November 21, 2008

No Ipods This Christmas

Last week, I locked eyes with a wide-eyed stranger while riding my five year old Jamis cross country uphill towards work. Two things came to mind: either that I had met this guy once upon a time in Mexico or that I should have removed my nerdy spectacles the instance I stepped out for fresh air.

He went down the opposite direction when the traffic ahead caught my attention. I stopped at the intersection giving way to the noisy engines and lo, beside me like a predator sneaked up Mr. Stranger. "Buay, you know anybody weh want buy wan ipod"?

Oh okay, he's selling a hot mp3 player. Actually about four for $30 BZ a pop! He confessed about breaking into a warehouse or something of the sort. Sounded super fishy, but who cares, show me the good stuff.

So I scheduled a meeting at my workplace and before I could settle in, he shows up with a cardboard box enclosed in a black plastic bag. He's quite in a rush this time and looking very desperate. Still on his yellow beach cruiser, he approaches, and says "see it ya, run it now".

My immediate reaction to this is wtf?! I reach over to grab the box he's pushing at me and he reacts. Then I react: "Show me!".

"Buay stop play, dem done see me already, ih deh in ya, jus tek it!"

This time, he shakes the box inadvertently too much and I hear something in there that doesn't sound like four ipods. I retreat leaving behind a long-haired, Antonio Banderas looking mad man in uproar. Emma looks at me on my way in, "Wat you do di li man Leonardo?". I walk towards my desk, pissed. There will be no ipods for me this Christmas.

November 20, 2008

Garifuna Settlement Day 2008 in Pictures

The arrival of the Garifuna (re-enactment); New River, Orange Walk Town.The arrival of the Garifuna (re-enactment); New River, Orange Walk Town.

In Belize, November 19th is Garifuna Settlement Day. It marks the arrival of a people of African descent who migrated from the Carribbean islands. On this day, throughout the country, there are re-enactments commemorating the advent of the Garifuna. Here are some pictures of this year's "Yurumei" in Orange Walk Town.

Parade lead by Garifuna women; Banquitas, Orange Walk Town.Parade lead by Garifuna women; Banquitas, Orange Walk Town.

Garifuna Day celebrations on Main Street, Orange Walk Town.Garifuna Day celebrations on Main Street, Orange Walk Town.

View more shots at Natural Selection, a photo project of mine.

For more on this event, Belizean Journeys has a nice write up from Dangriga Town, home of the first Garifuna settlement in Belize. Here's a link to last year's Garifuna Day in Pictures.

November 7, 2008

My Retirement from Chess

I’m taking my chess books down to the library next week. There's no place for them on my bookshelf, anymore.

I picked up chess in a club during my sophomore year at St. John’s College. I wasn't any good at it then, that is, until I moved to Muffles College High School.

I had been expelled from St. John's for bad conduct and moving back home took a toll on my nerves — everything was different.

During this time I met my best friend, Roberto. We joined the chess club. At club, I found comfort. Eventually I got addicted, then I got good at it, and then I became a junior chess champ.

I found enlightenment by breathing chess. But today's story is different.

Chess is boring.

With some respect left, chess does good justice by emphasizing, at an intense level, the importance of patience and strategy — characteristics one can't learn straightforwardly on a daily basis.

That said, I will miss the fancy awards, the chess books, and the practice sessions, tournament days and those that I’ve met on and off the board because of chess, the traveling, and the great exposure.

It's ovary.