the land of a new country. I still trembled from the rough boat ride from Belize. 45 minutes on the sea and the setting changed drastically. Nobody spoke English anymore and our few Belize dollars were worthless. The streets of Livingston were narrow and hilly and you had to watch out not to be run over by speeding little tuk-tuks. Continue Reading →

Following Belgium’s World Cup on the road: nerve-racking, nail-biting, never again!

There is one hour left until the Game of the Century starts and there is no electricity anywhere in Livingston, Guatemala. Belgium’s national football team will play its first semi-final since I was five days old, possibly (let’s not get too entitled) the last one in my lifetime. And I’m going to miss the game because a thunderstorm has left the whole town without power?

I want to cry – this can’t be real! Continue Reading →

Ethnicity in Belize: a salad with different ingredients that all add something to the mix

Imagine a handkerchief of a country, barely 350.000 souls strong, where any of the following could happen:

-A Latino speaks with a thick Caribbean accent: “Hi, my brotha! Wassup?!”

-A Maya bar owner turns on Bob Marley’s Greatest Hits, but switches after a couple of songs to old-fashioned Spanish music.

-With a backdrop of Cohune palms and banana trees, two white men with woolly beards work the field with an ox.

-In a small town shop, a young Chinese boy translates a customer’s English into Chinese for his mum, the shopkeeper.

-A black guy leans out of a bright blue church bus and shouts: “God bless you! Welcome to Belize!” Continue Reading →