Dangriga, Belize: Hey White Gial!

“White Gial, you headed to the cayes?” – was the call I heard again and again as I walked around Dangriga.  Like almost every town and village in Belize, it’s a different world from San Pedro.  Almost every inch of this country has an identity and a culture all its own.

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With only about 9000 residents, Dangriga is the largest town in Southern Belize.  Dangriga is officially cultural capital of Belize and the capital for the Garifuna people.  It’s funky, it’s very “un-touristy” and “white gials” aren’t expected to stay long….making our ways out to the cayes, like gorgeous Tobacco Caye…for a softer, more “vanilla” vacation.

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I was in town for a free Veterinary Clinic organized by the Hopkins Humane Society and I’ll tell you about that tomorrow.  It was a bit rough…

Here’s gorgeous Chief awaiting surgery…

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But let me show you some pictures around Dangriga town.  The history of the town is a fascinating one from railroads to oranges (read more here).

IMG_6591IMG_6595 IMG_6598And the day of the clinic and the one after…were a bit grayer.  Slaughterhouse and Welcome!  All in one line…

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There are two bridges on the main road…crossing rivers muddy from the recent rains.

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Checking out some of the fishing boats.

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To my hotel, the Cheleanor Hotel.  Known for the view from the top roof.

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And it didn’t disappoint.

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My single room with a shared bathroom was SIMPLE.  But quite comfortable…it was in a simple area next door to the hotel.

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The next morning…after lots of heavy rain on my zinc roof…

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The market and the food stands open early in Dangriga.  5am…coffee and hot fry jacks.  I had some there…went back to my room and packed up…

And then ate second breakfast at Steph’s Mak Mi Plate Diner.

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I had a long bus ride ahead.

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They are very serious about their NO CREDIT policy.

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I had one stop before I made my way to the bus station…Pen Cayetano’s studio.  He is the creator of punta rock, an amazing musician, and for me, the best artist in Belize.  A bit of a Caribbean Impressionist…a Belizean Gaugin…check out his website.  GORGEOUS.

I passed the local coffin makers shop.

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And followed the signs…

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A beautiful compound.

IMG_6700 IMG_6701 IMG_6704And very sadly…closed.  Now i’ll have to return…

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I made my way over to the local bus shed – at the Stann Creek Ecumenical College…and waited for my bus back to Belize City.

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Twisting and turning, I slept like a baby on the $10bzd, 3 hour bus ride over the mountains to Belmopan and then straight back to Belize City.

When I arrived…it was pouring rain.

Dangriga will be the center of Belize in only a few days.  November 19th is Garifuna Settlement Day – a holiday of dance, music and partying.  ‘Griga will be packed and up all night long to usher in the re-enactment of the Garifuna people landing in Belize for the first time at dawn.

Here is a photo from the re-enactment a few years ago in Punta Gorda.  Beautiful.

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