Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Quan & Ed

We had a very interesting multi-cultural visit with Quan and Ed from northern California. They decided to take the bus to San Ignacio from the airport, and found the experience interesting, although it was hot. Their visit overlapped with Marta and Blanca, and as we all got to know each other at dinner, we found that we represented four different countries between the six of us, although both Quan and Ed have lived in the US since they were children and are both US citizens. Marta and Blanca are from Spain, Tom and I are from the US, Quan is from Vietnam, and Ed is from the Philippines. We laughed as we discussed how we all got to our adopted homes, since Tom and I drove through Mexico with a pickup truck and trailer, and Quan’s family fled Vietnam when she was five, all packed into a very small boat where they had to sleep in stacks for five days. After Quan told us her story, Ed, somewhat shamefacedly, said, “Well, I came to the US when I was a child, but I arrived in a 747.” It was very funny, but as we discussed the different ways different families moved to the US during that time, we realized that while Quan’s family’s immigration was definitely more traumatic, it may have almost been happier than Ed’s since he didn’t see much of his parents in the couple of years when they were planning the move because they were spending most of their time in the US getting things set up for the family’s arrival. So, while Ed arrived in style, he essentially spent a couple of years as an orphan, while Quan was always with her family. We definitely had food for thought along with our meal.

For the first adventure, Quan and Ed visited ATM and were predictably wowed.

The next day, they toured Ka’ax Tun and had lunch with Julio and his family before doing a Mountain Pine Ridge waterfall tour in the afternoon. Tom accompanied them on the Ka’ax Tun tour, and was laughing because he said Ed shamed everybody into tasting termites. One of the big questions on any of the jungle tours around here is “Have you ever tasted a termite?” Oddly enough, many of the guides have not, but after going on a tour with Ed, now they have.

Ed has tasted them in different places, so when he asked the question after seeing a termite nest, everybody in the group had to taste a termite, including Tom. And Julio. And Julio’s kids. So, there are now a few more people in the area who will actually be able to answer that question with a “Yes!”

Ed and Quan left the next day, but instead of taking the bus they decided to have us drive them so they could stop and go cave tubing at Jaguar Paw. It was a beautiful Sunday, and they really enjoyed the cave tubing as the guide pulled them through the cave with a rope so they had a chance to get lots of nice pictures of the inside of the cave. Tom and I spent a very enjoyable couple of hours sitting on a log in the river watching the locals play in the water. On Sundays, the national parks admit citizens and residents for free, so lots of people take advantage of this to spend a few hours playing in the river. We were laughing because it was very easy to identify the locals playing in the water, and the guides dragging the tourists in tubes, and the tourists being dragged through the water by the guides. As we were sitting there enjoying the spectacle, we overheard a couple of local women talking in Spanish – about us, because they couldn’t quite figure out what we were since we didn’t really fit any of the demographics. Tom turned around and, in Spanish, told them that we live in Belize, have a small lodge, and that we were sitting there waiting for some of our guests who were cave tubing. After they did the quick review in their heads to try to remember if they’d said anything offensive that they didn’t think we’d understand (they hadn’t) we killed the next 45 minutes or so just chatting about life. It was a strangely good feeling to be sitting there with our feet in the river talking in Spanish to a couple of Belizean women about life and families and kids and work, although it was somewhat surreal since if anyone had ever asked either of us five years ago what we thought we’d be doing in five years, that activity would definitely not have been anywhere in the list of possibilities.

Quan and Ed emerged from the cave, so that was the end of that conversation. The four of us went to lunch at Cheers, then on to the water taxi so Ed and Quan could continue their vacation in San Pedro.

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