Our trip started here: slumped shivering and tired in those uncomfortable airport seats while we waited for our early morning flight for Belize City. Using beach towels and backpacks for pillows, charging phones while we (kind of) slept. You know the drill.
The next thing we knew, we were here.
The world was warm and soak-into-your-bones sunny. And we could tell, the minute we stepped from the tarmac into the Belize City airport, way more laid-back than the USA. More scratched and worn than the bustling, cold-in-your-soul metropolises they call airports in the U.S. Here there were fewer signs, fewer rules, fewer people. Different, more distinct smells.
We ordered food at the very expensive little airport restaurant and waited a very long time for them to make it for us. The orange juice was worth every minute and every Belizean dollar we paid for it. Imagine the best, sweetest orange you ever tasted, fresh-squeezed into a glass.
We took a taxi to the bus station, and from there a bus to Spanish Lookout. In Spanish Lookout, we stayed in the beautiful home of Harvey and Rosella Plett.
And spent time with our friend Sandra. Here I am with her at Western Dairies, home of the absolute best ice cream I have ever tasted.
Spanish Lookout is a Mennonite colony and a beautiful and productive farming community. They even have their own oil well. One gets the idea that if the world economy ever crashes, Spanish Lookout will keep right on ticking, with every necessity from milk to lumber to meat processing to education supplied right there on the colony.
With gravel roads and hay fields, the Spanish Lookout scenery reminded us in some ways of Wisconsin. Only instead of black and white Holsteins grazing the fields, there were Brahmas, well-fitted to their tropical climate.
In a Belizean colony, Mennonite is not so much a faith group as an ethnic group, we were told. ONLY Mennonites are allowed to own land in the Spanish Lookout colony. And those Mennonites could attend any one of a number of different denominational churches. Hmmm.
The Mennonites who settled Spanish Lookout came from Mexico in the 1950’s and 60’s. Before that, from Russia. It is a completely different branch of Mennonite than my own, and one I knew virtually nothing about, before visiting Belize.
Ronny showed us around the Plett orchard and let us sample the (to us) exotic fruits.
He hacked open coconuts so we could try fresh coconut milk. It’s actually more an oil than a milk. It was good, but our American stomachs could only handle a little of the unfamiliar taste and texture before we’d had enough.
We visited Sandra’s church, the “deaf church,” Sunday morning. We couldn’t understand a word of the sermon because it was given in sign language and German, but it was interesting nonetheless.
Sunday evening we crossed the river by ferry to visit the Cayo Deaf Institute on the other side.
The ferry was hand-cranked, and the driver let us each have a chance to turn the crank.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any good pictures of the Cayo Deaf Institute, where Sandra attended school when she was young, but we enjoyed our visit very much.
During our time in Spanish Lookout, Jeffrey developed a real affection for the van the Pletts let us drive around.
Monday morning, after a breakfast of fresh tortillas and eggs and white cheese made in Spanish Lookout, Ronny dropped us off at the edge of Spanish Lookout to catch another bus. And after that, a taxi with a scintillating taxi driver named Bert.
Next stop, ocean!
Check back next week for snorkeling adventures and the bite of the deadly doctor fly.