When in Belize

May 1

Placencia, Belize

7:00 and Mom taps on the door…”You up? We are going to workout if you want to go” makes me weigh the options of laying in bed for a bit longer or heading into the village for a workout. Once I’m out of bed and moving around it doesn’t matter anyways, so I threw some clothes on zoomed out the door while Mom and Dave wait for me in the paddleboat to go across the canal. They were a bit behind after waiting on me so they went ahead on the bikes and I walked in behind them. 

I’ve never lived in a small town for an extended period of time but being in the village makes me appreciate the balance between a slow pace and productivity. Walking from our place at Sunset Pointe to Evolution Beach Gym takes about 10-15 minutes so it’s a nice way to get warm before starting your workout. When I arrived, Gallo had some plans for us so instead of working out we took the bikes down to the new location of for the gym. We rolled down Main Street like it was a welcoming tour for him…everybody knows him so he gets a tremendous amount of love from the community. I took the opportunity to film the trip to create a video for “The Evolution of Evolution Beach” so when we got there he shared his vision for the beachfront lot that included weightlifting areas, platforms for group exercises, and a small cafe. 

While we were by the docks, a woman named Keesha yelled at Gallo and asked what we were taking pictures of so I introduced myself and learned that she had just opened Numada Holistic Massage and Spa in front of the Pier and will be expanding it into a cultural center for traditional food, therapies, and education. A sign out front displays herbal teas and you can smell the cassava and callaloo cooking from around the corner. I will be heading back over there this week to record an episode of the podcast so be ready to learn a lot more about Keesha and her work!

After hanging around with them for a bit we checked out one more area of the beach and headed back to the gym where Melanie was giving Mom and Dave their post-workout massages while their neighbor Anton Leslie was working on some of his handmade foam art. He has created a process of sculpting signs, sea creatures, and even people (You’ll meet Percy soon) out of foam and fiberglass. The spectrum of his artistic abilities bring these carvings to life when he paints them with extreme detail, truly expressing the character of the piece. His current lineup includes Lionfish, Sea Turtles, Spotted Rays, and a Life-size recreation of Percy, a famous tour guide in Belize. Check back to The Grassfed Blog for a specialized post on Anton and his art including a video introduction.

There’s only one question that you ask after leaving the gym: “Where are we going for breakfast?” And today’s answer was the same as yesterday’s: The place next to the fruit stand. Burritos and Watermelon Juice again for me, Tacos and a Stuff Jack for Mom and Dave…Life is Good. A guy at the bar had an Evolution Beach Gym shirt on so I asked if I could take a picture which sparked a conversation and when he saw Mom he realized I was their son. He works at Taste Belize and they had met him when going to the shop for some Moringa. He turns out to be good friends with Gallo and I soon would be friends with him too.

After breakfast we went home and I got some work done until I finally remembered that I needed to get my bottle from the airport so we did what we always say we won’t do: Went out for a bike ride at the hottest time of the day! Mom and I rode up to Maya Island Air with the wind in our face, we were riding directly into it so I ended up getting a workout after all. With my bottle in hand we found some lunch, I experimented with meat for the first time in a couple of months and I was not impressed with the way my body reacted so I will likely continue stay away from it. I stocked up on Watermelon Juice and rode over to Gallo’s when I saw him and Wilder (the guy from breakfast) drinking on the picnic table by the carwash. They informed me that it was a holiday (Belize Labor Day) and that I could not work, I had to drink.

The bottle lead us to the pier to sit by the fishing docks and talk with some of the guys in the village when I met a man they call Yaps, the founder of the Belize Seaweed Farmers movement. He began harvesting Seaweed about 10 years ago and now they are processing it and packaging it for export. “One Foot in the Land and One Foot in The Sea!” Was his answer when I asked if he like the bush… I had already realized that he was being extremely humble about his experiences. When he left some of the guys made remarks regarding his importance in the village, “He did it first and now he is teaching everyone to do it, he is a legend.”

After the watermelon juice was out I decided to head towards some food…it was homeward bound for this dude. I rode home without falling until I hopped off the bike and it fell under me, as my brother Chris would say, “You gotta pay to play!” A quick paddle board across the canal and I was back home. The rest of the day was a hunt for food that never really happened.. It’s almost 10 AM and I haven’t consumed anything but some fruit this morning and 2 Mai Tai’s last night…I think it’s time to get some food. 

Yesterday I learned that When in Belize, you do as Belizeans…and it was a holiday, so I drank.


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