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There is a phenomena in Belize. The model reflects a life of isolation, of loneliness, and a mindset of an 'I know better than you' doctrine. In the end, all those noble intentions of finding one's piece of paradise are shattered beyond imagination and the only one left to blame for the tragedy are themselves.

It begins in a small town in northern California or a city in an eastern province of Canada or a small village in Central Europe. Regardless of their home of origin or their final destination in Belize, they seemingly have a thread in common and so end up in the same place.

Their final nesting place, after a few years of in-country living and loving, are the expat communities, from San Pedro to Corozal to Caye Caulker to San Ignacio to Placencia. They end up in the places that provide them location of security and confidence on the surface that allows the divas to know Belize better than the average Belizean. So distorted and twisted in their perceptions as to what paradise is all about, the gringas sadly can't see reality due to the shadows their presence casts upon the communities they call home. Those Belizeans as well as expats that have to interact day in and day out with the gringas find life to be, how shall I politely put this, helluva a sunny day.

In their quest to live a life that they never seemed to be able to accomplish back home, the gringas ultimately find themselves a local man that loves them like they have never been loved before. They open up their hearts while at the same time they open up their bank books leaving themselves vulnerable to whatever the cards dealt call. And when the truth comes out, they are either broken hearted or financially wiped out or both. Either way, they become bitter, disenchanted with Belize, a process that allows for the venom to flow.

With their self-being in question, that's when the dragon ladies become stuck in paradise with their backs against the wall. They then reach out to the comfort of one barrell rum or ganja or the endless chatter and assurances they find in those expat forums where they can find themselves dictating from the ivory tower of ambiguity. They find a corner in cyber space to explain that life in Belize is indeed a field of roses as long as one accepts the fantasy that Belizeans really love gringos for their money and that hurricanes are simply tropical storms that bring with them, a few cloudy days and a little rain. Convincingly every expat justifies the torrential downpours the same, " it has to rain in paradise to make everything all so green. "

If they do not find life that well defined, well the dragon ladies have no fortification in their arsenal for the required strength to face another day in the tropics allowing them to plug the black hole in their life. It becomes then and there the gringa dragons become way independent. They lash out, they express their declared independence by standing up to the appalling tyranny by creating their on websites to inform all of those that might look to Belize for the countless reasons that globetrotters turn to the western Caribbean country along the Caribe sea, trying in vane, to convince all the rest of the world that they indeed, know Belize better than the Belizeans, certainly alot better that the rest of the world.

I know, and if you have a bad taste in your mouth by now for the dragon ladies, well so do I. For these divas who have headed south in search of their dreams advise naive Americans or Canadians or Europeans from a sour dream scenario. They advise the un-informed about where to stay, where to honeymoon, where to sail, where to fish and where to give the extra dollars that have not been dropped into their Belizean money pit to their favourite charity. Somehow the dragon ladies know where best to swim, where to dive, where to eat and where to stay better than the other expats or Belizeans, despite the fact they live life inside a bottle of cheap rum or a pack of rolling papers or complaining about who, what and when screwed them out of their life's savings. Amazingly, the gringas and their websites even know why we should be more humane to animals which is striking in light of the fact they left countries that have known problems forming "coalitions of the willing".

Worst yet, the dragon ladies live through a hurricane or a tropical storm or another home grown tragedy in Belize, and low and behold, all of a sudden, they are local. That's right, the newfound self esteem of the dragon ladies enable them to stand tall and raise awareness to the need to patch a devastated community. Of course it's about then they get all caught up with being Belizean and have a baby or two out of wedlock. To embody their new stature, they then join the Belize tourism associations and book a few custom vacations and the next thing you know, they are the self proclaimed "I-know-it-all" in an oversized tropical fashion skirt.

Over the years the dragon ladies begin to expand even wider, no longer fitting into those dresses they arrived in or the fashions they adopt to hide the doublewide. They soon start wearing the burlap bag dresses, they let their hair get wiry, they no longer smile, make-up is no longer apart of their morning routine, the sun and the countless pressures of trying to be Belizean take their toll. Sure, they have in time acquired their residency or qualified retirement status or their right to work or even full citizenship. But reality dictates they are living with their heads in the sand. For the real Belizeans know them better than they realize, they take them for the fools they really are, victimize them for a dollar today, blackmail them for all it's worth tomorrow.

When the dragon ladies finally pull their heads from the hole in the sand down on the beach, well it's usually a day late and a lot of dollars short. Collectively the dragons are either out of money, out of time, or simply backed against the wall with no way out in sight. They then rely on the crutches of those blogs in the chat rooms or the slanderous and libellous insults they throw out on their own self designed websites. Places where they lash out at those that came to Belize with all the right reasons only to discover contempt and bitterness being thrown in front of their golf carts by self proclaimed expat community leaders that should take some time to reflect, time to spend looking in the mirror. Such is the life of a dragon lady in Belize.


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