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 →

Hopkins, Belize: a paradise at the end of the road

My favourite moment of travelling is the moment when the road stops and the ocean starts. Waves are rushing to the coast and there is no way to continue. You have reached your destination.

My second favourite moment is swimming in front of my own private beach. I float on my back and look how the fish-hunting pelican’s wing is almost brushing my cheek. It’s so close. I have definitely reached my destination- Hopkins, Belize. Continue Reading →

Crime and punishment in Belize City: the murder capital of the country

Huge abandoned houses. The terrible smell of sewage. A guy sleeps on the pavement in broad sunlight. A rusty iron bridge belongs more in some prison movie than in a tropical holiday destination. Old men shout at us from across the street. Dented, miserable-looking cars, rows and rows of closed shops. A little girl runs on the pavement full of holes. This apocalyptic atmosphere belongs to Belize City. Continue Reading →