Peder with a D

[plays well with others]

Getting Settled in Belize

Posted by Peder on 13 February 2009

So it’s been a while since I’ve updated here. That’s mostly because writing on this blog requires a constant Internet connection, which I don’t always have down here in Punta Gorda. The exception would be at work, but it’s a little hard to find time for my personal blog when I’m there.

thatchThe other reason is because I’ve been updating to a new blog toy that I have. It allows me to make a post simply by sending an email, which is a lot easier to do whilst at work. I’ve put a few updates there from Belize. I talked about my first days in country, and I purged some pics of jaguars, red-eyed tree frogs and Mayan handicrafts from my office hard drive. They’re such cool pics I had to share. I’ve also taken a bunch of pictures which I posted to Flickr.

Work so far is good. I’ve spent some time writing up project concept sheets – the first step in getting a funding grant – and I’ve set up some online spaces for future broadcast use. We have a new work blog, we’re updating our website, and we have our own Flickr and Twitter accounts.

My Bike

My Bike

Life down here is very different from in the States. I don’t have a warm shower, but I can swim in the ocean whenever I want. I don’t have a car, but it’s easy to get around on bikes. It rains a lot, but it doesn’t snow. Things are a little dingy all over, but the people are really friendly and laid back. This first week has been quite the shock to the system – we’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto – but that’s to be expected. Sometimes I have to remind myself that just because I’ve moved overseas before doesn’t mean this is gonna be easy-peasy. There’s still an adjustment stage that I need to give myself. It’s OK to have culture shock.

My house is good, it’s a little out of town (but still easily bikeable) in a “suburb” called Hopeville. I live at the intersection of Mangrove and Morning Glory Streets. It’s a quiet neighborhood where everyone seems to know everyone else. I like to sit out front after work and read my book waving at everybody so they get used to me being around. Sometimes I wear my hat too cuz it’s even more distinctive. The more people can remember you and even have a little laugh, the better off you are. And that hat is pretty memorable. (Some have said I look a bit like on of the local Mennonites, and that always gets a laugh. they’re a group that has seclude itself from everyone else in a little village a few miles away.) Not that not having problems would even be really possible. My landlord is from a well-known local family and his siblings and parents are scattered around in different houses in the neighborhood. He knows everyone, everyone knows him and when I say I’m living with Mr. Burton (that’s his first name, I’m Mr. Peder) I always get a positive response.

I’ve come to really like how diverse Belize is. There are significant cultural differences among the Mestizo, Kriol, Garifuna, Chinese, Mayan, East Indian and Mennonite communities, but everyone gets along pretty well. Not from the news nor from talking to people have I heard of inter-racial issues. Add to that the influx of tourists and expats from all parts of the globe and you have a model society of people getting along. In a future post I’ll talk more about these ethnic groups, their divisions and their languages.


Posted in Belize | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

A Collage of Images from Ya’axche

Posted by Peder on 12 February 2009

I made this collage after work yesterday of a bunch of photos I found and liked in our organization's archive.
I used Picasa 3 to do it, which is a cool little piece of software.

Posted via email from Peder Hanson [dot] com

Posted in Belize | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Images from the Tropics – Fruit

Posted by Peder on 11 February 2009

Took these pics at the office yesterday.  The mini bananas (not plantains) were delicious, as was the papaya.  Didn't try the lime, but frozen lime juice has become one of my favorites since I've been here.

Posted via email from Peder Hanson [dot] com

Posted in Internationalism | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Today is Moving Day

Posted by Peder on 2 February 2009

Punta Gorda Pier Punta Gorda, known locally as P.G., is the southernmost town in Belize and the capital of the Toledo District. The population is close to 6000 people, with a mixture of Mopan and Kekchi Maya, Garifuna, Creoles, Lebanese, East Indian and Chinese peoples.

Almost 210 miles by road from Belize City, it is the last sizeable settlement in Southern Belize. The road into town follows the shoreline; five main streets run parallel inland. Various fruit trees, especially mango trees, line the streets. Most small homes are made of wood on stilts. The town has one hospital, a police station, one bank, a post office, a gas station, a civic center, a number of churches and schools, and various grocery stores, hotels, restaurants and bars. Punta Gorda is a gateway to and from Guatemala with immigration and customs office near the town dock.

Aerial Of Punta GordaWith it’s cool sea breezes and friendly people, Punta Gorda is a pleasant and interesting town. The pace of life is slow and easy-going. Traffic is minimal on the streets. People hang out on street corners chatting, while school children play chase in the school yards. The town springs to life on holidays and market days-Saturday and Wednesday mornings- when the villagers and Guatemalans from across the border pour in to buy and sell hand-crafted produce and simple household goods around the clock tower.

Main Street, Punta GordaThe waterfront is great for long strolls, with light constant breezes blowing in from the Bay of Honduras. Nightlife is quiet, but there are a couple bars with pool tables and on certain nights Garifuna drummers perform for tourists (though on any given night, you can hear drumming as P.G. is considered a major center for the Garinagu people). You may run into P.G.’s own local band known as the “Coolie Rebels”, who play their own rendition of popular songs.

Punta Gorda is a perfect base from which to explore the rest of southern Belize. Many tour guides work from the town and can help you choose from a wide range of full or half day activities including fishing, kayaking, river touring, and snorkeling.

This blog may see a decrease in the number of posts it gets as I’ll now be employed and have slightly less Internet access. I’ll also have stuff posted to my other blog and Twitter – you can see the RSS feeds over to the right – and I think I may start using this space to write fewer but longer posts on broad topics. We’ll see.

Text and pics blatantly copied from the PG page on – I know it’s not cool to do, but I did it. Sorry.

Posted in Belize | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Sunglasses Wrapped in Underwear

Posted by Peder on 1 February 2009

Sunglasses packed snug
just like that bug in the rug.
Wrapped in underwear.

Sunglass, glass and sun, originally uploaded by daffie @ flickr.

Posted in Haikus | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Undisclosed Location, Belize

Posted by Peder on 29 January 2009

DSC00408, originally uploaded by Natsmiller.

My friend recently posted these after a hike through the Bladen Nature Reserve.

Absolutely stunning.

DSC00423, originally uploaded by Natsmiller.

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Trying Out Posterous

Posted by Peder on 27 January 2009

This is my first post to, seeing how well it links to my other online profiles.

To start, we’ll post a video of one of my favorite songs of the 80s.  Happy Tuesday everyone.

Posted via email from pederhanson’s posterous


Update:  I have parked my Posterous blog at I’m not quite yet sure what I’m going to do with it, nor how it’ll work with this blog and my Twitter acct, but it’s there and I plan to use it somehow.  Likely, I’ll post individual items there – those that are too long for Twitter – and combine them into larger themes on this blog.  I’ll likely post less here once I move to Belize … maybe once a week or so.

Posted in Communication, General Tech-ishness | Leave a Comment »

Stufen (1941), von Hermann Hesse

Posted by Peder on 26 January 2009

Hermann Hesse

Hermann Hesse

Wie jede Blüte welkt und jede Jugend
Dem Alter weicht, blüht jede Lebensstufe,
Blüht jede Weisheit auch und jede Tugend
Zu ihrer Zeit und darf nicht ewig dauern.
Es muß das Herz bei jedem Lebensrufe
Bereit zum Abschied sein und Neubeginne,
Um sich in Tapferkeit und ohne Trauern
In andre, neue Bindungen zu geben.
Und jedem Anfang wohnt ein Zauber inne,
Der uns beschützt und der uns hilft, zu leben.

Wir sollen heiter Raum um Raum durchschreiten,
An keinem wie an einer Heimat hängen,
Der Weltgeist will night fesseln uns und engen,
Er will uns Stuf’ um Stufe heben, weiten.
Kaum sind wir heimisch einem Lebenskreise
Und traulich eingewohnt, so droht Erschlaffen,
Nur wer bereit zu Aufbruch ist und Reise,
Mag lähmender Gewöhnung sich entraffen.

Es wird vielleicht auch noch die Todesstunde
Uns neuen Räumen jung entgegen senden,
Des Lebens Ruf an uns wird niemals enden …
Wohlan denn, Herz, nimm Abschied und gesunde!

Like ev’ry flower wilts, like youth is fading
and turns to age, so also one’s achieving:
Each virtue and each wisdom needs parading
in one’s own time, and must not last forever.
The heart must be, at each new call for leaving,
prepared to part and start without the tragic,
without the grief – with courage to endeavor
a novel bond, a disparate connection:
for each beginning bears a special magic
that nurtures living and bestows protection.

We’ll walk from space to space in glad progression
and should not cling to one as homestead for us.
The cosmic spirit will not bind nor bore us;
it lifts and widens us in ev’ry session:
for hardly set in one of life’s expanses
we make it home, and apathy commences.
But only he, who travels and takes chances,
can break the habits’ paralyzing stances.

It even may be that the last of hours
will make us once again a youthful lover:
The call of life to us forever flowers…
Anon, my heart! Do part and do recover!

This poem hung on the wall of the teacher’s lounge at the Germanic-American Institute. While I had read over it before, I hadn’t really read it until yesterday, my last day of work there. It really spoke to me as I prep to leave … again.

Translation provided by Walter A. Aue and Bertram Kottmann.

Posted in Communication, Internationalism, Stuff That Gave Me Pause | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

What the Obama presidency represents to an expat

Posted by Peder on 25 January 2009


Pragmatism a la 2004

I was 20 and in Germany during the 2000 presidential election. The night of November 7th, I sat up in my apartment until 4:00 am wondering what was going on with the numbers from Florida. By the time I returned from Europe, George W. Bush had been sworn in as the 43rd POTUS. During his first term I traveled to or lived in eight other nations, and as time wore on the questions about my President became more and more difficult. He was viewed as arrogant and ignorant — a horrible combination in leadership — and his unilateral approach to foreign policy was not well-received abroad, especially in its stark contrast to the approach of the previous administration. Suffice to say, George W. Bush made it more difficult to be an American overseas.

This morning I read an opinion article posted from an American living in Indonesia. Feel free to read the full text here, but I just wanted to republish an excerpt:

“A headline in one [Indonesian] paper summed it up: Welcome Back to the World, America. From Americans living overseas, this is the sentiment I most often hear. We’re not expecting miracles, but to have our leading spokesman again as interested in the rest of the world as we are, and as interested as the rest of the world is in him — this is a source of hope. And yes, that’s a change.”

It continues …

“In America, the big hope is that Obama can take care of some of the pressing domestic misfortunes — job loss, foreclosures, financial oversight. For the rest of the world, the bigger hope is that America is opening its eyes again, seeing itself as a partner in a broader future. For that latter group, [inauguration day was] a chance to say, yes, we’re watching too, and we’re celebrating.”

Photo credit: 10092007309.jpg posted by Yamica

Posted in Internationalism, Stuff That Gave Me Pause | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

writer’s block ku

Posted by Peder on 22 January 2009

Problem with blogging:
Lacking regular updates,
No one will read it.

C'mon .... ideas!

C'mon .... ideas!

Writer’s Block originally published by Ana June

Posted in Haikus | 1 Comment »