Sunday, March 6, 2011

Belize It or Not

NOTE:  As I’ve written before, it may be an ego trip, but I thoroughly enjoy looking at my blog’s statistics.  Even though I understand what “Pageviews By Browsers” means, I STILL have no idea what “Chrome” and (now) “Opera” are.  I wonder if “Chrome” means someone is reading from the bumper of their car and “Opera” is only used by overweight Viking women wearing horned helmets?  I’m not really sure.    
  I’m thrilled to see that a good number of you aren’t from the United States at all.  Heck, at this point in time, I’ll bet even you may be thrilled you’re not from the U.S.  Call me Boutros Boutros Penwasser, but I think it’s great that my infectious...talent... (ok, let’s call it that) has hit your shores. 
  But, I digress.
  As always, we have the good folks from Australia, the U.K., and Canada checking in and sometimes even commenting (crikey, you guys are smashing, eh?).  But, I’ve also seen many other countries taking a peek at the gray-haired American sitting on a curbside toilet.  Good for you!
  I’m pleased that Slovenia still pops in every so often.  I’d love to hear from you.  I also see China, Russia, India, and so on.  I’ve visited many of your fine countries, even the United Arab Emirates (Dubai, despite being surrounded by thousands of square miles of beach, is an absolutely beautiful city).  If I’ve failed to name your country specifically, please don’t complain to the UN.  They have their hands full with that Libya thing.
  Anyway, I’ve noticed that even someone from Belize has visited.  I was very happy to see this, because I had the fortune of traveling there several times in the past.  In fact, every time my back screams like a Mel Gibson at a bridal shower, I fantasize of opening a tee shirt shop there when I retire.
  Without further adieu....

    Quick, everyone.  Where is Belize?
    For those who answered “South America”, that’s a really good guess, but, I’m sorry, our judges cannot accept that for an answer.  If you said, “New Jersey”, we are contacting your high school to see if you can get a refund for your high school diploma.
    And, if you answered “Sunday nights following ‘Family Guy’,” then the authorities have been alerted.  Because you’re dangerously stupid.
    But, if you piped in with “Central America”, congratulations, you’ve won the coveted “Penwasser Where’s Waldo?” award for “Geographical Nerdishness.”  Meaning, you’ll probably never get to go on a date with a real woman.
    Belize, a charming little nation, is nestled in eastern Central America (or is that “central Eastern America?”).  One of Nature’s Best Kept Secrets (the other being Joan Rivers’ REAL age) Belize is bordered to the north by Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, the south and west by Guatemala, and the 21st century by running water and electricity.  (Al’s Fun Bar Trivia:  Belize was once known as ‘British Honduras.’).
    Settled a really long time ago (by that I mean a few thousand years-I’m too lazy to look up the exact date) by space aliens, car salesmen, Mayans, or Wilfred Brimley (records are fuzzy on this count), the history of Belize is one filled with tranquility and peace among peoples (unless, of course, you’re one of the “lucky” ones whose heart was ripped out by the high priest).
    Subsequently occupied by Spanish conquistadores during the Age of Exploration, Rape, and Pillage, Belize was later incorporated into the British Commonwealth.      
    Soon after World War II (the good one, the one we wanted to win, the one we did win.  Sorry, Germany and Japan.  Can we still be friends?), Belize changed its name from British Honduras (there was already one Honduras and the town waren’t big enough for two Honduras’s.  If nothing else, it was hell getting mail sent to the right place).  It then became an independent nation sometime after VJ Day and before the premiere of “I Love Lucy” (once again, too lazy to look up the exact date, but do you really care?).   

    Many of the trappings of British culture remain-red telephone booths, coinage emblazoned with the image of Queen Elizabeth (when she was hot), bad teeth, and propensity of the police to go about chattering, “What’s all this, then?”-but Belize joined the community of nations as a sovereign state once it got its own flag and postal stamps.
    In the modern age, Belize has become a tourist spot for those grown weary of the crass commercialism and drive-by shootings of Mexico’s resorts.  In its own way, it has become a mecca for budget-conscious vacationers eager to visit the “Disney World” of Central America.  Only without Mickey...the rides...the food...the 3D “Bugs Life” exhibit...snooty French waiters at Caribbean Epcot (great, now I’ve pissed off France)...clean restrooms, and the cool mouse-ears hats.  OK, so it’s NOTHING like Disney World.
    A big draw for those visiting Belize are the Mayan ruins scattered throughout the country.  I visited two of them:  Altun Ha, in the Belize district, and Xunantunich, in the Cayo district.  They look a lot like Detroit.  Only with guestbooks and trinket shops.
    For those accustomed to the aforementioned Disney flair for presenting history in a squeaky-clean, “Leave It to Beaver” manner, you may be disappointed.  But, if you want to explore what it was like to live in a Mayan city a couple thousand years ago (without “Photo Spots” and gift kiosks every ten feet), I recommend the experience.

To be continued....

Next: Naked pictures of Kim Kardashian!!!
Well, that's not true. But, there will be Mayans, Monkeys, and Michael Moore!


  1. I have a family member who has been there several times and loves it. His pics were amazing!

  2. I have a buddy who lived there as a fisherman for a while.

  3. you make it sounds so appealing. or did i mean to say UN applealing, with the dirty bathrooms and no mickey ears.
    thanks for teaching me where belize ize. i didn't know otherwise.
    i love looking at my stats too. i think i have as many canadians as americans now, with some stragglers drifting in from australia, new zealand, england and india. i'm a little addicted to stats & seeing what google phrases were used to find me.

  4. Next time we'll discuss the Cayes (pronounced "Keys." Go figure). It is there where a lot of tourists go.

  5. I work with a bloke who trained in Belize with the British Army, he talks about the fungal infections he picked up in the jungle with great affection.
    Also, in England there are hardly any red telephone boxes left. They are nearly all metal cubicles that you can use to access the internet. And yes, the Queen did look foxy when she was younger and looked like she was enjoying herself. I'll shut up now.

  6. I would like to go there, but I'm afraid of running into Wilford Brimley. I bet he's getting sloshed in those Mayan tombs.

    Hope you're well, Al.

  7. Thank you for the geography and history lessons!

  8. I love looking at the Stats too, its pretty amazing! I think they probably like your picture sitting on the throne too! haha, the Wilford Brimley part made me laugh

  9. Thanks for enlightening me on all the fantastic and not so fantastic reasons Belize should take up a bit of space in my head. Interesting post with just enough humor.

  10. Thanks, everyone!
    When I visited London in 2004, I didn't see any red telephone booths. But, on the other hand, I didn't NOT see any, either. I guess they're about as common as plain telephone booths in the States.
    Wilfred's always fun mentioning him. I saw him in "The Thing" last night. Spooky......
    Belize it or not, a lot of people go there for the resorts on the outer islands and for the fishing and snorkeling. Really pretty. As far as Belize City itself? Hmmm, not so much.
    @Robyn: I'm well and of sound body can ascertain the state of my mind. You?

  11. Oh, yeah...
    @Tony: That was before Charles grew up. Looks like the Queen has a couple of good grandkids, though.

  12. Coincidentally, and I don't remember how it came up, but just the other week I asked my boyfriend where Belize was. He knew the answer and told me right away. So I guess that leaves me needing to find a way to break it to him that I'm not a real woman, and me to figure out what kind of woman I am then. Artificial? Ornamental? Theoretical?

  13. You can't possibly be a theoretical woman. I think that's Nathan Lane. Neither are you an artificial woman. That's Lady Gaga, Cher, or Joan Rivers. As for Ornamental Woman: well, that's probably someone who Charlie Sheen pays. So, no worries, you're a regular woman who writes a fantastic blog!

  14. I personally love using Google Chrome as it seems to load everything much faster for me, so I'm one of those visiting via that path. I have no clue about Opera though.. the software or the signing crap.

    Loved this write up on Belize, too! You have a way of making everything entertaining. I really need to go check my stats now.

  15. So (CAUTION: Question from a computer ignoramus to follow) is Chrome something that you can buy for your computer? Or does it just appear (like trash collectors, the tooth fairy, mold in the shower, and relatives)? I have Safari on my Mac which, I have to admit, is kind of a disappointment. I thought that meant I could surf the internet with elephants, lions, and hippos. But, Apple did send me a nifty pith helmet.

  16. Okay, are you being serious or baiting me? LOL Chrome is just like Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox, or I'm sure Safari. It's just made by Google.

  17. No, seriously...I'm being serious. Well, except for the Safari thing with the elephants and pith helmet (but, I'll freely admit that it's sometimes tough to tell with me).
    I know that, if you buy a PC, you get Internet Explorer and with a Mac, you get Safari preloaded. So, I guess you can buy Chrome or Firefox to replace those...? Sorta like I can use Bing instead of Google as a search engine...?

  18. Chrome and Firefox are free downloads that you can just use instead of IE and Safari. You don't have to pay for them at all, but I have found they run things much better a lot of times, at least better than IE. I only have Safari on my phone, so I can't help you there.

  19. i would totally win your geographical nerdiness prize. and yes, i'm saying that with pride. i like to brag about my geographical nerdiness. i've memorized most world capitals (except for all the little islands) just for the fun of it. i'm also a big traveler, although i have not yet been to belize... or anywhere in central america actually. i've been to about 35 other countries though and am always thinking of the next trip!

  20. That's great! You've got me beat. I've been to something like 33 countries (I'm counting Cuba and Bermuda, both of which I saw from a ship at anchor). I've not been to Australia or Asia (unless you count the UAE and Israel, which are TECHnically in Asia, but.......).
    You SHOULD brag!

  21. i spent over a year in china back in 2005, which is actually when i started my blog. such an amazing experience i had to start sharing it. last trip was to peru, and i've got my heart set on eastern africa next...