Un-Belize-able

Belize is a country that I've never known much about, except maybe the requisite traveler knowledge of where it is and what they speak here*. I'm afraid I will leave the country knowing only marginally more.

I've chosen to spend my few days in Belize out in the Northern Cayes* instead of exploring inland where jungles, caves, rivers, etc. are found. There is just something about sandy beaches, slow Caribbean life, and ocean breezes. So in lieu of adventuring with jaguars, monkeys, and who-knows-what reptiles, I walk around, read, eat, swim, and chat up my fellow travelers. Oh, and I take some pictures too: requisite self-timer beach shot, almost spoiled turned artsy shot, beach palm, good advice that I take as often as possible, and more friendly advice.

Perhaps I will return to Belize some day to expand my knowledge beyond the Cayes. Or perhaps I will return someday to each johnny cakes, drink fresh pineapple juice, and wonder at the beauty of the Caribbean sea. They both sound pretty dang nice.

(Alternate post titles considered: Jeez Belize and You Better Belize It)
Friday March 12 2010File under: travel, Belize

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Feelin the Vibe

Conveying the vibe of a place—how it feels to be there—is something that is hard to do via any medium: words, pictures, even video.

Sure I could tell you that here in San Pedro, Belize there are more golf carts on the roads than cars, an equal mix of English and Spanish on storefronts, and coconut palm lined paths right on the beach. I could further go on to describe how friendly the people are, and even offer an anecdote of being helped (without ulterior motive) by 3 people within my first 15 minutes of being here*. But you still wouldn't get the full vibe of this place.

Feeling a place's vibe is a lot of what traveling is about for me. Sure I like to see the sights, eat the food, and meet the people, but all those things can be overshadowed (both in a good way and a bad) by the vibe of a place. As for the here and now, I've done found myself a place with a wonderful vibe. Now I'm going to head out and enjoy it.
Wednesday March 10 2010File under: travel, Belize

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Travel Quote for Monday - Length vs. Width


LIFE IS SHORT, MAKE IT WIDE

Staying at a hostel in Valladolid, Mexico, I met an older traveller about whom there was a lot I admired (and aspired). His business card fancies him as an "entrepreneur, adventurer, traveler, troubador, eccentric" and from the few days we hung out, it all seemed true enough (and then some; I'm looking forward to reading the book he wrote*). At the top of his business card was this phrase: "life is short, make it wide". He also had a very well written song that said the same. I thought it was as good a quote as any to add to my Monday traveling quotes series, to be reminded, whenever I have occasion to review past posts, to do just that—make it wide.
Monday March 8 2010File under: travel, quote

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Comunicacion

Q:What do you call someone who can speak 3 languages?A:Trilingual
Q:What do you call someone who can speak 2 languages? A:Bilingual
Q:What do you call someone who can speak only one language? A:American


Yesterday, I was complimented on my Spanish. Granted it was only after I complimented him on his English. Still, it felt good. Practicing my Spanish was one of the main reasons I chose to come to Mexico this travel season.

While I was in Japan last year, I remember really admiring my American friends' ability to communicate with the locals in Japanese. As Americans*, we don't have the multi-lingual head start that many Europeans or others have. This ability to communicate with more than just my countrymen led me to the decision to really focus on keeping up my Spanish.

Since being here, I've had two really rewarding conversations, ones where I know that I've conveyed myself well, proving to myself that, in a pinch, I can get my point across. In one instance, I saw a guy with jugglers on this shirt. I asked him about it and we ended up talking circus talk for the remainder of the bus ride. In the other case, I conducted "small talk" with a barber who cut my hair.* *

In a few short days (maybe tomorrow even), I will cross the border into Belize and be back in an English speaking country. This last week, while I've proved to myself I retained more Spanish than I thought, but I didn't get as much practice in as I wanted. Luckily, Guatemala and returning to Mexico are on the agenda.
Sunday March 7 2010File under: travel

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9016 Words About Chichen Itza





Since a picture is worth 1000 words, here's my wordiest blog post yet. Enjoy. (We did.)

Thursday March 4 2010File under: travel, Mexico

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Oh Mexico



Oh, Mexico
It sounds so simple I just got to go
The sun's so hot I forgot to go home
Guess I'll have to go now

Tuesday March 2 2010File under: travel, Mexico

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One Trick Pony


A couple of weeks ago, I again took the stage at Vaudevillingham. For 2010, I made a resolution that I would try my hand at performing more than I have in the past. Yeah, I know that in the past I've said that I'm not a performer, and I still stand by that, but I want to be comfortable on stage and to enjoy it. The only way to go about that is to do it. Do it, do it, do it.*.

I know the video isn't great quality. I was holding out to get some clearer pictures so you could see the awesome costume Deanna and I made. You've probably all see the trick before, though. Anyway, just like with my last Vaudevillingham performance, the whole gag was in the costume/props. I was introduced as a one trick pony, was dressed like a pony, and did one trick. Get it?
Sunday February 28 2010File under: video

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FC 98 - It Is Not Nice To Stare



This week I am trying something new. It has been forever since I've had a guest artist for the Friday Comic series, partially because I've been having such a great time doing them. This week, as I sat down to put together the comic, a previous guest artist was around and wanted to get in on the action. My solution: we both take the same idea and each have a crack at it, working independently.

Gabriella (guest artist on previous comics such as 32, 23, and 15, among others) gets credit for the idea. Her interpretation* is on the left and mine is on the right. All in all, they didn't turn out too different, although I tend to like hers a bit more. Anyway, it was a fun exercise that we might just have to try again.

(Friday Comics is going on hiatus for a month or so as I hit the road again. Maybe I will be inclined to draw up a comic or two while basking on beaches and chasing Mayan ghosts, but I doubt it. I trust, however, that FCs will start back up again in early April, soon to be closing in on the benchmark 100th comic. Yeehaw!)
Thursday February 25 2010File under: comic

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Bellingham to Vancouver BC Via Public Transit

I've been wanting to check out cross-border public transportation for a long time. Over the years, I've planned out the route at least a few times, never really satisfied that it was do-able*. On our recent trip up to the Olympics, Ma and I decided to give it a try. Here's what we did.

RouteFromToCostNotes
WTA 70XDowntown Bellingham StationBlaine High School (11th St. and H Ave.)$1.00This express bus only runs a few times in the morning and evening. If you need a midday connection, you could use WTA 55 and transfer to WTA 331
Walk 3 milesBlaine High SchoolKing George Hwy and 8th Ave.Free(!)When crossing the border, be sure to check in. Also, much of this route doesn't offer sidewalks, so walking can be a little dicey.
Translink 375King George Hwy and 8th Ave.White Rock Center$5.00 CDN
(save your transfer)
Supposedly the 321 also makes this route. We just showed up at the bus stop and asked the driver what the best option was.
Translink 351White Rock CenterBridgeport StationThere is also an alternative to this portion. If you stay on the 375, you can transfer instead to the 501/502 and make your way in differently. Again, we just deferred to what the driver suggested.
Canada LineBridgeport StationDowntown VancouverI like trains.

Overall, the trip took maybe 3.5 to 4 hours, which isn't bad at all considering the walk, checking in at customs, and figuring it all out as we went. We hit all our transfers perfectly, which helped shine a positive light on the experience. It isn't exactly easy and I wouldn't go recommending it to public transit newbies, but it was nice to prove that it can be done. Hopefully in the near future, that 3 mile walk will be cut down a good chunk and this trip will be as painless* as Bellingham to Seattle.
Monday February 22 2010File under: transportation

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Minor Media Mention - AP Edition

I post this in the same thread as my "Minor Media Coverage" series (previously covered here and here). (To those who might construe posting about media coverage, no matter how minor, a bit vain or whatever, I will point out that this blog is as much a scrapbook for myself in 40 years as it is a way to keep in touch with you, my loyal readers*.)

Roaming around down by the Olympic Cauldron the other day, this fellow from the AP snapped a shot of me and got all my info, etc. I got a thought that wouldn't it be cool if the photo showed up in some random newspaper in Alabama or wherever and happened to be noticed by a long lost friend that I've lost touch with? On a whim, I googled myself today and ran across this. Who knows; maybe it isn't a big deal to get a picture of yourself posted on the AP website. But I thought it was kind of neat. So there. *

(Oh, and for posterity, here is a screenshot for when that site goes down, which I imagine won't be too far in the future, and here is the actual image.)
Saturday February 20 2010File under: misc

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