3:00 a.m. – Sunrise hasn’t hit Texas yet but I rise with the expectation and excitement of knowing my journey.
8:00 a.m. – Arrive in Houston with some minor setbacks, but reach the Belize bound plane with just enough time to grab the ritual Bloody Mary.
9:30 – As we gain altitude, breaking a thin cloud ceiling, I watch as the last bit of land slips beneath us. I glance around at my fellow travelers. Taking notice of the first-timers, evident by their highlighted, dog-eared Guides to Belize. I sit quietly, thinking to myself- hmmm 7th trip down in 2 years…. Yeah, I’m lucky, damn lucky.
Gazing out the window I notice how the clouds shadows look like thousands of scattered islands on the surface of the water. The expanse of the water and sky seem to melt into one large child’s art project that’s dotted with Elmer’s glue and cotton.
Arrive in Belize City and draw in my first breath of Belize air. Humid, salty with a twinge of jet fuel… but it’s all good . I gather my bags and proceed swiftly through customs. So quickly in fact that I’m able to get on a Tropic flight an hour earlier. I text 2 friends in hopes they can relay the message to Taco Girl as she and Taco Boy were meeting me at the airport. The funniest part going through immigration, was the guy asked me if this was my first trip there. I told him it was my 7th time. He said “Welcome Back”……… Two words that still resonate in my memory. I round the corner and grab a Jet’s rum punch. Strong as I remember and crowded as always. Finally climb aboard the Tropic flight and take off for San Pedro.
Once more, I am thrilled by the sight. I catch a glimpse of several rays, dark shadows gliding over an emerald green reef. Waters turning from emerald green to turquoise to a dark shade of indigo, only divided by the waves that break over the reef looking like a strand of pearls that had been laid out by Neptune himself.
I arrive in San Pedro and am happy to see that Taco Girl did receive the messages (thanks guys!) We hop aboard the cart Rick lent them (thanks Rick) and head over to Cholo’s for me to grab a cart for a day and then run errands for the wonderful dinner that Taco Girl prepared for the evening.
As we round the corner and head for Front street, I’m aware if the roads. “Pavers” as they are called have taken the place of the sandy streets that used to be so quintessential San Pedro. But amidst the “improvements” (or modernization that some are opposed to) I still see things that have not changed, nor do I believe that they ever will. For one, the children, heading to school in their uniforms, smiles and laughter greet us as we pass by. Later in the evening we see some of the same children, playing on the beach, light-hearted and carefree. What a time to be a child and living in San Pedro.
I sit at BC’s savoring my first Pantyripper on island time. Looking at the reef, watching the kids and island dogs and in retrospect I am reminded how funny life is. As an adult, looking for my “blue heaven” I feel as if I have found it, but I wonder if the children in San Pedro really know how lucky they are to be living where they are. At the same time I wondered that as a child if I was ever mindful of how lucky I was to be living where I grew up.