LIVING IN BELIZE – AN EXPAT’S DAILY REFLECTIONS – 09/22/11

Yesterday was a national holiday in Belize – Independence Day – as I told you in my 9/21/11 blog.  So the big event for the day was the parade in downtown San Ignacio.

Most of the major towns in Belize were having their own parades, such as Belmopan, Belize City, and San Pedro.  Since the festivities of the night before lasted well into the early morning hours, the parade wasn’t supposed to start until 2 p.m.

However, we ended up not getting to town until almost 2:45 p.m., and it seemed that was ok, because the parade hadn’t started yet.  We decided rather than standing, we’d go to the espresso shop that is located upstairs, across the street from Belize Bank, right in the heart of downtown.

We got great seats by the rail, and there was a bathroom there too, which could come in handy since the mall where the public restrooms were located was closed today.  I ordered a watermelon and mango juice, and Nige had a pineapple smoothie, and we settled in hoping the event would start soon.

Well, apparently, that was not to be.  Anyone who comes to Belize, and especially those of us who live here, knows that Belize is famous for everything starting late.  But when 4:00 p.m. rolled around and still no parade, you could see everyone was getting restless. Plus, lots of people were standing in the hot sun. Lucky for us, we were mostly shaded.

Finally, around 4:15 p.m., it began.  Nige had prepared me that just like the ceremonies the evening before, this parade would be much larger as well – and he was right.

On September 10 for St. George Caye Day’s parade, mostly only people from San Ignacio and Santa Elena proper were in that parade.  In this one, however, you had floats, bands, and trucks representing most of the villages in Western Cayo, like Unitedville, Esperanza, Spanish Lookout, and Bullet Tree Falls, to name a few.

Also, there were other types of participants that I didn’t see last time, like clowns, motorcycle packs, the local karate school “busting some moves”, and lots of dancing troupes in brightly colored costumes.  In addition, the locals were very happy to see four cars full of the local Chinese business owners. They don’t always participate, but according to the people I was with, they were really happy and honored that they came out and took part in the day’s events.

All in all, it was a really fun afternoon.  As if all of the month’s events weren’t enough to celebrate their Independence, there was one last party beingheld after the parade called a “Jump Up,” where various bands come and play under a big tent in the park and people eat, drink and party.

Unfortunately, I’m partied out – I just can’t keep up with these Belizeans – I simply don’t know where they get the energy, but I must say, they sure do love their country!

Have you ever been to a parade in a foreign country? If so, what was the most interesting thing you saw?

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