So, um, that was a BB gun right? – Belize City, Belize

I really lazed around not really doing too much other than sitting on the veranda watching the football in the field across the way and the sea just beyond that. I would have seen much more except there was a huge cement and neon hotel casino which now blocked their once million dollar ocean view.

The first day I arrived was nice and warm but then it went on to get overcast, windy and relatively chilly for the rest of my visit. The wind carried the aroma of fresh baked bread and buns from the bakery across the way permeating every inch of the house.

During the days, I would plant myself on the steps peering into the tinted windows of the gansta mobiles cruising by. But more interesting were the array of people on bicycles in every shape size and color. Old graying men ambling along on shiny chrome and young boys speed by on bikes two sizes too small. Parallel people casually pedal by keeping their conversation as smooth as their course. Bikes doctored up with baskets and holders of sorts to transfer whatever goods they may carry that day.

There is a character called Henry who walks around with his housecoat and backpack praying. Then there is Mr. Cadle who has taken to telling off anyone who will listen. Very seldom did I see little children walking alone. Most always they were walking hand in hand with their adult pointing and laughing at whatever caught their fancy.

Most interesting to me was the tall thin shoeless man who wore nothing but a potato sack, although simple, it fit him just right. Two holes cut out for his arms, he was shoeless and pushed a heavy grey wheelbarrow. Apparently he had been given proper clothing but he gave them away…I guess the single sack is his style.

At night when mum would come home we would go for dinner (the yummiest seafood I have had for a long time) and have heart to hearts. Oh how I enjoy talking to mother types about the hows and whys of life. I learned all about the many deadly hurricanes that have devastated the area in years past. There was even a time when they would come like clockwork every ten years making many people superstitious of the weather patterns.

After dinner, mom gave me a historical tour of the area as well pointed out the developments and plans for expansion. The streets were quiet and mostly empty (I guess people don`t come out after dark) but didn`t feel eerie.

Suddenly, a gun shot rang through the air, rocking me out of my relaxed state. A few guys darted past our vehicle at full sprint followed by a charged up crazed man wielding a gun. He waved his gun around screaming something unintelligible as he stumbled past us chasing his targets. Mom sped up and whipped us around the corner out of the line of fire and out of danger.

I asked inquisitively trying to mask my nerves, “So, uh, that was a BB gun right?”
“No.” Mom answered calmly and coolly. ” More like a sawed off shot gun.”
“Oh. So that`s not good. Um. Wow. That`s pretty crazy.”

We drove over the swing bridge (to the North side which is the safer part) and came upon the cops frisking some guy and searching his stuff on the side of the road not too far from our house. It`s funny tho. Because as unsafe and scary as it sounds, I still could not bring myself to feel fear for this place. I guess this is the false sense of security they were talking about. I guess Belizians are used to that calm before the storm type feeling.

I followed dads regime of securing all 5-10 locks on each door as I passed through it even tho it seemed a bit excessive. I suppose its this thorough safety routine which has kept them out of harms way all these years. But I really had to wonder how much time they spend locking and unlocking. Rather than a sense of fear, I got more of an impression of calm systematic preventative measures.

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