Islandgirl & I were driving around Belize City earlier this morning running errands in the sweltering heat. Islandgirl was starting to look like she was melting, & I was wondering if we had arrived in Hell and Lucifer would suddenly appear. Neither of us was ready to go back to the Heavenly breezes we left behind on Caye Caulker, since we had not yet been off long enough to cure our island fever. On impulse, I suggested we drive out to one of my favorite nearby villages & drove the hour to Crooked Tree, a tiny village with a population of approx. 1000.

We took off in the direction of the Northern Highway and turned off around mile 35 unto the man-made dirt road that was built over the pond to get to the village. The last time I was there was on New Years Eve and I had written more about this village in my blog entry "Cosmic New Years Tour".

We pulled up to Tree's & Vee's little streetside restaurant on the main drag to have lunch . Vee told us she didn't serve lunch, mostly dinner, but said she would prepare a dish for us of Tilapia Fish with white rice, stew beans, roasted plantain, chicken and avocado which is in season and plentyful.

We arrived shortly before midday & although much cooler than Belize City due to all the big cashew & mango trees around, there was no one in sight as we drove through until we parked and saw a patron under the tin hut with the owners when we arrived. Before the sun could reach its midday position, the little hut had already a gathering of locals who arrived one by one, seemingly attracted by the hyped up activity in the area. Strangers in town. I learned a lot about this village in those two hours, and I'll share some of the conversation with you.


Me: "So how many schools in this village"

Villager: "Just one school, but about ten churches"

Me: "Lots of Deacons"

Villager: "Well we had one foreign preacher who built a little shop attached to his church and all he sold was contraband"
Me: "You mean like this pack of cigarette I just bought in town called Blitz, a brand I never even heard of?"

Villager: "Yes, & that's the regular cigarette, if he had offered you the dollar cigarettes, he meant- the ready rolled ones that isn't exactly tobacco.
He would use the ultra-thin pages torn from the minature bibles he had in stock for rolling paper.
The patrons who purchased them swore they got a HOLY HIGH.
We use to call him the Mafia Pastor and he eventually got ran out of town.
Sigh! He was a good Country & Western singer and once sung at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville."
Me: "So who is your Village Council Chairman?
Villager: "Well right now we have elected a foreigner, an Englishman"
Me: "What, how did that happen?"
Villager: "Well, in this village you are either blue or red (2 main party colors) and so the villager doesn't really look at the candidate or his credentials, they will vote for you if you are representing their party, and somehow he got chosen to represent the winning party, so we got screwed"

Me: "Is he doing anything for the village?"
Villager: "nothing good. Before we could just go get fish in the pond but now we need to pay the village a fee to be able to go dive, spear or fish."
Me: "That sounds alarming, what does he do with the monies collected?"

Villager: "Very good question"

Me: "How many policemen in this village?"

Villager: "Just one, when you can find him, he's mostly in the city"

Me: "So what happens if there is a crime?"

Villager: "In this village, everybody knows here that if you mess with someone, you're going to have to take what you got coming"

Me: "What is the policeman like?"

Villager: "We call him Capone, he acts just like that character from the movie THIRD WORLD COP."

Me: "You have a police station, jail?"
Villager: "Not for a long time, they used the station one time, but they couldn't lock anybody up for years, the place was so rotten, people would break out. The last person arrested here was placed in cuffs and cuffed to a rotted metal. As soon as Capone was gone, he was down the street at the restaurant eating, cuffs and all"

Me: "I think I'll go check out this Police Station"

Villager: "Don't try to go upstairs, the killer bees up there will get you"

Me: "I just passed the Police Station at the last village of Sanhill, that one in better shape, but middle of the day and its all locked up too"

Villager: "Yeah, nobody home there either"

After we had chatted & cleaned our plates, Vee came out and asked

"How was the Hurry-Come-Up Food?"

Me: "Excellent lunch & company & a COOL relaxed afternoon filled with laughter, thank you!"


Sandy A. said…
Guess the term "Crooked" is in the name for a reason! HA!
We loved Crooked Tree...especially after a bottle of cashew wine;)
Marva said…
I just stumbled across your blog and I'm telling you I experienced a bunch of emotions. I got angry reading 'bout this Englishman that instituted a fee to go fish and I laughed out loud reading about the breakout from the prison.

Gosh I miss Belize!

Thanks for sharing this.