Hello! I’ve been away for a bit since I’ve been on a 2 week adventure to Mexico and Belize! And an adventure it was! I saw some of the most beautiful places, people, and things I have ever seen! We spent the first few days traveling the Caribbean coast of Mexico (the Mayan Riviera) down south to the border of Belize, landing on a beautiful island called Ambergris to snorkel and swim with sharks, before making our way back up the Mayan Riviera to see the ancient ruins of Tulum and Chichen Itza (a seven wonder of the world)!
I was so excited to soak up all the culture along the way and even dusted off my Spanish skills to talk with the locals. I realized what a beautiful array of colors, textures, food, and history are developed in both countries. In the US, the Mexican culture is very prominent (especially in Los Angeles, where I am from) but to see it in its own element, unaffected by American perception and influence was eye opening. The simplicity in which the people live in is unheard of in the states and the deep rooted culture is often lost. Much of where I was staying still had a dominant Mayan culture, where locals are even still speaking Maya. Again, differences aside, preservation of culture is not often found in the United States. Many of the women wore beautiful white sheath dresses (probably to battle the unbearable heat!) with gorgeous and vibrantly colored flowers, which are embroidered by hand. Each dress had a different pattern, some with birds, others with vines of flowers down the front to create a dizzying pattern that glared back at the sun.
Also popular among the people were heavy shawls, or sarapes, known for their durable and warm material (its more like a blanket then a shawl) as well as for their color and pattern. While in the ruins of Chichen Itza, vendors (typically local Mayans) sell their artisan products such as masks, dresses, carved sculptures, and baskets. The open market is filled with people bartering and laughing with the locals in broken English (English is the most common language spoken at the site, though many people visiting are not from English-speaking countries) and an array of different colors and sounds.
Now to steer away a bit from fashion into food…
Simply put: I love food. And despite my utter love of cooking and secret desire to be a chef, my boyfriend and I eat out a considerable amount during the week. (its a mystery how I haven’t gone completely broke with all the restaurant touring). I love sampling and savoring the different tastes in cheeses, meats, or the different scents in pastries, sauces, and toppings. I’ve become quite the foodie recently. That said, I MUST talk about the Belizean cuisine!
Belize was once occupied by the British Empire until relatively recently so the culture is a mix of Afro-Caribbean, southern Mexican, and British. Many of the locals are British ex-pats relaxing in retirement on the blue crystal shores and sailing their boats around. And despite being mislead by Lonely Planets Guide to Central America on a Shoestring on a few restaurants, the local cuisine was always the best. Caribbean food is one of my favorite cuisines because it uses very local ingrediants such as fish from the sea, coconuts from a near by tree, and simple touches like paprika and lime. Oh, a lot is also fried! (my favorite!) Fried red snapper, coconut rice, and fried plantain is one of my favorite meals!
A typical Belizean breakfast of potatoes, fried egg, bacon, and fry jacks (kind of like a donut, but not sweet).
A typical lunch in Belize usually consists of stewed chicken, rice and beans, and coleslaw. The best food we ate were from street vendors and “whole in the walls” where for $5 BZ ($2.50 US) you could get the above meal or a bacon wrapped hot dog with delicious toppings like onions, parmesan cheese, mayo, and hot sauce (strange combo, I know).
Apart from exploring the delicious cuisine, we snorkeled the 2nd largest reef in the world and saw some of the most beautiful sea creatures including eels, mantarays, turtles, and swam with sharks! Below are a few more pics from my trip! I hope you enjoy and it inspires you to get out and explore the world!