Have you ever had one of those moments where you say, “I need to re-think my blog?”
A mixture of writers’ block and panic set in over the weekend and I reached out to my friends, including the always helpful and caring, LadyFi and asked for advice. She said something that made sense. “Gutsy Writer, I’m sure we’d love to hear more about you and your life in Belize. Little snippets of memories would appeal to many of us.”
So here goes, a snippet from our life in northern Belize two weeks after we moved from our comfortable 5 bedroom house in California, to our hut on stilts in Consejo Shores.
We saw very few gyms in Belize and I figured out why. Who needed a gym when you were whacking sugar cane with a machete all day long? At thirteen, sometimes younger, Belizean boys started a career in the sugar cane fields cutting and loading the stalks into smoke coughing, diesel trucks, and by the time they hit eighteen, their bodies were more buff and cut than most guys at our local 24 Hour Fitness.
Fishing, growing crops and raising chickens to sell at the local outdoor markets, kept Belizeans in good physical shape too. Most women did their laundry manually, some the good old-fashioned way, pounding clothes on large rocks next to a river and drying them on lines tied between tree trunks. So daily chores and just existing required more physical exertion than in the U.S. I guess this is how we lived before modern conveniences forced us to exercise at a gym.
In Belize, uniform was mandatory in all public schools, even in the poorest areas. The more remote and destitute the village, the whiter the uniforms. I wondered if the white uniforms dated back to British colonial days. Belizean kids were experts at not getting one drop of terra cotta mud onto their clothes whenever it rained. They pedaled in the rust colored slush without the bicycle tires flinging a single ounce of mud onto their starched white clothes. Our white T-shirts and underwear turned yellow within ten days, mostly due to sweat. I should have tried pounding our clothes on a rock, perhaps that was the secret to crisp white linens.
Whether you wanted to or not, you automatically started walking more and bike riding, once you lived in Belize. Despite this lifestyle change, Duke and I still believed we should weight train six days a week. Why? Maybe because we weren’t into sugar cane whacking. It certainly wasn’t fun exercising in a clammy room with no air-conditioning. With salty sweat beads rolling all the way down my face and into my socks, I longed for a laundromat. I never realized how much I had taken fresh scented clothes and clean bed sheets for granted.