The Four Faces Of Belize
“Just before noon yesterday, Lief Simon wrapped up this week’s Live and Invest in Belize Conference with a few giveaway drawings,” reports our woman on the scene, Belize Correspondent Ann Kuffner.
“Then, we were off, all 100 of us, headed in different directions around Belize, to experience this country up close and personal.
“One group headed to the Cayo, with Phil and Karen Hahn. They went to see San Ignacio and Carmelita, the sustainable Agricultural Ruralism development being established on the banks of the Belize River.
“Another group flew to Ambergris Caye, my home for the past five years. I’m traveling with this group, to give them a tour of San Pedro and Grand Baymen, our development community a half-mile from the town center.
“It’s amazing to me how diverse each conference group is. We never know who we’re going to meet, but we’re always sure that the mix of people will be interesting. Each time we make at least one or two new friends.
“One attendee I’ve spent time with, David, is another Live and Invest Overseas veteran. This is his second Belize conference. He was also here for the February event. He and some other attendees from that February conference have formed their own Facebook group to be able to stay in contact. Most of them have since returned to Belize at least once. David returned with his son in the summer. This week he is here his girlfriend.
“David has made a lot of progress in the last year, working through the planning steps he learned about in February. He left his job, taking early retirement earlier this year. He has sorted through his business affairs, getting things in order. Now he’s close to the point of being ready to make his move overseas, at least part-time.
“David had looked at a few different countries. But he’s gravitating toward Belize, especially Ambergris Caye. The fact that, at the close of the conference yesterday, he won a free week on Ambergris Caye, at Grand Baymen’s beach resort, means he’ll be able to stick around even longer than he had planned getting familiar with life on the island.
“I asked Dave whether he thought it was worth returning to repeat the conference.
“‘Indeed,’ he told me. ‘This time I’m much more ready to absorb all the information and to take my plans to the next step.’
“Paul, another attendee in Belize City this week, is a travel writer, among other things, who spent time in Belize years ago. He has lived a very full life, traveling the world. Gail, his partner, owned a travel agency. Circumstances led them to move back to South Dakota, where Gail grew up.
“Paul hadn’t been back to Belize in many years. This return trip, before the conference, he and Gail spent time in the Cayo, at the Chaa Creek jungle lodge, participating in eco-tourism activities. Paul’s been snapping pictures left and right and gathering information to write a series of articles about this country. He’s particularly fascinated with the Mayan culture and how it relates to other ancient cultures.
“I’d say that Paul is sold. He can visualize what he would do if he and Gail lived here part-time. Gail’s not quite so sure yet. She enjoyed the Cayo, but she isn’t sure she could spend a serious amount of time in Belize. Like many couples, they each have different preferences and perceptions. They need more time and experiences in Belize to work it through. Now that the conference has finished, they’re planning to spend a few days on Ambergris Caye, before deciding where to venture next…”