It took me a while to figure out what it was that people liked the most about visiting Belize. Some of you may think it’s the beautiful Cayes, where the Caribbean waters wash ashore to sandy beaches and the cool shade of palm trees. That suggestion sounds likely, after all, Ambergris Caye, Belize’s most popular destination has consecutively been named the best island of the world but thousands of TripAdvisor users.
Or how about the interesting culture of the Maya, with their amazing food, bizarre religious practices and fascinating ancient ruins.
Others may say the beauty of Belize lies in the great adventures: diving the Blue Hole, swimming with whale sharks, exploring caves that hold sacred Mayan relics and sacrificial remains, jungle expeditions, spelunking or discovering unique wildlife creatures. Again, these suggestions are all serious contenders but of course the answer is never quite that simple.
The best thing about Belize is its people and the way of life. It’s the manner of how everyone finds ways to connect with each other. A day doesn’t go by without someone telling you “Gud Ma’ning” or “Tek Care”. You may think that’s not a big deal but it is proven that something as little as a smile from a stranger can set off a chain of positive feelings. As humans we yearn kindness and when we receive it, we are more likely to reciprocate it and in the end, feel better about ourselves.
Certainly not every Belizean will treat you with courtesy but I can bet you that the majority will. I can confidently say that no one visits Belize and returns to their homes without making friends. And by friends I mean genuine friendship. You will have photos of this person and keep in touch, even if it’s only via facebook. But why would you add a stranger to your facebook friend’s list you may ask? Your societal rules don’t apply here you idiot. So relax.
Here’s how simple interactions are different. When someone in Belize asks you how was your day, they genuinely are interested in hearing about it. They don’t ask you how you are doing because it’s a way to start a conversation, they are just “intafayrin”. Haha, I’m kidding. And if you’re out having a drink and you want to talk about work, they’ll say to you: “Stap yu rass”, let’s enjoy the music, dance all night and be merry.
If you don’t understand the meaning of the kriol words in quotes, ask me in the comments below.