Growth

01.16.14

Fifth Day – Things I’ve Learned So Far

  • Certain breezes through the trees here sound just like rain
  • I love animals – anytime, any place, any reason
  • I can travel entirely on my own & not panic – and feel like a total bad-ass
  • If I want to completely feel as though I have the freedom to photograph as I wish, I need to either be alone or with one of a very few highly special people who “get it”
  • Things don’t always work out as planned, and learning to brush it off and keep going is the way to be
  • A place can feel like ‘home’ sooner and more easily than you think

I still haven’t slept well… it’s sort of par for the course now & I’m getting used to it. Today was my ‘fully on my own’ day, and I got up in good time & meandered over to the kitchen. The kids were just finishing up and I was able to snag some of the fried flat-bread (fry jacks) before it was all gone. Makes for a great breakfast. Chatted a bit with Mary (one of the two ladies who run the kitchen) and told her “Miss, I want your bread recipe!” She said “And you’re gonna get it!” at which point I squee’d and clapped like a little kid. I told her I wanted the Journey Cake recipe and hers for the buns/loaves… that’s the one that will always be what Belize smells like to me.

Pops of Color Everywhere

Pops of Color Everywhere

After snatching another piece from her bowl, I headed out on my own. My destination was the Belize Zoo and I knew I could do it by myself. Took the bus into Belize City and got off at the terminal. Asked around, found the right bus for the zoo & got settled in. Helpful hint – when one is going to be on a bus for an extended period of time, it’s probably best not to get a bottle of tea on the way. I was so excited about my little jaunt that I didn’t even realize how badly I needed to go until I was already wandering around the zoo. Thankfully, at the end of the first stretch of exhibits there was an outhouse… and they mean outhouse. Oh well, you can take the girl out of Alabama… 🙂

Finally arrived!

Finally arrived!

I had an amazing time wandering the zoo. I went at exactly my own pace, did precisely what I wanted to do, and enjoyed every second. The animals, for the most part, were very accommodating for me and I got ridiculously good shots. (Thank you, Mac, for my telephoto lens!) I especially love the Belize Zoo because of their standards. All the animals are either born into captivity, taken in & cared for when  they’re about to die, rescued from illegal ‘exotic pet’ owners, or similar circumstances. None are hunted.

Don't mess with this guy!

Don’t mess with this guy!

Had a bit of a disappointment at the end because I wanted to get the ‘encounters’ with the big cats, but they were seeing the vet. 😦 At least I’d gotten to photograph most of them. That was sad, but I didn’t let it diminish the day. Sat down for a bit of lunch (a chicken burger & a slice of ‘tropical’ cake), did some souvenir shopping, and then reversed travel back to the compound. Felt like going home.

On the prowl

On the prowl

Along the way I got to know two families who were taking their kids to the zoo. They got on the bus at the Old Belize dock and I kept trying to place their accents. Turns out, one family was German and the other French Canadian. Both were “boaters” – the FC family had been on their boat for over a month, the German for over a year. I found that fascinating. I would have asked more about it, but it was pretty hard to hear on the bus.

Saw one of the volunteers and the newest arrival on the way back to Liberty and chatted with them for a minute. Hung out in the apartment (unofficial volunteer hangout spot) until another of the volunteers got back. We made plans to go out & grab some dinner later that night, but when I went back up to get her she’d gone to bed & never woke back up – I chatted with the other volunteers for a while and eventually just grabbed my stuff & headed out on my own.

Little pathways through the zoo

Little pathways through the zoo

Stopped off to say hey to my little deer friend – she was straining on the tether toward me & nuzzled just like the other day. I seriously love that little thing. Ran into Pam, she helps out at the preschool, as she was heading home, and we walked together. She showed me where a new place just opened today, so I figured I’d give it a shot. Got a sub sandwich – I’ve been eating local cuisine since I got here (and loving it) but I swear when the flavor of pickle, black olive & cheddar hit my mouth, I was thrilled. Of course, I washed it down with Tamarind juice… so it wasn’t *too* American.

Raised observation path next to a habitat

Raised observation path next to a habitat

Got a couple pics of the moon tonight – big, bright & gorgeous. Full. Yeah, that figures… the dogs around here are going NUTS tonight. Likely won’t sleep too well tonight, either, but it’s ok. I’m starting to get used to just about everything else around here, but I do really miss my bed. … And the fur-babies who share it with me.

I’m really glad I had these two days off – it’s important, I think, to be able to take a break… decompress… and just be yourself for a while. I’ve found that after this break I’m actually eager to get back to work tomorrow. And that’s definitely a good thing!
Gorgeous (big!) fur-baby sunbathing

Gorgeous (big!) fur-baby sunbathing

Note: My days off afforded me the opportunity to do some more extensive photography than what my regular posts encompass. To see more pictures of my time at the Belize Zoo, please check out my photography blog HERE. Thanks!

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