Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dangriga, Belize - Chaleanor Hotel

I arrived in Dangriga, Belize on the worst possible day of the year to try to find a room for the night. Garifuna Settlement Day celebrates when 6 boats left the island of St. Vincent and landed on the shores of Belize at Dangriga as the sun rose on November 19th. The party starts on the evening of November 18th and continues all night, until down when a reenactment of the boats arrival. Drum bands play all night and dancing breaks out on each street corner. The next day everyone is exhusted and heading to their hotel room to repair. I missed the party as I was in the capital on November 18th, but did get to watch the parade on the 19th.

After a late lunch of spiced chicken, Belkin beer and a traditional pantain based composite (it hard to describe the condensed mash...) I began a search for a place to spend the night. After passing on a dorm room at a back packer hostel I found myself in front of the Chalenor Hotel. A man appears on the second story balcony:
Chad: "You are looking for a room?"
Me: "Yes!"
Chad: "Sorry, we are all full up."
Me: "I have an idea. You have a flat roof and I have a tent."
Chad: "OK, you can stay on the roof. $8.00"

$8.00 Belize dollars is $4.00 USD. I would share the rooftop with two young Canadian guys that were sleeping in hammocks. Chad doesn't usually allow clients to stay on the roof, but during Garifuna Settlement Day the hotels are full, so he relaxes his rules.

With the assistance of Chad's grandsons I moved my bags up to the roof. Chad plans to make the roof a bar/lounge. For the next two day I would call it home, along with my roof mates.

Dangriga is a hard place to sleep until you get used to it. You think roosters start crowing at sunrise, when in fact they start in the middle of the night.
Over the next two days I discovered that Chad is one of the world's nicest guys. He and his wife own the hotel, which he claims he simply manages. Do expect to camp out at the Chalenor Hotel, Chad let me stay on the roof for a second night, because I was already set-up. The hotel offers free Wi-fi internet access, which I used it for much of the second day that I was in Dangriga, camping out in the lobby and catching up with email.

1 comment:

  1. Really appreciate the time you took to post this blog and pic. It came up on a Google search for the Hotel Chaleanor. Thanks again.