Doctor Love

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 11, No. 31            August 9, 2001

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Dr. Love is the island's and possibly the world's greatest authority on just about everything. The Doctor answers questions concerning any subject except religion or politics. Persons needing additional assistance or counseling should contact the Family Services Division at 02-77451.         

    You may write to the Doctor at P.O. Box 35, San Pedro Town, Belize, fax 026-2905 or e-mail at san pdrosun@btl.net

Dear Doctor Love,

    My husband took me fishing and we went with a local guide. We used sardines for bait. Besides the sardines the guide stopped the boat in shallow water and started wading around. He said he was looking for conch. When he found some he picked them up and dropped them in the bottom of the boat. We used some of them for bait and he cut some of them up and used it to make a kind of salad. He and my husband ate it and my husband said it was very tasty. I refused to eat it because I read somewhere that the conch is an endangered species. Besides, it didn't seem appetizing to me because it was served raw.

    Can you check for me whether or not conch is endangered? Also, isn't it dangerous to eat seafood that is uncooked? I know that sushi is raw fish but I think that is a very different kind of meat than conch.

/s/ Not a Fisherman

Dear Fisherman,

    If conch were endangered, the love life of many Belizeans would also be in jeopardy. As in most Caribbean cultures, in Belize it is believed that eating conch stimulates appetites that have nothing to do with an empty stomach. It obviously works, too. Look at all the children produced on this island. Of course, just as many children are produced in Cayo, where they have no conch available. Nevertheless, the folklore is interesting.

    Conch are harvested seasonally and certain types, such as the Queen conch, are not as readily available as they used to be. What we eat here and what we use for bait are regular conch, which are plentiful.

     The salad you said the guide made is what is known as ceviche. It is actually cooked by the lime juice in which it is marinated and the hot chili peppers probably help cook it also. That is not a fact but it is a fact that hot ceviche will set your mouth on fire. Many people eat raw conch. There are certain people the Doctor refuses to go fishing with because they eat the bait before the fish get a chance at it.

Dr. Love,

    I have been having a strange dream lately. In this dream, I am living in the Middle Ages and I am a lady who lives in a huge castle. I talked about it to a friend who interprets dreams and she told me that I am remembering a past life. She gave me a book to read. This book is about re-incarnation and according to this book all of us have lived different lives in our past. Since I read that book some of the details of my past life have become clearer to me. In the dream I am married but my husband is never in the dream. I'm not sure if it is because he is dead or because he is away somewhere because it seems like I am always waiting and looking out for him. There is also a very handsome man who lives at the castle and I am drawn to him but I know that I should have nothing to do with him.

    Now I have had this dream about six times and each time it gets more elaborate. I have also started to read about life in the medieval times and it is fascinating to me. I really would like to have lived in those days because life was very simple then.

    What do you think of the theory of reincarnation? Am I wasting my time reading up on this or is there anything to this business of being born again as something different? It makes so much more sense than just living on this earth for less than a century and then disappearing forever.

    Since you usually give common sense answers, I will try to trust your judgement on this.

/s/ Lady of the Manor

Dear Lady,

   Here is the way the life cycle works. We are born. We grow and live from the other life that is growing and living around us. Plants that we eat such as tomatoes and beans are living creatures; different from us but they are still a life form. Animals that we eat, such as chickens and cows are also different life forms from us but yet, they are life. When we die we are put into the ground and eventually our bodies become a part of that ground. If we are eaten by another creature we go into the ground that much sooner, in the form of manure, such as lion crap. The ground that our bodies turn into nurtures fresh plants that grow and feed other life forms.

    This is true re-incarnation. Each living creature dies and fertilizes the ground so another crop of living creatures can live and carry on the chain of life. Until the world is introduced to someone who can prove that they have lived an entire life in an earlier time, former lives will remain a fantasy.

     Perhaps you read something about life in medieval times and it fascinated you enough to dream about it. Perhaps it was just some bad conch that you ate.

    Think of this. If you read anything about life in the Middle Ages it should have occurred to you that things were not really that good. There was a lot of disease, like the bubonic plague, because there was no sanitation. People just squatted in the street to relieve themselves. Baths, where you wash your entire body, were unheard of until 100 years ago. The average fourteen year-old child of today knows more about medicine than the top doctors of the 14th century.

    It's kind of scary, isn't it. There is another direction that believers in re-incarnation can take though, and sooner or later someone will think of it. It is just as easy to dream about the future as it is the past. What about our future lives? Someone will start remembering a life that they will have in the future. This can solve a lot of problems since the one remembering will not have to be an expert in history.

Dear Doctor Love,

    Last week my husband was supposed to meet me at noon after I finished my shopping and drive me back home. I waited for him for half an hour and I finally gave up and took a taxi. When I got home he was asleep. He said that he had sat and waited for me for forty minutes and he finally decided that he was tired of waiting. This caused a big argument. Maybe he did have to wait but it was not even close to forty minutes. He says that I exaggerate everything to make myself look good and to try to make him look bad. I have never exaggerated anything in my life. No matter what I say, he swears that he looked at his watch over and over and when it got to be forty minutes he left. I'm not sure what time I got there but it could not have been forty minutes. He says that not only was I forty minutes late but that he has spent eight years waiting for me to get ready to go or to meet me somewhere. From now on, if I am not on time he says he is leaving without me.

    Do you think this is the way a marriage should work? I don't think it is fair for him to try to make me feel bad like this for only being maybe five or ten minutes late. I think he is just trying to make me feel guilty because he had to wait a little bit but my conscience is clear.

/s/ Not Late

Dear Not,

    A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory. Are you sure you were not closer to forty minutes late than five minutes? Would he really get that angry if you were only five or ten minutes late? If you do exaggerate about the time it is a lot easier to do if you don't look at your watch. It makes it easier to convince yourself that it was only five or ten minutes instead of forty. On the other hand, he obviously checked his watch.

    Why don't you eliminate the problem by checking the time when you are supposed to meet him or when you are getting ready to go somewhere? Get ready early or meet him early and you will have eliminated the problem.

Dear Doctor,

    I remember reading a letter in your column once that had something to do with cars driving on the beach. You said in your answer that it was illegal to drive on the beach. Yet, I see taxis drive on the beach all of the time. Does the law say that only taxis are allowed on the beach? Why can they drive on the beach and I can't?

/s/ Golf Cart Driver

Dear Driver,

    Some of them drive on the beach because they are too lazy to walk the extra twenty steps it would take for them to walk to the dock. They can drive on the beach because no one cares. If the hotel owners cared they would report them to the police. If the citizens of San Pedro cared they would report them to the police. The police can watch the drivers go on to the beach from the door of the police station because taxis enter and leave by the municipal dock. If they cared, they would stop them. Taxis ruin the expensive and beautiful beaches that have been put into place with our own tax money. These are beaches that were made to make San Pedro attractive to tourists. Every time a taxi drives on the beach, that lazy driver is taking money out of your pocket because vehicles pack down the sand and damage the beach. If we care enough we will report each one that we see and insist that the police arrest the drivers.

Dear Doctor Love,

    My mother has a friend who I cannot stand. She is always giving me advice on this and that and telling me what I should do with my life. This is a woman who has no education because she dropped out of school pregnant. She has lived with five different men and had children with three of them. Now, she thinks she should advise me about how late I should stay out and who I should go out with. The other day I got tired of hearing it and told her to leave me alone. My mother got very angry with me and told me that I should apologize to her friend because her friend is a very religious Christian woman who always goes to church.

    I don't think I should apologize. I am eighteen years old and I have a right to live my life without someone who is not even related to me telling me how to do it. So what if she goes to church all the time? She has been going every Sunday since I don't know when and it does not seem to do any good. She is not what anyone would call a Christian if they knew anything about her. The only thing I feel bad about is that she is my mother's friend. Should I apologize?

/s/ Feeling Bad

Dear Feeling Bad,

    The Doctor is always taking the golf cart to the mechanic's shop. After several hundred visits, the Doctor is still not a mechanic. It is the same way with your mother's friend. Just going to church does not make her a Christian. Look around, there are many in this community who preach Christianity but do not practice or understand the meaning of what they preach. Why not apologize to your mother first and if she wants you to, then apologize to her friend. After all, it is the Christian thing to do.

Dear Doctor Love,

    I saw an advertisement for a "jump up" that will be taking place soon. It advertised live music and dancing so I assume a jump up is a kind of dance contest. Can you please explain to me what a jump up is?

/s/ Island Visitor

Dear Visitor,

    A jump up is a dance and in a way it is a contest. Although it is not necessarily a dance contest with prizes, nearly everyone in attendance is engaged in some kind of competition. Young women and men are contesting for each other's attentions. The  dancers are showing off their skills and contesting for the right to be called good dancers. Some people are contesting their ability to consume enormous quantities of alcohol and beer. After drinking all of this alcohol, usually at around four o'clock in the morning, the jump up becomes a fall down.

Dear Doctor,

    When I came here for a vacation it never occurred to me to bring a fishing rod. The water looks so inviting and I can see the fish swimming around just daring me to catch them. I went looking for a cheap little casting rod like the ones they sell at K-mart or Walmart for under fifteen dollars. There is nothing like that here. The only thing I could find to rent were deep-sea fishing rigs. For a day's rental cost of one of these rigs  I could buy two of them in the U.S. Even though they are too big and clumsy for the little fish I want to catch, I am actually considering renting one of them.

    Do you know of a place where I could buy one of those cheap rod and reels like a Zebco? What do you use for bait? What kind of fish can I expect to catch off one of the docks?

/s/ Desperate Fisherman

Dear Fisherman,

    There are a couple of places in Belize City that sell what you are describing, but the plane or boat trip over will cost more than you are going to want to spend.

    Why not fish with a hand line like the local fishermen do? Buy a spool of line, some weights and hooks. Many of the stores sell sardines, which is what the local people use for bait. Your entire investment will be less than ten dollars BZ. Our fish are unfamiliar with fishing rods since we have specially trained them for the hand line, so you are probably better off with the hand line anyway.

    You can catch anything on a hand line that can be caught on a spinning rod. There are plenty of snapper, grouper and barracuda. Yes, barracuda can be caught on a hand line.

Dear Dr. Love,

   I just got back from a trip to LA and while I was there I attended a quinceaños for a friend of mine's daughter who was having her fifteenth birthday. I have read some of the things you have had to say in the past about these quinceaños and I gather that you do not approve of them. After attending the party I have to say that the quinceaños is alive and well in Los Angeles. My friend spent more for this party than most people do for a wedding. Eight of the girl's best friends wore gowns that cost a fortune and there was an endless supply of handsome young men in tuxedos. There were limousines, an expensive band, champagne, liquor and enough food to feed an army. My friend spent over $8000 U.S. for this party.

    Unfortunately, you ruined the party for me because I kept thinking about what a waste all of this money was. $16,000BZ spent in one night would have made a nice nest egg for the girl's future marriage. I am beginning to see what you dislike about quinceaños parties. I doubt if my daughter will get one.

/s/ Ruined

Dear Ruined,

    The Doctor has nothing against the quinceaños party. What the Doctor takes exception to is the outrageous wasteful spending that goes along with the party. It is usually done solely as an attempt to establish the parent's pecking order in local society. As such, it is a horrid waste. A fifteen year-old girl should at least be given a choice between the party and some other use for the money. Some parents have done so and were surprised to find that their daughter preferred a trip to Mexico or the U.S. At least one set of parents has taken the money that they would have spent for the party and put it into an account that is drawing interest. When the daughter gets married she will have the money for a down payment on a house or for whatever she chooses.

    This, to the Doctor, seems a wiser choice than a lavish party thrown for the sake of the parents.

Dear Doctor Love,

    I have been here in Belize for almost four months with my parents and I find I am not as happy as I thought I would be. I was hoping to meet a nice Spanish guy (or guys) that I could date and have a good time with. The problem is that all of the handsome Spanish guys I meet are shorter than me. I never expected them to be so short. I have met some very nice looking, intelligent guys with good personalities and without exception they are shorter than I am. So far, the only real dates I have had have been with tourists. I might as well be back in Canada.

Do you have any advice for me?

/s/ Too Tall

Dear Too Tall,

    Either lower your expectations or bend your knees.



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