So do you consider yourself a true Sanpedrano? From our last two issues you gather that a true Sanpedrano eats fish and even sucks the head, does not care much about combing his hair, likes going without shoes, eats "sudado", wears is shirt open, and likes to wear a hat.
Here a few more signs for you to consider.
By nature a true Sanpedrano is very co-operative. Whenever something is going on in the town like a raffle, charity drive, medical support or any help in times of an emergency, you will find that a Sanpedrano is there always willing to help. This stems from the fact that in the past the village alcalde (chairman) used to require every Sanpedrano to clean up in front of his yard, clean up the park, rake the public dump yard, and join in other general clean up in the village. On certain days, the alcalde would call a “fajina” or workaton and all the village would show up at the beach for a general cleanup. This cooperative spirit has been passed on to the younger generations and now it seems to be embedded in the Sanpedrano genes. All Sanpedranos consider themselves friendly, kind and cooperative.
Now here’s one that might seem a bit funny, but it is true. Sanpedranos have sun bleached hair and can boast natural highlights. Again this stems from the fact that in the past most Sanpedranos were fishermen or did some related job in the sun and sea. It was the salt water and the sun that bleached their hair. Whenever you would see a guy in the city walking barefooted and with a yellowish sun bleached hair, the city folks used to say, “That’s a Sanpedrano for sure.”
A true Sanpedrano used to love to tell the time by looking at the sun. Whenever a workman went to the bush to collect coconuts or went fishing, he did not take a watch with him. Consequently he had the need to tell the time of the day by looking at the position of the sun in the sky. It is simple. You divide the sky from the horizon (6 a.m.) to the middle of the sky (12 noon). Mid way between these two points is 9 a.m. Got it? Sanpedranos used to be able to tell the time to within half an hour to the hour. In the evening as the sun went towards the western horizon it went from 1 p.m. to 6 at dusk.
Here is one final one for this week, and it is the fact that by culture Sanpedranos tend to eat very salty foods. And there is again a logical, perhaps genetical explanation to this. For many decades, perhaps a century, Sanpedranos live without refrigeration. In order to preserve their fish, they salted it thoroughly in a process called “corning”. Now corned fish is three times saltier than corned beef. Salt is the only preservative, and thus Sanpedranos of the past got used to enjoying delicious fish menus all of which were quite salty. So we all picked up the habit until it became part of our culture. Therefore if you find a person at the table telling you that the food is insipid and he adds more salt to your dish, don’t be offended. He is a Sanpedrano who really wants to savor the salt.
These and other practices are some of the signs of a true Sanpedrano. Want to enjoy these and other stories? Then get a copy of my book, Twenty Five Years Ago in San Pedro for only $30 Belize. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Until next time, enjoy San Pedro as it is because twenty five years from now, it will be very different.
- by Angel Nuñez, Columnist