Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Above: Rosa's hotel in San Ignacio where we stayed.
Myself, Shane, Adrianne, and Jacky were transported to San Ignacio to do some work on a new gym being built in town. A couple running a nearby hotel decided to renovate a bar and turn it into San Ignacio's one and only gym. The gym is on the second story open to the air with a beautiful view of San Ignacio. It has tile floors surrounded by funky colored pillars. Essentially one can lift weights while overlooking the jungle... what an awesome combination. If only that could somehow exist in Minnesota. We jammed out to the new Jack Johnson album, Kid Rock, techno, and country while working for a good five hour or so draining the rain water, cleaning the floors, putting together gym equipment, setting up the frame for the mirror wall, and polishing free weights. Adrianne and I mopped...mopped again...mopped again...and mopped again. We were endless mopping machines. By the afternoon our work was done and the gym was ready to open. I booked it to the supermarket and inhaled a bag of chips and salsa.
After, we had some time to wander San Ignacio while we were waiting to pick up more campers. Word on the street was that there was a massage place in a doctor's office offering hour long massages for $15. Naturally, I went on a mission to find it. I came to a bright yellow building down the street from our hotel. When I went in I wrote my name down, what I wanted, and was escorted to the room. A relaxing massage sounded like heaven at the moment. The woman giving me the massage had moved from Texas with her husband in search of a cheaper cost of living. She used potent Mayan coconut oil and I zoned out for then entire hour. Very tempting to go back. We all met at the pizza place in town and picked up two new campers and a new volunteer, Ben, from California. The seven of us piled in the back of the pickup and drove about 45 minutes down the endless gravel road of potholes back to the outpost. The ride is equivalent to sitting through a minor 45 minute earthquake. All in good fun though...I always look forward to rides in the back of the pickup.
On our drive to the outpost we pass through several villages and Mennonite communities. Groups of German Mennonites fled to Belize in 1958 in search of an area where they could live off the land free of persecution and military participation. They are "plain people" who dress conservatively, promote peace, and don't use modern technology. The Mennonites make up about 4% of the Belizean population and produce about 75% of the goods. Allowing the Mennonite communities to live as they wish also benefits Belize, so the exchange works out quite well on both ends. We wave to all of the Mennonites as we pass by and see them working on the farms in their overalls and long sleeve shirts. Although it isn't proper to take pictures, they are very friendly when approached. When walking through their property they ask that we be respectful and dress conservatively. Just the other day I was heading out for a run, and I wasn't allowed to run left down the road because I was wearing shorts and a tank top.
Tonight, a group of 12 Dutch girls will be arriving at the outpost and staying for four days. The other morning was spent organizing and putting up their tents. I can proudly say that I am now capable of putting up a tent (wooohoo!). We bought a blender and stocked up on some locally made coconut rum, Kahlua, and Bailey's from Misty Mountain to prepare for the fun nights ahead. The seven of us volunteers will help prepare and clean up every meal, and have the night to hang out. Should be a great time!