No Airplanes

wenty five years ago, or perhaps 35 years, there were no airplanes serving San Pedro on a regular basis. Two things immediately come to mind. Imagine the peace and tranquility of the airstrip area. And secondly, imagine the hardships in traveling and transportation.

The airstrip area, 25 years ago was a dense "cocal" (coconut plantation). Mr. , George Kumul's residence by the airstrip was the end of town, and no one wished to live beyond that point for fear of being considered as living "in the bush". In fact" when Mr. Manuel Ancona built his home there a few years later, people teased him as "living in a ranch."

Large commercial airplanes would fly overhead only occasionally and everyone admired them in awe and amazement. When a small plane would fly over the village, the entire population would run to the beach to wave at the plane, probably carrying some tourists taking aerial shots of an unknown tropical island, (later to become Isla Bonita).

Our parents had fooled us that those large planes dropped babies at people's homes, so we would shout at them with open arms asking for our babies.

Every ounce of cargo and every passenger came to San Pedro by boat. Canned goods, groceries and dry goods - all landed at the wooden pier in front of Daddy's Store. Even ice was brought in large bags and preserved from melting with rice shells. A trip to Belize City was a much celebrated occurrence. It was an eight hour ride by sailing boat and the return trip could have been as long as 20 hours if battled against an upwind or if it was a very calm day. People mainly travelled to Belize.City with the Elsa P., which belonged to Felipe Paz. It made two trips weekly, and the fare was 50 cents for locals and one dollar for non San Pedranos. I did not make my first trip to the metropolis until I was nine years old and could not keep my eyes off the cars. The fishermen who owned boats made special trips and their return was a real party as it meant oranges, watermelons, fresh meat, buns and other goodies for-the family and the home.

In the absence of airplanes, people traveled very little. Even newborn babies were received by local midwives and emergencies were at the mercy of the sailboat.

No airplanes also meant less people arriving, no mail, no newspapers, no meat products, no foreigners, and a lot of other conveniences and inconveniences.

Twenty five years ago San Pedro was a laid back, unknown, peaceful and quaint little fishing village. Compared to today's booming town, which do you prefer? I certainly do prefer the airplanes even if I have to put up with a little extra noise. I can truly say that airplanes have helped make San Pedro what it is today.

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