“Travels with a Biro”
Two years ago our son, William, then aged 27, bought a concrete scorpion-riddled slum in the seaside village of Hopkins in Belize. It was a total dump with no sanitation, stinking of bat droppings and set in a large sandy yard full of litter.
Now, only just two years later, it is one of the most popular backpacker hostels around.
Using his own two hands and on a shoe-string budget, Will now has a dormitory with 14 beds in it, two shower/WC blocks, six private rooms, a tree-house bar for up to 20 people, hammocks and barbeque, lounge areas indoors and out …
What this young man has achieved is truly extraordinary. He had very little help and very little money. Using reject timber, odd planks and masses of imagination, Will has created a quirky, funky, ethnic and very popular place for people to stay if on a low budget. He charges very little and people who stay there (almost all young travellers from all over the world) are happy to muck-in with the makeshift outdoor kitchen, sit on old car seats in the lounge and have cold-only showers.
That is the whole point of the place: it is for young travellers who enjoy music, a couple of beers, young company and are not looking for anything other than the basics – though cheerful, colourful, and fun those basics be.
The beach is a few steps away and the impossibly warm Caribbean sea. Hopkins itself is a Garifuna village (like Creole – black people) with its own traditions and music. The people are extremely friendly and smiling. There are three supermarkets (run by Chinese), lots of restaurants ranging from Very Cheap to Rather Expensive, the food always good whatever it is. Quite a few other expatriates live in and around Hopkins – Germans, Dutch, Americans, South Africans, French, Spanish, Canadians …..
People do not realize how amazing Belize is. There are miles of cave-tunnels, sub-tropical jungles, beautiful flora and fauna, exquisite beaches out on the islands, rivers, diving, boating, mountaineering …. Guatamala and Mexico are both just a short drive away. It truly is ideal.
I asked Will why he called the place The Funky Dodo – I really like that name. I wanted it funky, he explained, and in Garifuna “dodo” can mean sleep; also the dodo bird was an African bird, and the Garifuna people were originally African … so it all figures. Good name, isn’t it ?
Check out thefunkydodo.com