south of Belize

The Strange Life in the Black Caribbean Sun

Unusual bathing
Outsiders relax on a beach on the peninsula of Placencia.
Fuel Pontoon
Pontoon that leads to a nautical fuel station in Placencia.
One more Cayo
One of the countless cayos off the mainland of Belize.
Westwind Hotel
A sign indicates the existence of vacancies in a modest hotel in Piacenza.
Sold out
Passengers on a speedboat traveling between mainland Belize and an offshore cayo.
Shaded chair
A chair in the well-drawn shadow of a coconut tree almost over the sea.
Way home
Mayan sellers travel by boat between Placencia and the mainland coast of southern Belize.
green caribbean
Snorkeler buoys in translucent water next to the second largest barrier reef in the world.
Great Caribbean
Belizeans follow the nautical action from an elevated dock.
Landing only for one
Pelican reheats on a post lost in the Caribbean Sea.
PG's little brothers
Two young residents of Punta Gorda are waiting for their parents to return from the post office.
tropical rest
Guest relax in the pool of one of the seaside resorts between Seine Bight and Piacenza.
Yooo, man.
Belizean is getting ready to leave the post office in Punta Gorda, the southernmost city in Belize.
blue sea and coconut trees
A cayo full of coconut trees off the peninsula of Piacenza.
A Brewer's Landing
Worker prepares to unload beer crates from a boat to a pub in Piacenza.
A Brewer's Landing
Worker unloads crates of beer from a boat to a pub in Piacenza.

On the way to Guatemala, we see how the proscribed existence of the Garifuna people, descendants of African slaves and Arawak Indians, contrasts with that of several much more airy bathing areas.

The vehicle's importers had not even bothered to repaint it, as was happening all over Central America. The old former US school bus hummed along the Hummingbird Highway that linked Belmopan's mysterious capital, Dandriga, a no less peculiar town already perched on the Caribbean Sea. The driver talked to passengers the entire trip and seemed to maintain the dizzying speed from a kind of brain autopilot that only turned off to pick up passengers. Even so, we arrived shortly after sunset, already late to catch a call to the south. "Here's our dandriga, fellas” announced the driver in the inevitable cavernous ragga voice as he opened the doors of the tan-yellow bus. "Love it or Leave it!"

It was under the twilight precipitation that we were able to appreciate its main street, full of shops of adventurous and opportunistic Chinese families, decorated by the headquarters of the two main political parties in Belize, among various other businesses and institutions. Around the centre, a poorly littered domain of prefabricated one-storey houses and among coconut trees give way, in a centrifugal way, to more and more stilted stilts.

Elderly people and children in their care listen to the telephone on the worn out porches of their homes. Under stakes that support others, groups of black men and teenagers maintain convivialities, games, or businesses as intriguing as the unlikely African Central America around them.

As we approach the humble inn where we were going to stay, tropical chords of Garifuna music increase in volume that seem to come from Guinea-Bissau or even Cape Verde. The historical origins of many of the residents – they were also curious about our incursion in those non-touristy places – was not very far away but was lost in time and in the complexity of the diasporas suffered by those people.

In the 2500th century, the Caribbean from the delta of the Orinoco River dominated Saint Vincent and several other small Antilles. The first genetic confluence that generated the Garifunas took place when a slave ship allegedly coming from Nigeria sank. The natives rescued many of the survivors, took them to Saint Vincent and gave them women, as it was taboo in their tribes for men not to have mates. However, the French and the English disputed Saint Vincent and the Antilles. Countless conflicts later, at the top, the British ended up separating the “pure” caribs from those already mixed with former African slaves. They determined that the latter, more independenceists, were dangerous and exiled some XNUMX of the newly named black Caribbean survivors on the now Honduran island of Roatan. Roatan proved too small for the new inhabitants. 

These soon asked the Hispanic authorities to welcome them to the continent. The Spaniards thanked the free labor and the Garifunas settled in the lands that are now Belizean, Honduran, Nicaraguan and Guatemalan through which we were traveling.

The next morning, we shared Dandriga with several hundred of the 7% of Garifuna Belizeans identifiable by their more African than Indian looks and their much more Indian than African commonplace language they use if other compatriots or outsiders do not force them to resort to Spanish or English Creole.

"You just have to go to the end of this street and take a right!" we think it explains to us, in an almost imperceptible and angry Creole, the native of a somewhat reddish black who, around noon the next day, we asked where the buses to Placencia departed.

Proud and somewhat irascible, Belize's Garifunas are not lacking in reasons to be revolted. Their communities are present almost only in the south of the nation, by decree of a British governor of what would become British Honduras. This XNUMXth-century decree determined that the Garifuna would have to stick to the “bottom” of the territory, in practice so as not to mix and destabilize Belizean slaves of only African origin.

Last September, the Dandriga community came together behind the official representation of their Mayor Gilbert Swazo. They took the opportunity to accuse the country's prime minister of pettiness and remind him of the discrimination they have long been victims of, all triggered by a manager of the First Caribbean International Bank having banned the use of the Garifuna language in the bank's local branch.

Other reactions proved to be much more mediatic. Shortly after the world premiere of the saga “Pirates of the Caribbean”, the Garifunas joined the Caribbeans of Saint Vincent, Dominica and Trinidad in protest against Disney for the sequel introducing them to the world as cannibals, without which, in their view , for this there are historical foundations.

Irony of irony, many Hollywood millionaires use and abuse Belize as a bathing playground. As a rule, their incursions were along the northern coast closest to the second largest barrier reef in the world. But, with time and competition, they spread to the long peninsula of Placencia, where we have moved in the meantime.

At first, this which is the most privileged coastline in Belize almost only welcomed backpackers. Until famous personalities such as Francis Ford Coppola discovered it and began to invest there in private homes and exquisite resorts where the damage caused by the many devastating hurricanes that pass through there were demanding major repairs.

We walk the beach from end to end and take a look at the Blancaneaux' Turtle Inn that the director bought and remodeled to offer his followers an alternative of equal luxury to another one. resort Coppola brand on a northern cayo (islet).

We did not detect garifunas enjoying the vast sands between the village of Seine Bight and Placencia. Instead, American and Canadian vacationers stroll and board, staffed by local guides and helmsmen, on short snorkeling excursions in the crystal clear waters offshore, or on other shark-whale shark diving excursions in the barrier reef that is some 30km away.

But this is not the time for whale sharks, and the others are too unpredictable predators for our tastes. Guaranteed the dose of maritime relaxation we were longing for, we retrieved our backpacks at the headquarters of one such Ocean Motion and got into a boat full of Mayan women who were returning home from another day of selling their handicrafts among gringos. During most of the trip, a girl follows all the movements of our, for her fascinating, photographic action, in front of the mother who is breastfeeding her youngest child. After disembarking and an additional four hours by bus, we arrived at PG, so the Belizeans have less work to pronounce on the town of Punta Gorda.

We had reached the southern edge of Belize and the damp and jungle perpetuated an alliance that no investor had yet managed to break. We were once again in Black Caribbean territory, but the location on the border with its southern neighbor gave the village a strong Belizean multiethnicity. On these sides, Americans, British and Canadians who teach or work in humanitarian organizations coexist. In much larger numbers, Belizeans Creoles, Chinese, Indians, Maya Kekchi and Mopan. We still slept a night in the peace of cosmopolitan PG. At dawn, we sailed first to Livingston, then to the Dulce River, both sheltered in a luxuriant marine nook that was already Guatemalan but, for a while longer, still Garifuna.

Island of Goreia, Senegal

A Slave Island of Slavery

Were several millions or just thousands of slaves passing through Goreia on their way to the Americas? Whatever the truth, this small Senegalese island will never be freed from the yoke of its symbolism.”

Amberris Caye, Belize

Belize's Playground

Madonna sang it as La Isla Bonita and reinforced the motto. Today, neither hurricanes nor political strife discourage VIP and wealthy vacationers from enjoying this tropical getaway.

Lake Cocibolca, Nicaragua

sea, sweet sea

Indigenous Nicaraguans treated the largest lake in Central America as Cocibolca. On the volcanic island of Ometepe, we realized why the term the Spaniards converted to Mar Dulce made perfect sense.

Cahuita, Costa Rica

Dreadlocked Costa Rica

Traveling through Central America, we explore a Costa Rican coastline as much as the Caribbean. In Cahuita, Pura Vida is inspired by an eccentric faith in Jah and a maddening devotion to cannabis.
Corn Islands - Islas del Maíz , Nicaragua

pure caribbean

Perfect tropical settings and genuine local life are the only luxuries available in the so-called Corn Islands or Corn Islands, an archipelago lost in the Central American confines of the Caribbean Sea.
Antigua (Antilles), Guatemala

Hispanic Guatemala, the Antigua Fashion

In 1743, several earthquakes razed one of the most charming pioneer colonial cities in the Americas. Antigua has regenerated but preserves the religiosity and drama of its epic-tragic past.
hippopotami, chobe national park, botswana
Chobe NP, Botswana

Chobe: A River on the Border of Life with Death

Chobe marks the divide between Botswana and three of its neighboring countries, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia. But its capricious bed has a far more crucial function than this political delimitation.
Braga or Braka or Brakra in Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 6th – Braga, Nepal

The Ancient Nepal of Braga

Four days of walking later, we slept at 3.519 meters from Braga (Braka). Upon arrival, only the name is familiar to us. Faced with the mystical charm of the town, arranged around one of the oldest and most revered Buddhist monasteries on the Annapurna circuit, we continued our journey there. acclimatization with ascent to Ice Lake (4620m).
A Lost and Found City
Architecture & Design
Machu Picchu, Peru

The City Lost in the Mystery of the Incas

As we wander around Machu Picchu, we find meaning in the most accepted explanations for its foundation and abandonment. But whenever the complex is closed, the ruins are left to their enigmas.

Mountains of Fire

More or less prominent ruptures in the earth's crust, volcanoes can prove to be as exuberant as they are capricious. Some of its eruptions are gentle, others prove annihilating.
Native Americans Parade, Pow Pow, Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
Ceremonies and Festivities
Albuquerque, USA

When the Drums Sound, the Indians Resist

With more than 500 tribes present, the pow wow "Gathering of the Nations" celebrates the sacred remnants of Native American cultures. But it also reveals the damage inflicted by colonizing civilization.
A kind of portal
Little Havana, USA

Little Havana of the Nonconformists

Over the decades and until today, thousands of Cubans have crossed the Florida Straits in search of the land of freedom and opportunity. With the US a mere 145 km away, many have gone no further. His Little Havana in Miami is today the most emblematic neighborhood of the Cuban diaspora.
Beverage Machines, Japan

The Beverage Machines Empire

There are more than 5 million ultra-tech light boxes spread across the country and many more exuberant cans and bottles of appealing drinks. The Japanese have long since stopped resisting them.
Nahuatl celebration

Mexico City, Mexico

mexican soul

With more than 20 million inhabitants in a vast metropolitan area, this megalopolis marks, from its heart of zócalo, the spiritual pulse of a nation that has always been vulnerable and dramatic.

Spectator, Melbourne Cricket Ground-Rules footbal, Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne, Australia

The Football the Australians Rule

Although played since 1841, Australian Football has only conquered part of the big island. Internationalization has never gone beyond paper, held back by competition from rugby and classical football.
Entrance porch in Ellikkalla, Uzbekistan

Journey through the Uzbekistan Pseudo-Roads

Centuries passed. Old and run-down Soviet roads ply deserts and oases once traversed by caravans from the Silk RoadSubject to their yoke for a week, we experience every stop and incursion into Uzbek places, into scenic and historic road rewards.
deep valley, terraced rice, batad, philippines
Batad, Philippines

The Terraces that Sustain the Philippines

Over 2000 years ago, inspired by their rice god, the Ifugao people tore apart the slopes of Luzon. The cereal that the indigenous people grow there still nourishes a significant part of the country.
View of Fa Island, Tonga, Last Polynesian Monarchy
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Exotic Signs of Life

Pilgrims at the top, Mount Sinai, Egypt
Mount Sinai, Egypt

Strength in the Legs, Faith in God

Moses received the Ten Commandments on the summit of Mount Sinai and revealed them to the people of Israel. Today, hundreds of pilgrims climb, every night, the 4000 steps of that painful but mystical ascent.
View of Fa Island, Tonga, Last Polynesian Monarchy
Tongatapu, Tonga

The Last Polynesian Monarchy

From New Zealand to Easter Island and Hawaii, no other monarchy has resisted the arrival of European discoverers and modernity. For Tonga, for several decades, the challenge was to resist the monarchy.
Horses under a snow, Iceland Never Ending Snow Island Fire
Winter White
Husavik a Myvatn, Iceland

Endless Snow on the Island of Fire

When, in mid-May, Iceland already enjoys some sun warmth but the cold and snow persist, the inhabitants give in to an intriguing summer anxiety.
silhouette and poem, Cora coralina, Goias Velho, Brazil
Goiás Velho, Brazil

The Life and Work of a Marginal Writer

Born in Goiás, Ana Lins Bretas spent most of her life far from her castrating family and the city. Returning to its origins, it continued to portray the prejudiced mentality of the Brazilian countryside
Geothermal, Iceland Heat, Ice Land, Geothermal, Blue Lagoon

The Geothermal Coziness of the Ice Island

Most visitors value Iceland's volcanic scenery for its beauty. Icelanders also draw from them heat and energy crucial to the life they lead to the Arctic gates.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Atacama woman, Life on the edge, Atacama Desert, Chile
Natural Parks
Atacama Desert, Chile

Life on the Edges of the Atacama Desert

When you least expect it, the driest place in the world reveals new extraterrestrial scenarios on a frontier between the inhospitable and the welcoming, the sterile and the fertile that the natives are used to crossing.
Karanga ethnic musicians join the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
UNESCO World Heritage
Great ZimbabweZimbabwe

Great Zimbabwe, Little Bira Dance

Karanga natives of the KwaNemamwa village display traditional Bira dances to privileged visitors to the ruins of Great Zimbabwe. the most iconic place in Zimbabwe, the one who, after the decree of colonial Rhodesia's independence, inspired the name of the new and problematic nation.  
Heroes Acre Monument, Zimbabwe
Harare, Zimbabwewe

The Last Rales of Surreal Mugabué

In 2015, Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe said the 91-year-old president would rule until the age of 100 in a special wheelchair. Shortly thereafter, it began to insinuate itself into his succession. But in recent days, the generals have finally precipitated the removal of Robert Mugabe, who has replaced him with former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Cahuita, Costa Rica, Caribbean, beach
Cahuita, Costa Rica

An Adult Return to Cahuita

During a backpacking tour of Costa Rica in 2003, the Caribbean warmth of Cahuita delights us. In 2021, after 18 years, we return. In addition to an expected, but contained modernization and hispanization of the town, little else had changed.
Mauritius Island, Indian voyage, Chamarel waterfall

A Mini India in the Southwest of the Indian Ocean

In the XNUMXth century, the French and the British disputed an archipelago east of Madagascar previously discovered by the Portuguese. The British triumphed, re-colonized the islands with sugar cane cutters from the subcontinent, and both conceded previous Francophone language, law and ways. From this mix came the exotic Mauritius.
The Toy Train story
On Rails
Siliguri a Darjeeling, India

The Himalayan Toy Train Still Running

Neither the steep slope of some stretches nor the modernity stop it. From Siliguri, in the tropical foothills of the great Asian mountain range, the Darjeeling, with its peaks in sight, the most famous of the Indian Toy Trains has ensured for 117 years, day after day, an arduous dream journey. Traveling through the area, we climb aboard and let ourselves be enchanted.
cozy Vegas
Las Vegas, USA

World Capital of Weddings vs Sin City

The greed of the game, the lust of prostitution and the widespread ostentation are all part of Las Vegas. Like the chapels that have neither eyes nor ears and promote eccentric, quick and cheap marriages.
Visitors at Talisay Ruins, Negros Island, Philippines
Daily life
Talisay City, Philippines

Monument to a Luso-Philippine Love

At the end of the 11th century, Mariano Lacson, a Filipino farmer, and Maria Braga, a Portuguese woman from Macau, fell in love and got married. During the pregnancy of what would be her 2th child, Maria succumbed to a fall. Destroyed, Mariano built a mansion in his honor. In the midst of World War II, the mansion was set on fire, but the elegant ruins that endured perpetuate their tragic relationship.
female and cub, grizzly footsteps, katmai national park, alaska
PN Katmai, Alaska

In the Footsteps of the Grizzly Man

Timothy Treadwell spent summers on end with the bears of Katmai. Traveling through Alaska, we followed some of its trails, but unlike the species' crazy protector, we never went too far.
Bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, the Queen of Extreme Sports

In the century. XVIII, the Kiwi government proclaimed a mining village on the South Island "fit for a queen".Today's extreme scenery and activities reinforce the majestic status of ever-challenging Queenstown.