Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thinking like a dolphin in Belize

                                              Palm-lined beach at Placencia, Belize

        We dropped Espiritu's anchor here more than a week ago and are just now getting settled in here at Placencia, Belize.

                                                                       Twisty tree

          The weather has been sunny and hot, without a cloud in the sky. After 9 months of horrifying lightning strikes and daily torrential rain in the equatorial regions, we're really basking in it.

              One Belizian family refuses to give up on their's kind of poignant, really.

         We've been exploring the greater Placencia area on our bicycles. Unlike Roatan, whose one main road was untenable to bikes, Belize actually has little bike lanes built into the roads.

                                    We had a bike tire repaired at the "Road Kill Tire Shop."

                                                         Little pink beach house

                                             Our funky little dinghy dock

                                          ...another view...

            Need I point out the obvious: there IS no street named "Ol Husband" in the town of Placencia.

          This sign is above the door of the only pharmacy in town. For real. What to make of it?

                                                A humble Sein Bight Village dwelling

          I hate using the word "poor" to describe some of these Central American villages we have seen. Even "poverty stricken" doesn't seem quite right. Yes, there is much poverty. But for the most part, the people make do. They live simply, they care for each other, and their basic needs are met. And for the most part, they seem happy.

                                                        Sein Bight barber shop

                                              Mother and son on a Sein Bight beach

                   The girls here have lovely school uniforms -- prettier than any I've seen.

                                                   "Get UP here, girl!"

                                          Best friends, together. (It's Ash Wednesday)

                   The anchorage here is lovely. Good holding in 20 feet of clear, blue water. We swim and bathe in it daily, usually at the end of a long, hot, sweaty day. It's a beautiful reward. :-)   

     The other afternoon I was gently bobbing in the warm still sea next to Espiritu, when I saw and heard two dolphins break the surface not 10 feet away from me. 

          I became very still. I had never swam with dolphins. My plan was to gently swim over and maybe give them a little rub. But first, I needed a plan. Dolphins are notoriously elusive when it comes to humans. It's not that they're afraid of us -- it's more like they have better things to do with their time. They take one look at us and go: "Oh. One of THOSE." And then they turn and run.

   Native Americans say that to catch a fish, you need to THINK like a fish. So I decided that to attract the dolphins to me, I would THINK like a dolphin. 

 After a few moments thought, I tried to become: "Smart yet playful, agile yet graceful." These four words, I determined, are my best guess for what it means to be a dolphin. 

  So I tried with every fiber of my being to become smart yet playful, agile yet graceful. I swam towards them. Gently. 

  And of course, they took one look at me, gave me what I interpreted as a compassionate shrug, and promptly swam off.

 Ah, well.  :-)

And finally -- it's Valentine's Day. 

As I've alluded to previously, life has not been easy for Chris and I out here. I've spared you the gory details, but I'll just say that the fur has flown. We haven't always dealt with the stress well (understatement of the day). 

As we all know, divorce, break-ups, and just plain "single-ness" is all the rage in the states these days. Yes, we still romanticize love, but when it comes to the nuts and bolts of maintaining long term relationships, society seems to be telling us that it's OK to always put your own wants FIRST. Words like "sacrifice" and "compromise" seem to be looked upon increasingly with a sniff and a lift of an eyebrow. 

After all, with the internet and cable TV, who wants to give up control, to compromise on anything these days when we can, for the most part, create our own cyber-reality with ourselves as the single monarch of our own little king(or queen)-dom.

Taking complete control back can be pretty tempting. All that compromise and sacrifice can wear you down sometimes. And yet...and yet...

A cruising couple we love says it best:

"We CHOOSE each other. Every day."  

Yes. It is a choice.  But in spite of the very tough days, we still love each other. And we still DO for each other, and laugh together. And enjoy each other's company. So the sacrifice is worth it -- although we understand the temptation to throw in the towel. We really, really do. 

                                                      Love is our cross to bear. 

And aiming to think and live like a dolphin, going for "smart yet playful, agile yet graceful" in our daily lives couldn't hurt either. 

        So whether you are in a couple or flying solo -- on this Valentines Day I hope you find the opportunity to give love today. 

                       These Sein Bight kids were little love sponges. They soaked it up! 

         Love is everywhere. And in the end, for each of us, love is a choice.   XOXOXOXOXOXO