Belize~Wed. May, 12, 2004~Northern Adventures
Oh, my! The town is still a madhouse and it’s time for some serious grocery shopping. Tulu has told us where to find a lady with the best quality and assortment of fresh produce. It takes awhile but we locate her behind the soccer field. For $10.50 BZ we have an eleven-pound watermelon, one onion, a mango, two tomatoes, four jalapenos and two limes. La Poplar Bakery reveals a loaf of freshly baked unsliced bread. Next door is Limo’s Meat Market but one look at the bare cases and an intense smell makes it apparent that meat will be purchased elsewhere.
The prices for lunchmeat, breakfast sausage and bacon is proving to be a bit high. The San Pedro Supermarket has locally produced sausage links, bacon and salami from the Sausage Factory at a reasonable price. A stop across the street at Richie’s loads the cart with four bags of ice, several gallons of water, cheeses, and eggs. Oh, yeah…don’t forget the ingredients for Rum Punch. Tulu has told us thesecret to Rum Punch and how to open the rum bottle as well. Everything is carted back to the villa and stowed away in the kitchen. Grinning like children, we take off once again. We are headed for the fabled hand ferry and a trip North of the Cut.
We pass Papi’s Diner and the La Popular main bakery as we wind along the little sand road. Locals and tourist alike smile and nod with a friendly hello. Everyone seems happy to be on La Isla Bonita. The river is not far and soon we see the ferry. We pay the $5.00 BZ to cross and watch the as others are delivered safely to the far bank and the ferry returns. Boarding is simple; the trip is soon made. Here we come North Road! It is said to be a bit bumpy with a few potholes and mud puddles here and there.
For the first few miles the road is fairly smooth and then begins to show a pothole here and there. Any available material is used to fill it in – palm tree, building material, conch shell. There comes a point when some, then more, of those potholes are filled with water and the road widens as a new path is formed. Away from the sea breeze there are a few mosquitoes. The building is rampant and new construction is taking place everywhere. The path will sometimes allow us to access the beach to catch a nice breeze and wonderful views. By the way, what time is it? A glance at the watch shows it is 4:15. As promised, I raise my glass and toast my fellow classmates, that at this very moment, is beginning to take the Constitutional Law final exam. Cheers!!!
At Morgan’s Retreat we run into the watchman at the back gate. In actuality, he is our first “shark” since he seems to be intent upon us listening to a sales pitch and offering us free prizes. No, thanks, daylight’s wasting. At Portafino Resort we turn around and head down the road.
Despite the mudholes, potholes and other diversions we eventually arrive at the ferry. There are a few butterflies and I believe I spotted a Coatamundi. It disappeared to quickly to tell. We have encountered very few people on the trip North but the ferry station is jam-packed with workers returning home from a hard day of labor. We patiently wait for our turn to cross as the sun begins to descend into the Western horizon.
The crossing is successfully completed. It may appear to be dangerous, to some, but it is quite safe. The young men do their job well, are pleasant and cheerful.
The Road North of the Cut is definitely not an adventure to be missed. Ladies, bind the “girls” securely, because it is a bone-jarring ride! Remember the word SPORTSBRA. However, would I take the trip by golf cart again? Emphatically, NO! Not unless it were absolutely necessary. Call me whimp, but I know where to hail a water taxi!
We arrive home just as the sun sets. This is the night of the World Famous Chicken Drop at the Pier Lounge inside the Spindrift Hotel. We have looked forward to attending this gambling event for such a long time, however, the event begins at 6:00 p.m., and the cart is to be picked up at 7:00. (The cart is picked up around 8:00 and we get our first real taste of Belize time.) We sadly agree that time isn’t going to allow us to attend and we are beginning to show signs of our tired being tired. The Chicken Drop is added to the next trip list of “Things to Do.” We haven’t had a good nights sleep since Sunday. Rum punches are mixed and we spend a bit of time sitting on the porch listening to the distant waves crashing upon the reef while delicious tropical aromas waft about us. By 9:00 we are abed and I believe the eyes may have closed before our heads touched the pillows.