One Ticket to Belize (Day One)
It took my older sister several weeks to email me after I told her I was going to Belize, by myself, in order to scuba dive. No one in my family understood. I had to reassure them a billion times that I wasnít scared and that I didnít need one of them to go with me. Then I had to promise over a zillion times that I would BE CAREFUL. The night before I left, I talked to my mom on the phone:
"Now, I want you to be careful."
"Donít worry about me, Iíll be careful. Kim (that's my older sister) finally emailed me! She said I was giving everyone heart failure."
"You are giving everyone heart failure."
"Iím sure any heart problems can be blamed on fast food and are no fault of mine."
"We are just worried about you all alone in some far away primitive country. Now promise you will be careful."
"DONíT WORRY. Iíve put together a first aid kit."
"Yeah, it has some bandages, neosporin, hydrogen peroxideÖ"
I could feel the "I was in labor for seventeen hours with you" speech coming up, so I promised to be careful one last time and we said our good-byes.
Getting There- Friday, November 22, 2002
The pilot was kind enough to take the scenic route into Belize International. After flying over nothing but trees and water, Belize City came into sight. We flew over the city and out to sea before turning around to land on a remarkable short runway. The first thing I saw upon landing in Belize was a giant Belinkin sign.
After I purchased my Tropic Air ticket, I stepped outside, just to say that I had been on the Belizean mainland. I was really surprised at how many American Company advertisements there were.
The puddle jumper flight was so much fun that I was thinking it would be great to be a pilot for Tropic Air. By the time we landed in San Pedro, I had already used up one roll of film.
Carlo at the Information Center
After checking in at Rubyís and finding a dive shop for tomorrow, I headed into town to pick up a few provisions (beer and water) at the grocery store. There was a man riding his bicycle around town with a big red cooler. He rode back and forth yelling, "Bananas! Bananas!" It was growing dark so I decided to stop at the information center in Central Park and ask directions.
"Hi! Can you tell me where there is a grocery store?"
"Yes." Carlo officially sets out a map of San Pedro and proceeds to show me a new restaurant. "Cocina Carambra, very good. Also, if you like pizza, the best pizza place in town is here." He drew a little dot on the map and then handed me a yellow flyer. "Just give them this paper and youíll get a discount on your meal and also free drinks. But not alcoholic drinks, just rum punch and sodas are free."
"Isnít rum punch an alcoholic drink?"
"Well yes. But drinks like beer and cocktails arenít free."
"So I reckon rum belongs to the juice category?"
We had a good laugh, then back to business. "Do you like to go out at night? Party? Drink?"
"Well then tonight, you should go to Big Daddyís." Drew another little dot on the map.
"Are you traveling alone?"
"You donít have any friends?"
"No, no friends."
"Fidoís is another good place to go." Drew a circle around Fidoís. "They play very loud music there. Over here is Laguna Columbia." Drew a moon shaped lagoon.
"Do they have crocodiles there?"
"Yes, but donít get too close to the crocodiles. Sweet Basil is another good restaurant." Drew a circle around Sweet Basil and then handed me the map along with a copy of the San Pedro newspaper. "This map is yours. You can take it."
"Thanks! Umm, Can you show me where there is a grocery store?"
NOT Being Careful
I walked along the seashore toward the little dot that marked Big Daddyís on my map, but a great heron wading in the water near Central Park distracted me. I sat on a wooden picnic table and watched as the graceful bird, with her great long neck and her great long legs and her great long beak strolled through the water.
As I walked through Central Park, I knew that I was going to love this town. How? Well, because they have two teeter-totters in Central Park of course. I love teeter-totters. Iíve looked all over Austin, but cannot find one. I hope before my trip is out, I will get to teeter-totter with someone.
Somehow, I managed to pass by Big Daddyís. No problem. I found Cholos seaside sports bar and it looked like my kind of place so I stopped by and ordered a rum punch. As I waited for my drink, I realized I was the only woman in the place, so I decided to go sit at a table in the sand rather than drink at the bar.
Before long, some guys came over and started talking to me. A big beautiful orange moon rose over the water as these guys explained to me how everyone on the island has a nickname.
"No one is know by their real name. Thereís Pill. We call him Pill because his real name is Philip."
"Then thereís Half-day. Thatís his nickname because once he led a full-day snorkel trip to Caye Caulker. Around 12, the boat returned. We asked him why he was back so soon. Was there something wrong with the boat? ĎNo. We went snorkeling and now weíre were back.í He can only hear half way."
I quickly learned that while drinking in San Pedro, a new fresh drink will suddenly appear in front of you, before you have finished the one in your hand...
Later, we stumbled over to Fidoís, but didnít want to pay the cover charge. Then we stumbled over to Sharkís Bar, but didnít want to pay the even higher cover charge. So we ended up at Jaguarís. Jaguarís has a super size model of a jaguarís head. Complete with four super sized teeth. Very cool. But I didnít really like the place on account of the American music they were playing.
Iím not going to go into the embarrassing details. Letís just say that I was NOT being careful (it was completely my fault) and by the end of the night, I returned to Rubyís room eight with two open wounds, one bruise and a fairly large red irritation. (Note to self- no more rum punch.) As I lay in bed I remembered that I was suppose to be careful, so I got up and rubbed some Neosporin on the open wounds.