“What better way to showcase the beauty of Belize and memorialize our trip…than by making a rap video?” – me to my friends
What started out as a joke turned out to be a joke, but also not a joke. I was serious, but I wasn’t serious, but clearly I am serious. This is what happens when you have no budget, awesome friends, some very willing locals, questionable video skills and a lot of RUM.
Without further ado, here is my loooong anticipated first music video release called Larry Says F*$k You (remember, it’s a “rap video”) filmed on location in and around Placencia, Belize.
I know you’re probably wondering what just happened, but this video serves two purposes. First is to finally get this wildly explicit single off my chest and out of my hard drive, which in my ears is so bad, it’s kind of good…if you just listen to it 100 times. There is also no better time than the present to spread this message, the lyrics (of which there are only about 20) are more applicable to my life than ever. It was written and recorded about six years ago while I was living in Sweden where they crank out hit tunes like nowhere else on the planet. I was obsessed with making a rap song so one day while I was hanging out with my friend who is in a band that rhymes with POUNDS, we’ll call him Swedish “DJ Spike”, it happened. In like ten minutes, he and I recorded this silly ditty about not putting up with shit nor wasting time on an undeserving person, place or thing, which I think we can all relate to from time to time in one way or another.
The second and obviously most important purpose of this experiment was to show the world the beauty and vibe of Belize in a way that probably hasn’t been done much before in the travel blogosphere. Bored with the vlogs and vanilla travel videos floating around out there, I wanted to do something a little different set to my own beat (literally) and let’s get real – who is weird enough to do something like this? This girl.
In terms of destinations, Belize really surprised me and in the best possible way. It is way cooler than I expected it to be and the scenery of the place absolutely mind boggling from its crystal clear coastlines to lush jungles. The food was incredible – fresh ceviche and Caribbean flavors for days – and its national rum beverage, the Panty Ripper, just out of this world. It’s the only Central American country where English is the official language since it was a British colony for over 100 years, so getting around was extremely easy, as was propositioning some people from the local community to participate in my project. I hope that at the very least the video gives a little taste of the country’s awesomeness. I definitely wanted to share a bit more from each of the locations that were featured as they should all be added to your itinerary if you ever make your way down to this part of the world.
Placencia is the 16 mile long peninsula in the south of Belize in which all of our operations were based. We stayed in the northern part around Plantation, but while we were on land, spent a majority of the time cruising down south around the main town and hanging at Turtle Inn, Francis Ford Coppola’s seriously sexy private resort. That place was by far one of the highlights, along with its island offspring, Coral Caye (more on that soon).
While Placencia village is pretty touristy right in the center, I was pleased to find enough down-home Belizeaness around its periphery and of course behind the bar at Cha Chi’s which is where you’ll see me drinking/learning how to make Panty Rippers with Liston around 0:31. If you’re looking for shopping, cafes, bars, hostels, guest houses, and all the other typical tourist trappings, this colorful part of the peninsula is where it’s at.
Seine Bight, the Garafuna village located in the middle and known for its traditional music scene, seems like one of the most legit places on the Placencian Peninsula if you ask me, but sadly I didn’t get to spend any time exploring it or hanging with local peeps which is my only regret of the trip. The Garinagu (Garafuna) culture and their history is actually pretty fascinating. They are literally the decedents of Carib Indians from St. Vincent that got together with the Nigerian slaves who swam to shore there after the two Spanish boats they were on shipwrecked and sank off the coast in the late 17th century. Over the next century or so they sort of melded into one culture, the Black Caribs or now Garinagu, and as colonial horror stories usually go, were forced to the other side of the Caribbean to Honduras and eventually some made their way down around Belize and Seine Bight.
From what I heard from my friends, Seine Bight GOES OFF on Friday nights when it comes to street parties. Unfortunately I was passed out in the back seat on that night so I couldn’t stop the car to experience it for myself. But next time…next time, I made a promise to myself I would actually stay there for a couple of nights. You can catch a few glimpses of it in the first half of the video because we passed by it just about every day. Apparently they are also famous for their “Punta Rock” dance moves which you bet after watching this video below I am kicking myself for not being able to incorporate into my own video.
King Lewey’s Island Resort
On paper, King Lewey’s Island Resort seems like nowhere I would ever willingly end up (fake pirate mannequins scattered around, a treasure chest of lendable pirate accessories, parrots that probably would never choose to be there either), but in real life, this is exactly where I wanted to end up with six of my craziest friends. It definitely helped that there was literally no one else on the island aside from a couple of the local guys who work there with more rum than they knew what to do with – and of course that it is surrounded by the most gorgeous aquamarine water. It grew on me quite quickly and by the end I was convinced King Lewey (or whomever lays claim) is actually a genius.
Ohhhh sweet Coral Caye! This private, two-acre island also belongs to Francis Ford Coppola/Coppola Hideaways and is 25 minutes by boat from Turtle Inn. We had the best local meal of the entire trip here and just spent a couple of hours wandering around the grounds, bronzing our buns, pouring ourselves Panty Rippers, and shaking Francis’ maracas like it was our job.
While you can rent the entire place out for a night, weeks, or months – we got out fix of remoteness and bounced on to experience a bit more of what makes Belize Belize.
From Coral Caye, we headed out to the island resort of Hatchet Caye which is a hub of sorts for those going out to do some diving or snorkeling in the vicinity. If you didn’t know, Belize has the second largest coral reef system in the world behind the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, so needless to say it’s kind of a big deal for people into underwater exploration. Since our crew was much more into Panty Rippers that day than PADI, we didn’t even attempt to dive, but we did get in a nice little snorkeling session amongst sea turtles, manta rays and reef sharks. What an amazing place down there that I’d really love to make it to more often…unda da sea.
On our last day, call it the grand finale, we headed out from Placencia towards Cockscomb Nature Reserve to do some zip lining, riving cruising, and waterfall chasing in the jungles around Stann Creek. It was awesome to experience such an extreme change of scenery from sandy beaches and islands to a dense jungle where it was just us and some tasty termites (see 1:35). We hooked up with some great guys from Mayan Sky Canopy Tours (massive shout out to Victor & Bernard) who had no idea what they signed up for guiding this wild group of lushes and one self-proclaimed rap star.
My trip to Belize was probably one of the most fun I’ve had in my life and I’d really like to take a moment and thank from the bottom of my heart all of my friends’ whose vacation I ruined with the filming of this music video; our friend “Mr. Martin”, the unofficial mayor of Placencia, for showing us around Turtle Inn and Coral Caye; Stevie J from Placencia Villas & Golf Carts for being the whitest gringo in Placencia and letting us run his golf cart wild; Liston from Cha Chi’s for being so cool and pouring me the best Panty Ripper I had the entire time I was in Belize; Francis and Elenor Coppola for creating such legit Caribbean hideaways; all of the guys working in Stann Creek who facilitated our zipping/tubing and as well were so patient to not only help film, but co-star (talking to you, Bernard at 1:26 and 1:57); and of course the amazing couple at 1:01 and 1:56 who fully got on board with this message that I am trying to spread around the globe.