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a month of travel

In the last month or so, I have been lucky enough to visit southern California, New York City (twice!), and Belize (Belize City, Dangriga, and Coco Plum Cay.)  It's been a whirlwind and a blast- catching up with friends, attending weddings, and even going to a job interview.  I'm happy to be home, though, with a little bit of time to regroup before the holidays.

When I travel, I try to capture some of the culturally significant things about a place (not just sunsets and candid shots of my buddies.)  I'm inspired by Jan Chipchase, and all things considered should probably try to learn more about cultural anthropology.  Here are some shots (and explanations) from my week in Belize:

 Marie Sharp's (proud products of Belize) seems to be everywhere.  They have lot of varieties of hot sauce, but the most notable thing we sampled was this banana jam.  I'd never had banana jam before- never even heard of it- but it was great on warm bread.

 When we landed at the airport in Belize City, it was raining like crazy.  Upon arriving at our hotel, they provided us with these umbrellas.  It's hard to tell from the photo, but they were double-layered.  It's obvious they get a lot of rain (and know how to deal with it.)

We stayed at a fairly eccentric 'eco village' on our first night in Belize.  We were lucky that this out-of-the-way hotel had AC, but I was amused to find the units supported by logs (how resourceful!)

After our stay at the eco village, we took a very small (12 passenger) plane from Belize City to Dangriga.  The contrasts with modern aviation in the US were huge, from the boarding passes they wrote out by hand,  to the over-the-shoulder seat belts and the fact that there were no flight attendants; just the pilot up front.  I was glad it was only a 15-minute ride.

The beer of Belize is Belikin.  There are two varieties: a lager (green label) and a stout (blue label.)  This was the primary beer available everywhere.  We saw red stripe a few times, but overall this was a stark contrast to the growing popularity of craft and small batch beer in the US.

The main event of our week in Belize was my friend's brother's wedding.  It was beautiful, laid back, and perfect.  It was also totally and completely different than any wedding I have ever witnessed.  For one thing, it took place on an island.  This made some of the normal amenities completely different.  Although the bride had a fresh bouquet of flowers, all the decorations were fake.  It would have been challenging (at best) to bring in fresh flowers (we were 30 minutes, by boat, from the main land.  I sort of liked the fake flowers in this situation- they added to the uniqueness of the whole experience. 

Another beverage that came in a heavy glass bottle was ginger ale.  It was my soda of choice for the week (although I'll admit to my drink of choice being rum!), and it gave me an opportunity to consider why people choose the products they do.  I liked the quirkiness of the 'fanta' ginger ale, and the fact that it's not something I can get at home, but that heavy glass bottle kept me coming back (all the other sodas were in plastic.)