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Almost as traditional as a Jet’s rum punch, I find myself at Papadeaux’s restaurant the night before I leave. I usually treat myself to a nice dinner and a few glasses of wine. It’s a way for me to wind down and start to get in the Belize rhythm of “Go Slow”…. It’s another sleepless night of tossing and turning. At 3:00 am I decide to rise and get the day started because I know it will be a long one. I grab the shuttle to the airport and notice how quiet the streets are at 4:30 am. A few early morning risers are out and about but nothing compared to the freeway clogging, mind-numbing madness that will soon take place later in the morning.
I arrive in IAH and find LA waiting for me at the gate. We board the plane heading south and settle in for the flight. I order the official “Belize Bloody Mary” signaling the start of vacation and gaze out the window. Once again I am hypnotized by the beauty of it all. It is a sunny day with scattered clouds and an endless sea beneath me. Although there is not much to see scenery wise it’s the anticipation of the views that I will see once I land in San Pedro. Granted I had NO idea to the welcome party that was there waiting for us! But before we hit San Pedro, we had to hit Jets bar.
I met up with Jane, Bruce and Taco Mom at Jets and had the traditional rum punch while waiting for our flight out. Grabbing my favorite seat (co-pilot) we take off, gliding over the mainland before crossing the reef.
Caye Calker. It’s an amazing view with colors that rival anyone’s most vivid imagination. It’s hard capturing the awe and inspiration that I feel when I see the reef and all its shades of blues and greens. Paintings, pictures and the written word cannot begin to express why so many, as well as myself, are mesmerized when we are hung in suspension over this natural beauty.
We arrive at the San Pedro airstrip to find the Welcome Wagon in full regalia (flip flops and shorts) with a welcome sign that I’m still trying to decipher! But what my handy thesaurus tells me is that they were welcoming the Complexly Smart Northern Hemisphere Drunken Party People! (Otherwise known as CSNHDPP)….. jk…. (we all know we’re not drunks…..)
We wait for the second wave of the CSNHDPP crew and after hugs and hellos, we split for our respective abodes for the next few days and settle in with drinks and more cheers.
Dinner at Taco Mansion was great as always! So many friends were there and much food and laughter were shared by all. Standing on the veranda before heading over to Tacklebox, I take in the sea air and listen to the familiar sounds of the night. Laughter in the house, music from the Black and White bar and the ever present sound of golf carts buzzing off into the night. Darkness engulfs the shadow riders but I can still hear them long after they fade from my sight.
The rest of the week was an endless blur of fun and surprises as well as meeting new friends and seeing old ones. (and I don’t mean in the age sense!) I was disappointed as I didn’t get to see some friends from trips past, but we will meet up again. Have no fear…. (or rather, they HAD better fear that meeting!) *Wink* *Wink*…. And THEY know who THEY are!
I was completely surprised at the Wet Willie’s bar when AZBob and the non-present Otter bestowed upon me my so aptly deserved (in their words) “gold stars”!!! Ya know, I still need to put those things in water to see HOW BIG they really get!?!?!...... Might work better than a coconut bra for next time! Sorry, no pics of that night.
Friday was spent diving and snorkeling with Coral Divers (thanks guys!) And then the sunset cruise was that evening.
While the night was fun and filled with friends and more surprises (I know Bill is still cleaning his shorts out on his surprise) It wasn’t without a small mishap. Seems we hit a coral head and when the cat stopped, I didn’t. Almost wound up in the drink, but due to a rig and my hard head I was saved from the sea. But I did save my beer! Good strong Cajun/Texan roots!..... (Never let them see you spill your beer!)
Saturday arrives and we head over to Changes in Latitude for a great breakfast of French Toast, homemade buttered rum syrup and a Bloody Mary. Looking at the sky we try and decide whether to head to Caye Caulker or not… but the clouds break and we head over for an afternoon at the Lazy Lizard.
It was great just sitting around soaking up the sun, enjoying the view while having a few drinks and more laughter. My question to KCJayhawk is….how did you get the judges to give you a 9.5 on that dive? Was it the execution? Or the yell before contact with the water??
We grab a bite to eat on the way back to the water taxi and then one more drink on Caye Caulker at the Uno Mas bar before heading back. A fantastic day it was. I smile as I watch the waves break over the reef and take in the colors once more.
But a sadness soon comes over me because this is my last full day on the island. Departure depression has taken hold of me and I try and shake it by watching the island slip by as we make our way to the water taxi stop. TacoGirl, TacoMom and TQ kidnap me and we head over to Taco Mansion for a quick nap and down time before heading over to Pedro’s for swap night and game night. Laying on the veranda on my familiar futon, I look up at the stars and thank my lucky stars for many reasons. One of which that I am profoundly lucky to have met such wonderful people that have become lifelong friends.
I head back to the room and shower and change and then head over to Pedro’s. I finally run into the ever beautiful Chloe. I get to meet her children and grandson and we are able to spend some time catching up. Reaper and his good looking clan were there as well. It was nice chatting with everybody.
LA and I head over to Caramba’s where KLCman has beaten us there since we stopped and window shopped. Another great meal then off to dream land.
Sunday……………………. *SIGH*……………… almost hard to be excited about the Sauce Off since I can’t be there and I have to leave at the start of it… But I put on my brave face and head over to BC’s for one last Island drink and good-byes…. Hugs……..laughter………… and tears…
A special thanks to all that I have come to know and now call friends. Each and every one of you holds a special place in my heart as well as the island that we know as “Isla Bonita”……
Till we meet again………….. Laissez les Bon Temps Roulez (Let the Good Times Roll)