When I meet anyone my first gut feeling about that person has very little to do with what they say,but how they say it. I am not influenced by a persons attire ,I am interested by how comfortable they are with themselves . What persona do they exude ? Do I feel comfortable with the person or do I,like my dog feel like growling and walking away. Minus the growl.
We have met all manner of people in our two weeks since we have been in Belize. People born and raised here, transplants,expats,runaways,soldiers,missionaries and mission less drifters.
We have talked to touristas,travelers,workers,speculators and hustlers. The other day we were reading quietly in our chairs ,sitting on the pier of the Marina.
A man appeared on his bicycle and we began a conversation initiated as is often the case on his observation that our dog had only three legs.
Within minutes I knew that we had met a fellow traveler. After a quick description of our Belize situation, he knew us for what we were as well. Hah, he laughed and spoke in his German accent ,”you are as I am, gypsies,then?”
Horst had been a high school teacher in Germany . His life in Munich was comfortable and his job was for life as are civil servant positions in Germany. At the age of 45 he packed up his briefcase tossed it in his little flat and headed out to experience the rest of the world.
Its been 22 years and he still has so much more living to do. His current adventure had started in California as had our own. “I bought a car in Los Angeles” he told us “and it has broken again”. “No matter,I have my bicycle”. “Unfortunately it also has a defect so I will need to repair both ,before I continue.” Horst spoke in the casual, matter- of- fact manner, of a traveler who had faced such problems before. “Did you know”,he said “that California is one of the few States that will sell vehicles to foreigners.” I did know that, I said.
Yes,but he had hoped his $1500.00 car would have been more sound. You and about 75 % of the population of Belize I thought. Horst was heading south, next stop Guatemala .He had been in Belize several times over the years but its relatively flat topography wasn’t so suitable to his sport of Para gliding.Perhaps he should buy a small sailboat and cruise down. There were a few available at the Marina for less than 5,000 I told him. That was good news to Horst. He had sailed the West Indies in far less impressive craft than were currently seen at the Marina. A quick lunch and an exchange of emails and Horst was off to try and negotiate a sailboat purchase. Good luck to Horst and safe travels.
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Part of what makes any trip memorable is the characters you meet along the way.