Belize

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our obsession with our offspring is at the cost of everything else

A message from Facebook: you have 29 messages, ten friend requests and two group invites.

It’s 6.30am and my phone has kindly woken me up to tell me this. My reaction? Pillow on head, noise like a hippo in distress. Gah! I Am Too Old For This!

I had another at my friend Suzanne’s house one evening last week. Suzanne likes to watch catch up TV while shopping on the iPad while tweeting pithy nuggets on her mobile phone.

From a distance, she looks like she’s playing synth in an 80s electro band. I have half a mind to
cheap ray ban outlet ask her to do it standing up, wearing a dark grey shirt, a skinny tie and a pair of Ray Bans.

‘You look about 14,’ I say.

‘Fab,’ says Suzanne. ‘LOL. I’m gonna tweet that!’

And she does. Suzanne, aged 46 going on 14. It seems to me that we’re all obsessed with the life of the child these days.

Just lately, we’ve come to fetishise childhood, basking in its technology and its glorious silliness at the expense of all else.

Our high streets are crammed with babies in super buggies, our coffee shops rammed with yowling toddlers, our noticeboards thick with baby massage classes, baby yoga, baby timpani. I expect little Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge is already quite something on the xylophone.

I read
replica ray bans recently that this ‘descendant worship’ comes at a cost. While we’re all fixating on our offspring,
fake ray bans the ancestors lose out. Rory Stewart, Tory MP for Penrith, writes convincingly that ‘our ancestors have been addicted to honour, carved virtue and wealth, been hooked on conquest, on adventure, and on God.

But ours is the first civilisation to find its deepest fulfilment in our descendants. Our opium is our children.’ Sitting here, surrounded by cricket stumps, fairy cakes and PlayStation games, I’m inclined to agree. While we’re busy kidding about, the elderly are all too often shoved in a corner, with their wisdom and their experience and their dentures a generation on the shelf.

Back on the domestic front, I’m as guilty as the next mother of prioritising my children. My living room, I now see, looks exactly like the youth club I used to go to in 1978 albeit with marginally better dcor.

There’s a ping pong table, a bean bag, a table football, three bicycles, two netballs and a
fake ray bans Warhammer zone of figurines ready to do battle on the dining table. I was chatting to two mothers of teens the other day and they agreed that child rearing, the modern way, is a full time, full cost, full throttle endeavour, which gets more intense as the children get older.

‘It’s a bit like running a business,’ said one, ‘only with no pay packet at the end of it, but merely the hope of an A in French or a kid who can play a nice bit of Vivaldi on the violin.’

Effectively, she said, we work for our children, and the kids call the shots with their skate dude clothes and their Instagrammed world beeping away in the background.

Friends of mine have Excel spreadsheets stuck to the fridge detailing who goes where and when ‘Livvy to taekwondo, Max to tennis, Millie over to Rosie’s for French tutoring, Jessica off to venture scouts, mother around the twist’

So what of we women? The movers and shakers, the carers and makers? We come up short changed. As one columnist wrote recently, ‘We haven’t got time to change the world because we’re too busy making sure the kids are OK.’

That, or too busy trying to stay youthful, stay on it, stay wired, keep on top of the friend requests and all the trappings of a child oriented world which moves at the speed of light and has the attention span of a fruit fly.

Surely there’s an app that could sort it all out? A mum app! One that could plot and navigate the intricate web of family life, leaving us to change the world and still have time for a nice cup of coffee and some time alone with a nail file? I reckon I’m exactly the right age for that.Articles Connexes?

Belize was a quick stop as it can get pretty expensive but we knew that we wanted to get some diving in. We found a place that would do a refresher course plus 2 more days diving for a reasonable price. The water was warm and the diving was sweet, we saw a turtle 100 feet down off the Ranguana Caye canyons.

Dwayne from Joy Tours was our guide – really cool guy and an awesome guide.
All the people we met in Belize were super friendly, the kids are unafraid and extremely well-mannered. Placencia had a very unspoiled vibe to it – real smiles and genuine greetings.

When we were not in the water we could be found:

  • Learning the basics of dominoes with some guys sitting by the dock
  • Listening to the lilting Creole spoken in the streets
  • Tom breaking out some dance moves with a lady in the grocery store, which had her erupt into gales and whoops of laughter.
  • Drinking Belizean Long Island Ice teas made with 9 kinds of rum while watching the blue Caribbean waters.
  • Drumming empty paint cans with some of the local kids.
  • Eating delicious home made treats by dive masters/chefs Simone and Herb of Danube restaurant

Next stop Guatemala for a couple weeks intensive language immersion… Yikes!

After a meal of tortillas and chicken as well as a delicious dessert of churros, we headed to bed early and got up on Nov.8 ready to cross the border into Belize. Both of us were expecting it to be a mission so we were up and out the door by 7:30am to try and beat the crowd.

We arrived to relative calm, a shocking sight all on its own and managed to be some of the first to cancel our tourist permits. We paid the $20.00 departure fee and, after waiting for half and hour the temporary car permit office opened and we were able to cancel the permit without any hassle. If you don’t cancel you car permit at the border the Mexican government assumes that you have left or sold your vehicle within the country – both of which are illegal.

I have to admit that arriving in a country where English is the national language was a relief. No trying to explain in Spanish why we’re driving and that yes we really did want to bring our car in. In fact, it was pretty straightforward, though we did have a self-appointed assistant who moved us through the process. All we had to do was get our passports stamped, visit customs to import our car and purchase insurance for the time we were here. The officials were pretty friendly and our “helper” even assisted in getting us a good exchange rate for our pesos to the Belizean dollar though he made sure we only had bigger bills and ended up getting a fair-sized tip.

We were on the road at about 10am in Belize and managed to make our way to Placencia, the Caye you can drive to, without many roads signs in about six hours. At one point when we must have looked terribly confused an entire bus-stop of people pointed the direction we needed to go.

We drove the beautiful Hummingbird highway, passing tonnes of people on bikes, just about every person waved and gave us a huge smile. But, the drive wasn’t without a few hiccups as the country was still recovering from some pretty heavy rain fall and tropical storms couple of weeks earlier.


Driving in Belize from Kels M on Vimeo.