People in the World, Part 2 of 2

Welcome back to Part 2 of my people-watching tour…this time in the western hemisphere.

As I explained in Part 1, my wife and I have had a couple decades of observing wildlife in different parts of the world. We go to faraway places, usually in tropical locations where there tend to be more birds and mammals. After our plane lands in the big city, we make our way into the small towns, villages and rural areas to observe and photograph wildlife…and enjoy the people too.

These are some of the people we have literally encountered along the way–many photos are snapped through a van window as we’re driving through town. Small local villages, schools, homes and markets.

Featured here are Peru, Mexico and Belize.

PERU.

We spent about a week in motorized canoes cruising an Amazon tributary and camping in the rainforest.

We often saw small villages on the river’s edge. In the second photo below, the villagers had harvested bananas and we’re preparing them for market.

In contrast to the humidity and heat of the Amazon River Basin, farmers in the Andes mountains grow potatoes and grains at high altitudes.

This woman, below, is heading back to the farm, potatoes on her back. The potato originated in Peru over 8,000 years ago and remains a staple here. There are also grain crops visible here, the purplish-red patch (center left) is quinoa.

These potato farmers, below, are selling their crop at a village market.

One morning we were driving through this town below where the local market was bustling with residents. You can see how the Andes Mountains in the background tower over the town.

Nearby, the children were gathering for a day of school. Across the street the little children were jumping around a parked truck filled with citrus fruit, looked like tangerines; and the bigger kids, below, were engaging with their teacher outside the school.

In larger towns we would often see stone steps and houses built into the mountainsides. The blue “flags” (center right) in this residential alley indicate where corn alcohol can be purchased.

MEXICO.

One year we journeyed to a small Mexican town, San Blas, for birding. A coastal state, Nayarit. We had arranged online with a recommended local birding guide for several days of birding together. The guide, Armando, did not drive so his friend Lupe, who was a taxi driver, drove.

We drove all over the town and countryside in a yellow taxi…had so much fun.

Armando had a penchant for fried pork rinds so every day we stopped along the way for those. He knew where to find good food. One day he took us to a local eatery, a canvas-covered plot in a banana plantation where we ate exceptionally delicious food and hand-made tortillas made to order.

In many of the small towns there were large barbecue grills selling savory hot food on the street.

We did a lot of birding in the plantations. While we were focused on a large flock of little green parrotlets, this man walked by, below, on his way to pick coffee berries very early one morning.

We also spent a lot of time on and around the San Blas River spotting pelicans, herons and other waders.

Several local families, like this one below, were frequently enjoying a day on the water.

BELIZE.

Belize is a Central American country bordering the Caribbean Sea, Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras and has a wide array of ethnic groups and cultures. Per Wikipedia: “Belize has a diverse society that is composed of many cultures and languages that reflect its rich history.”

One of our destinations was Lamanai, an archaeological site, to spot birds and howler monkeys. Out in the country we came across a village of Mennonite farmers. There are about 12,000 Mennonite residents in Belize, originating from various places but primarily of Russian heritage.

More info: Mennonites in Belize, Wikipedia.

It happened to be Sunday and we came across much of the village on the road. Each family was in a buggy pulled by a horse, their horses in a gentle trot toward church. Below is the parking area of the rural church we passed.

Hours later, as we entered the rainforest trail, spotting birds, bats and howlers, this group of Mennonites walked by us. The men walked in one group (in front), and the women and children followed. They were taking the day off from work.

Days later in a different area, we drove through Belize’s capital, Belmopan, as school was letting out.

We also spent several days at a large lagoon spotting snail kites, raptors and waders, Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary.

Our guide, Glen, grew up around here and seemed to know everyone. Here he is (below, in front) with his cousin who was out in his yard cleaning the fish he had caught that day. There’s an opportunistic cat, too.

That wraps up the series People in the World. It’s a big world, a very big world, with many different types of people, cultures, and lifestyles.

And yet, as it goes, we are all very much the same.

Happy Holidays to you, my friends. Thanks for joining me this year, see you next year!

Written by Jet Eliot.

Photos by Athena Alexander.

54 thoughts on “People in the World, Part 2 of 2

  1. Enjoyed this reminder of my past travels, Jet. Yes, we all have far more in common than differences, traveling teaches us this. The world needs more cultural exchanges!
    My best wishes to you both for a happy and fulfilling new year!

    • I love all the bright colors in Belize, too, Deborah. The clothes, houses, stores all in vibrant colors. I’m glad you’ve been to Belize, and hope that you get to return. There is a lot to see there, much beauty. Thank you, Deborah, and my best wishes to you for a happy holiday time.

    • Yes, there’s always surprises when we see into other worlds, something I am sure you have experienced a lot, Linda, with all your travels and living in Liberia, etc. I’m glad I could share a few things about Peru and Belize with you here today. Thanks very much.

  2. Is that a village in the background (half way up the mountain side) in the Peruvian market photo? If so, how on earth do people get there? Whatever, I wish you and Athena a very happy Christmas (assuming you celebrate it) and a healthy and travelsome* new year.
    (*I just made up that word!) 😊

    • How fun to get your comment, Mike, and your lovely new word. I’m glad you could see that little village on the mountain side, I wasn’t sure it would come out. Yes, that was a village, now defunct, from Inca times. So much of the Inca civilization is a mystery, and I, too, would like to know how those folks could live up there. I’m happy you saw it and it had you thinking. My best to you, Mike, and to Jude too, for a happy holiday.

  3. What a joy to get to see these faraway places and people that we don’t get an opportunity to see on our own, Jet. Many thanks to you and Athena for sharing your travels with us!
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you! Your adoring fan (and sister).

    • I have a big smile on my face, dear Nan, thank you. You know, from your own extensive travels, how enlightening and inspiring other cultures in this world can be. I am honored to share these photos and moments with you, and am so glad you enjoyed them.

    • Thank you, Jan. I’m glad you enjoyed the colorful shots of the people here. Peru especially is known for its textiles, and they weave some brilliant colors, don’t they? I hope you have some mobility now on this Christmas weekend, Jan, and are healing and enjoying life as a two-footed pedestrian again. Thanks very much for stopping by.

    • Always wonderful to have you stop by, pc, with your acute observations and kind words. Isn’t that an adorable photo of the little girl? Her mother was selling handmade jewelry she had made in a touristy part of the Inca ruins and had her daughter nestled safely by her side. I send you and Mrs. PC and your family big smiles and holiday cheer, and thanks for a lovely year of WP connections.

  4. So lovely to be with you in your past travels JetπŸ₯°
    What a great reminder to continue to be open to new explorations and experiences in life. May the new year bring new opportunities for adventures and new insights into this amazing world we all live in πŸ™πŸΌπŸ’πŸ’–

    • Thanks so very much, Val, for your wonderful words and good wishes. I am glad you enjoyed the people-watching post and travel adventures and join me in celebrating the diversity and glory in life as a human. Sending big smiles and thanks to you, and happy holiday wishes.

    • Funny you should mention writing a book about my travels, Wayne. I have written a book…two in fact, and I’m working on #3. Mystery novels, based in lively places, the first one is in Australia, the second one is in San Francisco. You can visit the margins and tabs of my blog site for more info if you are interested. Sending you wishes for happy holidays, my friend.

  5. Very interesting photos. I’ve visited Peru, so was particularly interested in those shots, but I’ve not been to either of the other ones.

    A very Happy Holiday to you and yours, too.

    • Nice to hear from you, Walt, and I can imagine it is frigid up there in NY state. Yikes. Glad you enjoyed the photos and I hope you find ways to stay warm and have a happy holiday. I am sure you will. My warmest thanks.

  6. Thanks for sharing your travels and people watching, Jet. Since I don’t travel I have to enjoy those others experience and appreciate the generosity that folks like you who do travel show and tell so well. Although I don’t like crowds and am not outgoing enough to engage with strangers, I do like people watching (it has gotten me in trouble a few times although long ago) so enjoyed seeing the variety of life styles others live. People sometimes can be too judgmental about how others spend their lives but often we find people in simple living situations are much happier than many of us in more “developed” nations and our complicated stressful existences.
    I have a favorite picture and it is the one with two happy people posing with Armando. ❀

    • Dear Steve, I so enjoyed your comment. I am smiling broadly as I type this. I was enjoying all your words in the comment and then I got curious as to what your favorite picture was when I read the word “favorite,” and how fun it was to know it was the one of Athena and Armando and me. We three had so much fun buzzing all over the San Blas area. One morning at (dark) dawn we stopped at his friend’s house, he said he had to wake his friend up so he’d be ready in a few hours to drive our boat. He knew all he had to do was wake the dog and the dog would wake his friend. Well the dog woke up the whole neighborhood! The friend never showed up to drive our boat, hours later, but Armando found someone else. Lots of life and laughs on that multi-day birding adventure. I think that’s what you read in the photo. My warmest thanks, Steve. It’s been fun this year connecting with you.

      • It’s been a fun year getting acquainted with you too, Jet. I enjoy your travel posts and have learned a lot about other places in the world thanks to you and Athena. Happy New Year!

  7. Another interesting posts introducing to sights beyond our borders. Was surprised to read the comment about the large number of Mennonite residents – I happen to live in a area that has a lot of Mennonite (and Apostolic Christian) residents. I was raised in a much more “hectic/socially intensive” (for lack of better description) and it was an amazing experience to learn about their lifestyle/beliefs over the 35+ years we have been here. I am jealous of your birding opportunities ha. Best wishes for the coming year.

    • Hi Brian. The Mennonite community in that area were praised for their farming practices and carpentry, and their contributions. But there was concern from some over the rainforest they were cutting down to farm. Always an intricate balance. For our birding adventures, over the years we have saved up our earnings, plan a trip years in advance, spend on the trip, and repeat. It has slowed down due to the pandemic. Cheers to you and birding, and many thanks.

    • I am happy you enjoyed the people-watching series, Frank. And I really appreciate your visit and warm comment. Happy new year to you, my friend, and thank you for all the lovely photographs over the year.

  8. Some great people watching you guys have done. The photos and your writeup really shows the people side and makes you feel like you are there. I especially liked the last photo of the little girl. Perfect ending.

  9. People watching is so much fun and always interesting. Thank you for the chance to enjoy doing this vicariously through your pictures of folks from faraway lands doing their chores and enjoying their time off. I especially enjoyed the ones of the men cleaning fish and also the woman barbecuing fish.

    • I appreciate your visit and enjoyed your comment, Barbara, thank you. As I was composing the people post, I was struck by all the local fishing that came up and what a source of food and income it is, so I am really glad you enjoyed that aspect too. My warm thanks and best wishes to you for a happy and lovely new year.

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