Wednesday, January 21, 2015
From a Ship in Houston Every Port in the World is Open to You...Here's 3 - Cozumel, Belize, Roatan Honduras
My journal this week.
20 January 2015
We are sitting on a Norwegian cruise ship 5 miles off Belize – there is a reef that keeps us from getting closer. So they send out small boats to “tender” us to the mainland at Belize City, the capital. We can see at least two other ships near us, one is a Carnival and the other is too far away to tell, but its huge like us.
Yesterday we woke up in Cozumel, on the Yucatan in Mexico after leaving Bayport, Houston and spending a night and a day crossing the Gulf of Mexico.
Above: Cozumel, Mexico harbor
When we left Port Houston an entire world of ports opened up to us—if you had the time and money you could sail to any port in the entire world. Commercial ships do it all the time – over 6,000 of them a year coming into the Houston port alone. But on this trip we are making 3 ports of call-- Cozumel, Belize and Roatan, an island 30 miles from the mainland of Honduras.
Here is a map:
Cozumel (and cancun) is probably the safest place in Mexico. Because of tourism they have tons of jobs, so they don’t have the issues like western Mexico, where I heard they stopped taking cruise passengers because a busload of them were stopped at a checkpoint and robbed. That’s not good for business so the ships stopped going to places like Mazatlan, where I have been. Here is a street shot:
Above: Street scene in Cozumel. Notice the police in the truck carrying a machine gun.
Next stop we made was Belize
The funniest thing that happened in Belize was when we were riding the tour bus and a lady in the back piped up and asked: “What about the damage from the Tsunami?” I almost cracked up and wanted to shout: “That was in Indonesia, on the other side of the world!” but I let the guide handle out. “No, we have not had any Tsunami’s here” and she went on from there.
A lot of Americans live in Belize because it is cheap as a retirement place. Gas costs $4.50 a gallon – when it is under $2 in the U.S. (our guide said it had been $6 before the price drop). She said that a company has a monopoly on gasoline distribution. That explains a lot. I wondered why they allowed their government to do that, but they seemed to think “that’s the way it is.” So, people use the term “driving their BMW” – meaning “Be Me Walking.” Many use bicycles. They have zero solar and zero wind power – the gasoline monopoly I am sure opposes that too since it would be competition.
Belize people consider themselves ‘creole’ and speak English. This came about after the Spanish and British had a big fight over it and the Brits won. It and the U.S. are the only two countries that speak English. Our guide said “We have almost 320,000 people!” Wow, the entire country has about the same number of people as Amarillo and Lubbock combined! Houston’s five million would swallow it.
When she showed the “rich” district of Belize City, it could have been any U.S. neighborhood. Someone asked how much houses cost, she said: “They are very expensive, about $250,000!” Needless to say a lot of ears perked up on that one. Here is a shot of downtown Belize City:
They are very friendly, and prefer to speak a Creole among themselves. But the country was founded upon the sweat of slaves, who are represented on their flag with a white colonist. They put metal bars over the windows. When a storm comes, they cut plywood and put it behind the metal, in front of the windows. Wow. The things you learn when traveling…
21 January 2015
This morning we woke up coming into the port on Roatan, Honduras. It is an island about 30 miles off the coast of Honduras.
Above: Roatan, Honduras – Port
The capital of Honduras, Teguichagapa (sp), is the murder capital of the world. A passenger we met last night at dinner pointed out. He was ok with going to Roatan, but he would not want to be on the mainland of Honduras.
The flood of children to the U.S. borders last year came from near here on mainland Honduras (El Salvador, etc.) – where being a kid on the street means facing of choice of either joining a gang or being killed. This isn’t what most U.S. kids face or can even contemplate. Many of these gangs started when the U.S. started deporting L.A. gang members, and others like them, back to their home countries such as El Salvador and Honduras.
These thugs took their gang ways with them, and overwhelmed the underpaid police in places like Mexico and Honduras, who are easily corrupted or killed by these gangs now controlling cities in central America. So that is what bought tens of thousands of mostly children to the U.S. in 2014. They were fleeing death from gangs created by our deportees.
So, we in fact created our current problem with our own past actions.
Our local guide in Roatan, Samantha, said gas was $4.50 a liter, which would make a gallon near $14 so that can’t be right. But even if its $7 a gallon its more expensive than Belize or the U.S. Roatan does use solar power and we saw a yard where parts of windmills were laid out.
Above: Roatan Honduras port and parts of windmills awaiting assembly.
Standby or “Follow” for updates to my Global American Values blog. Upon my return, the more interesting photos will be posted for online viewing, with explanations.
Right now 1% own over 50% of the GLOBAL income. A mere 85 people own as much as the bottom 3.5 Billion people in the world! More on this to come! Check out BBC’s “A Richer World” – google it. Extreme Income inequality threatens our existence.
Since the Bush tax cuts, the wealth transfer has given all the benefits to the top 1% instead of the 99%. It’s why the American Middle Class has been shrinking. Let’s explore the solutions.