Since moving to Belize, if I need something done urgently, and someone tells me they’ll do it “right now”, I get an uncanny sinking feeling in my stomach. In Belize, “right now” can be roughly translated as meaning “at some indefinite, potentially distant time in the future”. It certainly doesn’t mean “now”.
The time in Belize is -6 hours GMT. But “Belize time” is a far more subjective and fuzzy concept. Work begins on time (unless it is raining, in which case if you don’t have a car, then it is perfectly acceptable at many workplaces to not show up until the rain stops). Meetings begin 15-30 minutes late. Parades, weddings and other big events start one or two hours after the “official” start time.
My own wedding had an “official” written start time of 3pm. So, at 2.55pm, my dad arrived at our house to drive me to the wedding venue. I was wrapped in a towel, with wet hair, in the middle of sticking on my false nails. I’d forgotten to tell my dad about Belize time.
While the official start time ticked on by, Ray’s extended family whisked around frantically finalising the wedding arrangements. Dresses were being sewed, hair braided and beaded, lamb stewed, chicken barbequed, tortillas baked and drum skins tightened.
But by 4.30pm, spot on for Belize time, everything was ready, and down the aisle we walked to the beat of drums, shake of shakas, and the sound of Ray’s dad singing.
Organising things here is as different as imaginable from the micro-managed, minute-by-minute “story-boarded” events that I used to be involved in when I worked in London. But the amazing thing is, it always works out in the end, albeit to Belize time.
I have been a very busy bee recently, and for that reason, my next blog entry will be along right now….