On Sunday the 11th, I arrive at BZE just before 11:30 am. Breeze through customs, find out Tropic leaves before Maya, head to the gate and pick up a ticket (they offered 10% off for cash) and I am sitting in Jetís, rum punch in hand, before noon. Is it just me, or is it really that the more often you visit Jet the less punch and the more rum there is in that stuff. In the air soon and hitting ground in San Pedro before 1pm. I grab a taxi to Banana Beach, there is a lot of construction and we take a most roundabout route; when I ask the taxi driver if he likes the new roads he says yes but that now there are more bumps than land! Arrive at BB, check in and head to visit with Sandra in Monkey Business, lots of hugging, lots of squealing, and I have my first Belikin while they finish getting my room ready. After the redeye, nothing compares to a Belikin and a shower. As I head up to my room I see Buzz, Karen & Tony at the pool. Quick hellos, then off to shower & off to BCís (no thanks to the promised ride!
DCG and Becky were supposed to pick me up at 2 - I gave up on Ďem by 2:30 and grabbed a taxi.) Arrive at BCís to find things in full swing. I hear Bill yell, ďGeorgeĒ as I walk in and know heís spotted me! Heís been determined to call me George for months now and I still canít figure out why! BiIl points to the stairs by the beach and I recognize KC Jayhawk immediately. It really is like seeing all our old friends weíve never met before!
Huge hug from KC, he introduces me to Mrs. KC (Laura), who looks a bit bewildered by all these people sheís never met who know her. We immediately take care of the important things and get a spa day planned! I take a look around and see the whole gang: get the best hug from Pedro, DCG and Becky arrive and I razz them about how fast they switched to island time. Becky and I have talked so much on the phone we knew each other instantly. Buzz, Karen & Tony are there, Simon, Seashell & Donna, SweetJane & Bruce arrive, lil red, the Tacos, all my favorite bartenders - Letís Get This Party Started!!!
We had soooo much fun. BiIl let me hold his wallet - for about 30 seconds! The fire show was cool and Dennis was Dennis, he never disappoints. I am sure at some point I must have eaten dinner, but for the life of me I canít remember where. Eventually I end up at Pedroís and Peter made me drink - a lot! Then we DDíd mutual friends in the states - damn Iím gonna have a hefty phone bill! Peter poured me into a cab and I crashed happily at Banana Beach.
On Monday KC and BiIl were headed out for some fishing, so Laura & I had agreed to meet at Monkey Bites around 9:45 to see what kind of pampering we could get ourselves into. I walk down the beach and am so mesmerized by the ocean that I go waaaay too far. I hit the Palms and realize I am going to be more than fashionably late, turn around and walk back. (I much prefer the mesmerized-by-the-sea version to the so-hungover-I-canít-read-signs version.) Laura and I wander into the office at Exotic Caye and call Sol Spa. They canít get us in for everything we want, but we get appts for some stuff at 1. We walk to Library, they are well on their way with the construction of the door and inside passageway to connect the upper and lower floors. The library is closed but the construction workers tell me Iracella will be in at noon. This anticipating of pampering is thirsty work, so we head to the Holiday Hotel for a drink. I introduce Laura to the Michelada - man I love those things! We walk back to Library around 12:30 only to learn Iracella has already come by and left. Sol Spa calls, we spend a relaxing couple of hours there, then drop Laura at her place and I walk back to Banana Beach. Meet up with a couple of girlfriends, grab my luggage and head for their house. Itís pouring rain! We change, call a taxi and head to Elviís for dinner. Elviís is a place Iíve always avoided, but thatís where the girls wanted to go. Food wasnít bad, service was very good. Still a bit touristy for this tourist. Now itís raining even harder, we grab a taxi to Roadkill, where itís Country Music night - I hate country music, but hey thatís where all the fun people are! One of the funniest stories I heard this trip: Drummer Dan recounts that heís doing well following his surgery and has been recovering at Nancyís Home for Wayward Boys. KC tells Dan heís spoiled, to which Dan replies, ďNo, I always smell this way!Ē We end up across the street at Canuks Ďcause itís Punta Boys night, so you know we run into Seashell & Donna. After much drinking and dancing I coerce DCG into a taxi, drop her at Xanadu and head for Pedroís. Itís dead, so grab a cab to the girlsí where we open presents like itís Christmas. I fall asleep, dreaming of the attack of the killer sand fleas - wake the next morning to find it wasnít a dream. I have so many bites I am convinced I will itch for the rest of my life.
Tuesday morning itís raining, I catch a ride to Exotic Caye where we were all supposed to meet up at the KCís at 8 for a day of snorkeling on the Cat. Couple of hours later we finally get the word the trip is cancelled. Apparently the KCís and I were the only ones who required formal notice as no one else even climbed out of bed. The three of us wandered over to Monkey Bites for food. I head back to BB, stop in at Xanadu, where BiIl, Becky and DCG are chatting on their porch. BiIl has very funny stories about DCGís late night return, but Iíll let him tell those!
Onward to BB. Note from Tulu taped to my door. Beach BBQ can't be too far off! Quick golf cart trip to Liquor Box - must stock up, ya just never know when a party will break out! The rain has stopped and thereís time to laze on the beach. Get in a nice visit with the ever-elusive Tim Jeffers. More pool time. Get ready for dinner, KC & Laura arrive, we grab a taxi w/ Buzz & Karen to Casa Picasso. Casa Picasso is always my favorite and it was great to see Jenn! Dinner was yummy, we shared lots of little plates, including a couple of new additions to the menu, then it was KCís brilliant idea to walk to Pedroís ... in the dark ... in the mud. Letís just say at least his trail blazing skills are better than his ability to differentiate aioli ingredients! (Come on, KC, letís just say that!
) The gangís all there and after more than enough drinks at Pedroís, the KCís and I agree to stop for one last nightcap at BB. Does anyone remember why absolutely everything was so funny?!?
Wednesday is a fishing trip for BiIl, and DCG is heading home. Finally Iím going to get some rest!
Large quantities of coffee and Iím ready to hang by the pool and get through a good chunk of my novel. Tacogirl arrives for the big meeting, perfect! Now I donít have to make a party supply delivery. Off to see DCG to the airport. No tears, but KC and I did catch a glimpse of the California State Bird as the plane departed! I think this is the day Laura and I head to Asian Gardens for massages. But it might have been Tuesday. Beautiful grounds and nice massage. Return to a note from Tacogirl taped to my door: Meet at Pedroís at 8! Later, KC & Laura arrive, we grab a cab to go to Carumbas, the taxi driver reminds us theyíre closed on Wednesdays so we head to Jambels, as KC & Laura have not been there before. YUMMM!
The KCís call it a night and I follow the instructions from Tacogirl and head for Pedroís. Very big crowd, Peter was gracious enough to introduce me to the Prime Minister, the poker game was in full swing, and everyone was having fun. I met Pedro2 and his very, very cute puppy!
Thursday BiIl & Becky and KC & Laura are heading to Caye Caulker. My day to sleep in! Iím having coffee by the pool and chatting with a nice woman who is getting ready to head for home. She asks if Iím ďonlineĒ and after a couple of questions I realize she means the message board. She introduces her husband, Carl60. Theyíve been in SP for a week and havenít met a single person from the board! Nice couple. Have time for more coffee, actually do a bit of work, relax, and nap a bit before picking up klcman at the airport. When I go to get the golf cart, Sandra tells me not to pick him up at 1 because he took an earlier flight. But heís not here yet - Iím very confused, Sandra gets it all figured out and tells him to get a cab!!! He and TQ arrive!! More hugs, more squealing, and definitely more drinks!!! Another note on the door with an invite to a BBQ on Fri night. Buzz & Karen are at the pool and we talk them into joining the 3 of us for trick-or-drinking. We provision the necessary supplies (I knew that rum would come in handy) and head down the beach. First stop: Xanadu but alas, no oneís home. Next stop: Exotic Caye, and again, only an empty room. (What do those old married people do, hang out at bars all day??) Our glasses are running dangerously low so we make a beeline to BCís, where we are saved by one of the many cute bartenders. Supposed to meet Teenah later, but sheís a no show.
(She PMíd later, but we never did get to meet.) Later TQ, klc, Simon, the KCís and I head to Blue Water Grill for sushi night. BWG hasnít been one of my favs since a poor service incident a couple of years ago. However, the sushi was impressive, and on this night the service was fantastic. They are redeemed! Weíd sort of been spreading the word that everyone was invited to BB for cocktails. Wouldnít you know it - everyone appeared! Very fun, and only slightly noisy- we got sent to the small pool - away from the rooms. TQ was exhausted and went to bed. Somehow that just seemed so wrong, thus the dog pile!!
Iím so glad I brought lots of coffee - there was very little sleep!
Friday, breakfast w/ TQ & klc at BB then TQ and I were off to Exotic Caye to meet up for Golf Cart day w/ the KCís. Errands in town, stop at the bank and head for the bridge. We all wanted to check out Sweet Basil. Very nice new managers and comments are on the sweet basil thread. Head for Palapa Bar for more drinks, I will never not love that view, add the names & dates to my running list of visits. Laura wants to stop by Beach n Kitchen, tasty snacks and more drinks. And what trip over the bridge would be complete w/out a stop at Coco Loco to dip your feet in the pool. I miss WonderWoman, but they still make a really good pina colada! Head back to BB, stop at the bakery and the Green House, the KCís drop us off and we get ready for the BBQ. Collet and Maya are wonderful hostesses, and BiIlís mess of fish was wonderfully prepared. A huge selection of wonderful food, an incredibly eclectic guest list and more bizarre conversation than you could follow! (Collet, we still have soooo much to talk about!
) Very fun. TQ and I head out to BCís, and wouldnít you know it, there are people we know drinking at that bar! My turn to call it an early night, send TQ off to Fidoís with Tacogirl and wander down the beach to home.
Up early Saturday for breakfast at Georgeís to see off Bill & Becky. Quite the send off: klc, the tacos, the KCís, TQ. We say our goodbyes, calling out dates for the next trip! Tulu is picking us up at the dock in front of Canuks. Some rain off and on, so we put Laura in charge of the weather. While we start discussing our back up plan, Tulu arrives, Laura gets the weather in check and we decide to head out - except for TQ, who bails on us, some lame excuse about a late night!
Tulu takes us outside the reef, but nothingís biting. He explains we all have to catch something or weíll be eating wind pies for lunch. Laura explains she doesnít fish - never has, but Tuluís not buying it, so he hands her a rod and reel and you couldnít keep the fish away from that woman! And you couldnít wipe the smile off her face either!! Thanks to her we had a huge selection of fish for the BBQ!! I think KC might have a new fishing buddy. Laura says for the first time she gets why people are hooked on that fishing stuff! We head a bit further north to swim & snorkel, but it starts raining really hard, so we opt to take cover at one of those rarest of establishments, the beach bar. Tulu pulls up at Mata Grande and we run for, you guessed it, the bar!! The rain stops and the sand flies are absolutely horrible - Iíve never seen them actually swarm! Ebbe is a wonderful host, he helps us drown them in oil while the lovely Laura Tun eases our pain with a fresh round of rum punches. Meanwhile, Tulu gets busy cleaning our Lauraís catch. Ebbe takes the KCís and klc on the grand tour while I sit at the bar and chat with Laura. Ebbe really has a great deal to be proud of, heís brought that property a long way since the SunDiver days. If you havenít seen the rooms, you should check them out! Tulu has scored a couple of lobster to go with our dayís catch and lunch is wonderful. Mrs. KC says sheís had another first: finally she gets what all the lobster fuss is about. We head back to town and see the boats coming in from the fishing tournament. Tulu chats with the men and tells us a Marlin was caught. He gets us a peak at the beast, as well as so many fish the boatís run out of storage space for them. KCís been invited to fish in the tournament on Sunday so heís pretty stoked looking at all those big fish. (KC, I hope you caught something really fun, and that it wasnít anything contagious! :p :p ) Tulu drops the KCís at Exotic Caye and takes klc and me back to Banana Beach. As we get off the boat I look up at the beach and come to the sudden realization that they apparently let anyone stay there, because all I can see are Bobbers - everywhere! Thereís a whole family of them! Iím so happy to see Bob and the charming Dianne. Intros are made and we agree to meet for dinner at El Divino in a bit. Man, what a crowd! The multiple Bobbers, KCís, Mr. and Mrs. 2Miles, tacogirl, TQ, klc; the forks were flying and there wasnít a dry throat in the house! I think at some point during the day Buzz and company left - very sneaky, that bunch. After dinner we head to Crazy Canuks. I take my last nighttime stroll to the end of the pier and watch the stars and the moon. In a while Tacogirl and TQ arrive at the pier via the 2Mileís boat. I must confess I am now trying to steal away 2Mileís boat captain to be my personal cabana boy - what a cutie! We girls sit and talk for a while, then itís back to the bar for some tunes from Dennis and the Usual Suspects. I say my good byes to TQ Ďcause I know I wonít get up early enough to see her off Sunday morning, and to KC Ďcause I know heíll be out catching some bigass fish! I take my last nighttime walk along the beach, back to my home away from home.
Sunday morning, coffee by the pool and a nice visit w/ the Bobbers, who are preparing for a day of island exploration. I run into Pedro having breakfast with a family which includes a small child, what were they thinking???
Breakfast w/ klc, pack, check out, hugs all around, stop at Tropic and explain that Iím sure I can make it on the 3 oíclock and could they please move me from the 2 oíclock. Drop my luggage, and walk over to BCís. The Sunday BBQ is off to a great start. Said hello to bobcat bill - the man can talk! Last good bye to the 2Miles & Simon. Looked and looked but never found CatMo - really my only regret of the trip.
One last stick my toes in the water and walk on the beach w/ Laura. Tacogirl arrives and we get in a last short visit. Peter shows up just in time to buy my last drink on the island - what a guy! Dennis plays the one Steely Dan song he knows - always my fav
and I cajole a haulyurass cup from Ernie, and head across the street to Tropic. Goodbye hugs from Laura (see, we didnít cry!
) and KLC. One last rum punch at Jetís and next thing I know Iím home.
This was my 14th trip in just over 3 years. San Pedro is growing, and I see things that concern me: Iím appalled at the increase in disposable products and the lack of recycling, the ongoing damage to the reef, the growing population without adequate infrastructure, especially education. But I also see things that make me smile every time I arrive: the generosity of San Pedroís people, the way that little town can come together and accomplish things, the improvements in available medical and dental care. A friend once told me something along the lines of how on his first trip he felt an ease in San Pedro heíd never felt anywhere else. I think itís something like that for me too. Itís become my little getaway where I know I can spend a couple of days and come home relaxed and ready to face my world, or spend lots of days and have all the fun I want! Iíve often wondered if Iíd be so hooked on San Pedro if it werenít for this message board. I just donít know the answer to that. But I do know Iíve made some really good friends here, and this trip and my life just wouldnít be the same without all of you!