Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Belize, Part 2 -- The Road to Heaven...Or Hopkins

Hopkins, Belize is one of my favorite spots to visit. The road to get there is bumpy. The people living in the small village are Garifuna. They escaped from other Caribbean nations. They settled in coastal places like Hopkins and much has remained the same.

Garifunas know how to celebrate. Funerals are conducted with mourning followed by a celebration of life. I have been in Hopkins two different times during funerals (and once during Garifuna Settlement Days). The Garifunas dress in traditional, often brightly colored clothing to conduct prayers, eat, and dance Punta (a fantastic type of music).

The Garifuna culture is beginning to fade. Because of societal mobility many have left the traditional settlements for larger cities and countries. In Belize the Garifunas are more educated and don't have the same problems that many Creole have.

The road to Hopkins is much like a road to heaven. It is on a wet savanna with extensive potholes, not concrete or rock - just dirt and mud. There are water-filled potholes that are more like ponds, being impassable for many vehicles. Once you arrive in Hopkins you see its beauty. Residents are happy to see you and not begging. The food at places like Yugadah Restaurant are superb. There is a laid back attitude where you take life as it comes. The fishing is excellent. The beach is nice. The smiling faces are addicting.

We stayed at a small house in Hopkins. It was wonderful. At night, the ocean claps on the beach and you only hear the nighttime sounds. There isn't a way to no feel like you are on top of the world. It makes you confident you might be in Heaven on Earth.

Scenes from Hopkins:

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