Belize~Sun. May, 16, 2004 ~ Rain

Off and on, rain has continued to fall during the night with a bit of thunder and lightening. Winds have been high enough to dislodge the broom and mop from their customary place. There is a pool of water inside the door. The morning sky is overcast with gray clouds. Sunlight is unable to penetrate through the cloud cover. It is a cool morning. The sea is calm. Waves of the whitecaps breaking upon the reef are barely visible. The palm fronds are not moving. After complaining of the strong, blowing wind I’ve finally received what I asked for -- a gentler breeze. However, there is no breeze. Beware what one asks for. The request may be granted much to your dismay. While we have coffee with Miguel, I ask when the breeze will return. “Oh, maybe tomorrow.” Goan! It is so muggy. This is 99% humidity. Humidity of 100% is when the rain falls.

The rain is not such a bad thing. I have wanted to see a tropical rain. God, in His infinite wisdom has granted my wish. It is unlike what is experienced in my State. Rain usually falls with heavy, pounding force, encompassed within tremendous thunder, lightening and high winds. Gentle Spring or Fall rains are few and far between. There is no fear of a tornado though at times a waterspout besieges the island.

The rain is not falling as we attempt to have coffee on the porch. The mosquitoes are out in force. A trip inside and the use of bug spray are required. Nothing, not even a few bugs, are going to stop us from drinking coffee on the porch. Few are the remaining days, and we intend to make full use of each and every one of them. The good news, however, is that the sunburn no longer aches. The local remedy has worked very well. Thank you Nellie, Miguel and Tulu. Tulu has recommended continuous application of vinegar with nothing else. I know from experience that vinegar, alone, will not work for me. Regular applications of Aloe are still required to assist the healing process. I would so like to keep the tan and island glow.

As coffee is enjoyed with Miguel he notices the conch shells lined neatly upon the porch wall. An offer is made to clean the shells. He soon takes them all away in a five-gallon bucket with promises to return them in the morning. We will see how beautiful they can be and it will make us want to take them home. Plans to clean them while sitting at the edges of Caribbean waters are abolished. Guess we didn’t need the steel wired brushes anyway.

The morning lazes on. Reef Seekers glass bottom boat sails by. The Winnie Estel, moored by Reef Adventures, has moved from an East-West position to a North-South position. One it retains all day. A young man on a bicycle comes by and knocks up Scott, next door. The neighbors have attempted to make reservations, through one of the resorts North of the Cut, for a mainland tour to Altun Ha, but have been unable to verify reservations. They have thirty minutes to prepare for the tour. (Thirty minutes is not enough time to prepare for an all day, unconfirmed, mainland tour. The boat trip to the mainland, alone, is forty-five minutes.) Thirty minutes later, Searious III ties to the dock. A man walks up the dock and to our neighbor’s door to be told they will not be going. He goes away muttering into his cell phone. Meanwhile, I have counted at least ten people on the boat and am glad it is not I that will be on the tour. I would much rather be ensconced on the island with my own personal tour guide. A few locals are observed making their way to the docks to be picked up and taken North to their positions of employment but for the most part traffic on the beachfront is little or non existent. Most are in church.

Scott and the women finally arise and we learn they spent the better part of yesterday trying to confirm the reservations. They were referred from one person to the next, with none having knowledge, of their departure time, or anything else for that matter. It would seem Searious has a problem with coordinating their outings. Plans for the day are discussed and they learn we are going to BC’s for the lunch BBQ. Maybe we will see you there.

We dress, and with left foot in the water, make the trip down the beach to BC’s. (Remember, left foot in the water is South and right foot is North. It’s impossible to become lost.) Another event not to be missed. It is advised to be early or the food selection will be limited. There are a few tables with umbrellas positioned on the beach but due to the weather they are not being used today. A seat is found at the bar and it seems the perfect time to try a Belikin Beer. Beer is not one of my favorite beverages. However, I find that a Belikin is comparable to Dos Equis Amber, and quite good. I order the chicken and shrimp combo and D. orders ribs and polish sausage. The meal comes with baked beans and a choice of coleslaw or potato salad. I choose potato salad and D. takes the coleslaw. We also want to take a meal to Miguel for cleaning the conch and the waitress suggests the meat combo. So be it. As we wait for the meal to arrive, D. notices a sign that says “Tornado Alley.” Living in Tornado Alley our curiosity is piqued. An inquiry of the bartender is made and it is learned that a waterspout made landfall a few years ago and caused a bit of damage. Being an uncommon occurrence they proudly post the sign.

T-shirts from the world over are suspended from the palapa roof and we have a front seat view of the bartender. We watch as he makes drinks. Ice, five or six shakes of Marie’s hot sauce (made from habanero), several big shakes of cayenne, several huge shakes of a mixed spice and a Belikin poured over the top. Whoa! Bet that has a kick to it. A Bloody Mary is made in much the same manner with the addition of Worcestershire sauce. Another zinger!

The winds begin to increase; the cloud cover thickens and becomes darker. Canvas shades on the seaside of the bar are lowered. Lunch arrives in due time. There is no way all this food can be consumed but an attempt is made. I have no idea what the shrimp is breaded with or what type of sauce has been drizzled over the top but it is definitely tasty. All it needs is a bit of Marie’s. The bartender hands over the bottle of hot and mild. The mild is set closest to me. Once again the “Lady, you don’t know hot this is” look is given. I’m watched closely as the mild is rejected in favor of the hot. The shrimp just got better! The bartender smiles and I smile back. Mr. Eg is enjoying his meal, too.

It’s not long before Cindy and Angie arrive and try to find a seat. The little bar is crowded and there are plenty of take-out meals being prepared. BC’s is a popular place to eat a Sunday meal. Payment is made. Combos are $30 BZ and well worth it. Meal finished, Miguel’s take-out and our leftovers in hand, we begin the right foot stroll towards the villa. A dry walk is not to be. It starts to rain. Just a light drizzle at first and moments before the front gate is approached the dark skies open. Laughing like children, the way is made onto the porch. Wet clothes are exchanged for dry.

Rain continues off and on for the remainder of the day. Windows are opened for full enjoyment of the cool weather. The afternoon alternates between watching television, gazing out the window and standing on the porch. Children are diving off the dock and a few sailboarders are taking advantage of the wind. Time seems to stand still.

Mr. Eg makes a trip to the Tradewinds Paradise Villa office and meets Lori, the Guest Relations Manager. From her it is learned the cruise ships give an orientation instructing guests not to eat in town because the food is bad. They are instructed to snorkel and return to the ship. What a terrible loss for them. He also discovers why San Pedro was so crowed the day we did the weeks shopping. There were five cruise ships turned loose on the town.

Drivers of golf carts and cars take great care to slow down as they approach pedestrians and bicyclists. One can walk safely without fear of being splashed by mud.

Tulu pops in for a short visit. The weather forecast says the rain should end soon. Hopefully, we can snorkel tomorrow. Our time on the island is dwindling down and we’ve snorkeled once. Once is not enough.

A banana tree is among the plantings surrounding the porch and I’ve been watching the bloom with some interest. Every other day a petal peels upward exposing the flowers for pollination. A hummingbird darts in and out doing the job. As the petal falls the little bananas lift toward the sky. I wonder how long it takes for the entire bunch to form and wish I could see the process through to the end.

After twilight, rain ends and the evening is enjoyed from the best seat in the house. The porch. Rain on La Isla Bonita, Rum Punch, cool temperatures and tropical smells washed clean. Still no breeze but the island remains paradise. Please, Lord, can we have a breeze tomorrow and some sunshine?