The Rasta Vibe
Trip Start Dec 07, 2011
48Trip End Ongoing
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Belize and all its dependencies including the Cayes are part of the British Common wealth with the Queens portrait proudly stamped on the Belizean Dollar. And they genuinely seem very happy with this. The countries principle language is English but they also speak Spanish, a local dialect influenced by the African vibe and Mayan. They have two currencies here: the Belizean Dollar and the USA Dollar with a fixed exchange at two Belize to one US; makes it very easy for buying stuff. The Island has a very Reggae/Rasta/Jamaican/Caribbean kinda thing going on. Everyone is very friendly and chilled. It is not cheap here but then islands seldom are! But they desire to stay and sample the vibe, light blue seas and unfettered sunshine far outweighs the concerns over cost; we will just have to make some adjustments further on in our travels: one less country or something.
We are starting each day with a swim in the sea by the 'Split’ which is about five minutes’ walk or probably twenty minutes in a Caye Caulker emergency golf cart from our sea front digs. The split is a small channel that separates the two land masses that make up Caye Caulker Island (The Island used to be one long land strip)
I have never spent so much time swimming in the sea. The temperature of the water is more like a warm bath than open sea water. It is also fairly dense in salt so the ability to float is made so much easier which, when it comes down to it, just fits perfectly with the Belizean mentality of minimal effort, maximum relaxation. In fact even the language is minimal. It seems that where they can use only one syllable, they will. "Why use tree bits in a word when you can do wit one…man". I like there style…man
There was one thing that puzzled me for a short while and that was why did the shower water taste of sea salt. Yes I know, it’s from the sea – well done! No, what I mean is did they have some desalination plant going on here and how would it work for the all the islands. Caye Caulker seemed too small to have its own plant. Anyway, the problem only troubled me briefly in between another beer or a swim at the Split. But it was a recurring question.
This island is no higher than 6ft above sea level. There are no mountains or hills to provide a run off for rain water or reservoirs to store fresh water. Yet, they never seem to be in short supply of water often spraying down the dusty paths or watering the hardy island plants. Drinking water is always from the imported bottled water variety and alcohol is a frequent supplement to their fluid needs (they have their own brewery on the island). Then one day as I ambled toward the beach or bar, I can’t quite remember which, I managed to see the hostel’s water supply as they were checking it with depth gauges. Just outside the front of the building was a sink hole measuring approximately ten feet square (originally covered by a board) filled with water up to about two feet below the rim. And then it came to me, like a coconut falling from the sky it struck me, very hard! (I nursed the headache with a beer later). The island is a mass of limestone and coral, porous rock. It’s a natural desalination plant. The water filters through the stone across the whole of the island whilst a significant amount of the sea salt is removed by the porous rock. As the water table is just below the soils surface any hole that is dug sufficiently deep will fill up with the desalinated water. An endless supply of water for all needs bar drinking. Such a eureka moment; I felt like running down the high street naked shouting at the top of my voice until I became aware that the very presence of the sink hole suggested they were already aware of the concept and then realised I would only be arrested for my troubles. Well, if I come across another island which is not aware of the concept I could sell them the idea. What was that…philanthropy? Sod that, I’m travelling. I’ve got to make some money some how!