Though a straight line appears to be the shortest distance between 2 points, life has a way of confounding geography. Often it is the dalliances and the detours that define us. There are no maps to guide our most important searches; we must rely on hope, chance, intuition and a willingness to be surprised.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Fish Lingers

Tori the Shellfish (library photo)

Some of you have been in email correspondence regarding the ongoing adventures of Tori the (erm, dead) Shellfish. You may remember that a few days after the fishing trip, my neighbour Mr Torres had mentioned that he knew someone who could have my triangular friend injected with botox (or something like that) and preserved so that I could send him home and have him mounted on my wall.

I was kinda stunned by this offer. Putting aside moral doubts, and concerns over appropriate packing, postage costs and leakage, my main concern was over UK customs regulations.

However, there has been a further exciting development over the weekend. I now have a potential buyer for Tori here in Belize! Turns out that Mari’s brother-in-law has been looking for a Shellfish for some time as apparently they are extremely tasty and considered to be a rare delicacy.

So… stuffed and airmailed, or sold and barbecued? I could start an internet vote. Might include a third choice, in case the British Museum of Natural History get in touch.

In other developments, in reponse to concerns over the ongoing heatwave here, Tori has now been moved from Mr Torres ice-box to the secure depths of Evan’s freezer.

Is it a bird, is it a fish... is it a travel iron?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A little bit of Bliss and a little bit of that…

Man, it’s been ages since I’ve updated the site. There’s been nothing quite as outstanding as the trip to Mexico to report on. Instead I’ve been very busy working away. And been busy outside of work too. Am building up a portfolio of bizarre and unlikely tales these days!

Last week I had my big meeting with the director of BCVI. This was the key moment in my three-month project. The meeting went well. And work done so far is broadly on track. There is still plenty to do though and I’ve been very busy in the office since then. Overall, I’m relieved to find that the work should be a really helpful contribution and I’m very pleased with how things have gone.

In fact, I’m now making changes to my plans so that I can do more charity work during the rest of my trip. As well as being rewarding in itself, doing the charity work has allowed me to be really integrated into life here – I have an interesting time at work and a great social life outside of work in a way that I wouldn’t have if I was just travelling and lying on the beach.

Didn’t think Belize was a world leader in technology until I saw this horse and carriage with fully-integrated poopa-scoopa. Maybe not a great feature for long-distance passengers…

I’ve been in touch with the Red Cross in New South Wales and I’m hoping to get involved in a project with them when I’m there in the Spring. This might involve working between Melbourne and Sydney and I’ll have to extend my stay in Australia, and sacrifice time in SE Asia. Sure it will be worth it though.

Outside of work, I’ve been busier than ever. Went to see a Mexican Acapella group - Voz En Punto - at the Bliss Centre for the Performing Arts. Really entertaining - the sort of act that would go down great at the Edinburgh Festival. Went to a fundraiser with Teri last weekend, which was a really nice night out and an introduction to Belize’s unusual auction rules, where I bid Bz$70 for a meal for two, was outbid but still had to cough up the 70 bucks – was for charity though! Also went back to my favourite weekend retreat, Caye Caulker, with Naomi last weekend.

And I got to the Museum of Belize at last, the highlights of which were the intriguing public accounts of state executions, major fires and hurricanes, the last two of which are as perilous for Belize now as they’ve ever been.

Someone asked for a picture of Belizian jugs. I hope this is sufficient to satisfy all you pottery enthusiasts out there.

This weekend past, Evan and Mari invited me along to Mari’s father’s 65th birthday party at his house in San Estefan, up in the north of the country. I felt very honoured to be asked and it was a great weekend… photos below. Also borrowed a bike and managed to crash it and take all the skin of one of my knees. A lot of the time I’ve felt like I’m about 22 again over here, and sometimes more like half that…

Evan and I were in charge of the barbecue…

…it wasn’t friendly territory for vegetarians, or chickens.

Lovely photo of Mr and Mrs Vega. Note the bottle of Scotland's finest.

All the children… (Mari is at far right)

…and grandchildren

Next weekend is another holiday weekend and Teri and I are going to enjoy a wee bit of luxury again out at the Cayes. Also hope to scuba dive the world-famous Blue Hole. Should be pretty special...