Friday, April 17, 2009

A Quiet, Mosquito Infested Week on the North Side

I'd like to begin this blog by apologizing for my lack of writing this past week. I wanted to blog, I swear I did, but the days have been so quiet and uneventful here on the north side of San Pedro that I had little excitement to share. This is our second week of Easter break and I have been using it mostly to keep up on my school work to prepare for graduation. I've been working on a teaching notebook, my inquiry project, and my portfolio defense and it has been a rather boring week. However, I have had some opportunities to leave Ak'bol yoga resort and explore some of the sights and sounds of Belize.

For example, on Tuesday I decided that my chi needed some aligning, so I decided to give yoga a try. Dr. K explained to me that people who do yoga get real muscular because yoga provides a workout that you don't get by simply lifting weights. I had felt like a bum this entire trip because my goal to join a gym fell through and I haven't been running like I had hoped, so yoga was a perfect chance for me to get back in the swing of things. It was this morning that I realized yoga wasn't for me. My body simply doesn't stretch and move the ways the yoga instructor, Kirsten, was trying to make it. She would constantly remind everyone that "there is no competition or judgement" when doing yoga, I think because I looked like an idiot trying to replicate the moves and positions and she didn't want me to feel bad, but then she would come over to me and stretch my feet and legs for me and begin much for no judgement. Anyway, after our hour and a half session, I was ready for a nap because it tired me out. The next day my core was burning. I think this was a sign that I need to hit the gym when I get back because I am obviously out of shape.

On Wednesday we decided to go snorkeling. All of the science folk were quite excited for this because they got to look at all of the beautiful marine biology- I just wanted to get out and do something. This proved to be a bad choice. It started pretty well. We saw some cool coral and fish on the reef. We even saw a barracuda. Midway through the tour, I started to swallow a lot of salt water and began to feel queasy, but I kept following the group because I'm a trooper. I was so excited to hear our tour guide, Steven, tell me it was time to go back; I had survived a day of snorkeling without chumming. As soon as we got to the boat, Margo and I simultaneously started to feel like we were going to throw up. Unfortunately, I was the only one who followed through with this feeling and ended up feeding the fishes the ham and cheese fry jack I had for breakfast. I felt absolutely terrible. To top it off, Steven decided to take his sweet time talking with the the other tourists while my face was a ghostly white color. Finally, Margo had enough and told Steven to step on it. By the time we got back to the dock, I ran to land and rested in the shaded cabana by the sea, in case I needed to ralph some more. Luckily, the feeling had passed and Dr. K's wife brought out a soda for me to settle my stomach, which helped a lot. We made plans to take another snorkeling adventure next weekend and I think I'll sit that one out.

I spent a lot of time Wednesday getting my bearings back and taking care of school work. By Thursday I was ready to get back out and see more of Belize. We decided to take a trip to Caye Calker, a quiet island south of San Pedro. This was a nice, relaxing day. We did some shopping and I got some goodies for some people back home and we spent some time at a place called Lazy Lizards. This is a bar on the end of the island that has absolutely beautiful blue water. What makes this place even better are the characters we met at Lazy Lizards. There was one guy who approached me and said, "I know you." I was confident that I hadn't seen him before. He went on to explain to me that we had met twice in previous lives and that we were doing some immoral things. I was fascinated by this guy, but not enough to stick around and find out more about my previous life. There was another guy who wore a hat made out of palm leaves and had several different aliases he went by including "Thanks for helping me" and "Dr. Aloe." He rubbed some aloe on Amanda's back where she had burned and then let us feed the fishes by holding out sardines and letting the frigget birds swoop down and take the fish from our hands. This was really cool. 

After Lazy Lizards, we decided to look for a pool hall. When we couldn't find one, we asked someone for some help. The guy we found was named Charles and he was from Brooklyn, New York. After failing to find us a pool hall, he decided he was going to follow us around and host us for the rest of the day. He took us to the bird sanctuary, where saw one bird hidden in the trees. After that, we decided to walk on the beach and just relax until our taxi came. It was at this point that I realized Charles was a pathological liar. He explained that he was a carpenter, plumber, electrician, substitute teacher, and the reigning karaoke champion for three islands in Belize. While impressive, Alberto explained to us that he knew the karaoke champion of San Pedro and it wasn't Charles (I suppose they take their karaoke very seriously here). After humoring us for the afternoon, we had to say goodbye to Charles and we went back to San Pedro.

Once back at the dock, I was excited to see some of my students at the bar. Now, I know that students aren't allowed at the bar because if they are seen drinking in public, even if they are 18, they will be expelled from school. They were all wearing the same shirts and I realized it was the school rock band. They were at the bar to put on a show to raise money for the school. I was really impressed by the band. They had some really great musicians and the lead singers were really exuberant. They really got the crowd into it and it was fun to see these students doing what they love outside of school.

After that it was time to go back to Ak'bol. Staying there has been interesting. The lack of air conditioning has presented some issues for me, not because it doesn't get cool enough, because some nights it does. However, we need to keep the windows open in order to get air, and there are no screens on the windows. As a result, I have been eaten alive by the mosquitos that past few nights. This has not been enjoyable. However, the lack of television has forced me to work on my school work to the point where I think I will be well prepared for my final assignments when I get home. 

Overall, this has been a quiet week, which has been nice. We are all a little nervous to go back to school on Monday since we have been away for so long. It is crazy to think that there are less than two weeks left in Belize. We will be sure to make the most of it. 

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