The little hopper makes a smooth landing and taxis to within a few feet of the terminal. We thank the pilot for such a great flight, grab the carry-on and exit the plane. I can smell the sea! As we pass the porch I hear ďParadise Villas?Ē Yes, yes! There stands Lulu, our taxi driver, and Nellie Gomez, the property manager, of Capín Ronís condo unit. Lulu I expected but not Nellie. Now, this is service. They are both wearing big smiles, the baggage claim is quickly taken from us and the hunt begins for that one piece. Now this piece is a certifiably ugly, black and white reptile patterned bag and can be spotted rather quickly. Except this time. Searching all the carts continues to no avail. It is not uncommon for some of your luggage to arrive on a later flight due to weight restrictions. However, this flight stopped at Municipal and took on produce. Hum? The piece is finally located along the side railing. While we were drinking rum punch the luggage had arrived on a prior flight. Next question is do we wish to ride in the taxi with the luggage or in the golf cart? The golf cart, of course. We hop into the cart with Nellie and off we go, zipping this way and that along little sand streets, pointing out shops to each other that we recognize. Nellie welcomes us back to the island and we assure her that it is our first visit. She is amazed to learn that we have the internet to thank for our knowledge and slows down just a bit, taking time to point out the banks, the best place to purchase groceries and places to eat. In no time at all we enter the back gate of the complex.
The villas are built in a U shape, open to the sea with the pool area in the center and heavily planted with all types of flora. Coconut palm, Royal palm, Banana trees, Croton, Hibiscus, Bougainvillea and more. There are potted plants on all the porches, which will later prove to be a Godsend.
We wander through all this beauty to the front of the complex to unit 1A and B with unit 2A and B right beside it.
I can hardly wait to see the view from the upstairs balcony but we are being ushered into the downstairs unit. Something is rotten in paradise. It would seem that the coil has gone out on the refrigerator upstairs and we will temporarily be staying downstairs. The part was expected this morning but has yet to arrive. It was also shipped via barge and Nellie fears that the tiny little part will never be found on such a large boat. We tour the downstairs unit and then the upper to discover the view from the upstairs balcony is blocked by a palm tree. We also prefer the dťcor downstairs, the view is better and a porch width larger inside. We will happily remain downstairs.
We are introduced to our maid, Myra, and Lulu delivers the bag. Nellie offers to make all our tour and rental arrangements for us. We have only one request: can you find Tulu? He has been highly recommended for snorkel trips. Of course she can! They went to school together. Nellie goes scooting off with promises to let us know about Tulu later in the day.
One would think two people without sleep in forty-eight hours should be ready to collapse. Not a chance! A quick change into swimsuits, out the front gate, a short walk down the beach and a stroll down the pier puts us at Wet Willieís Bar.
Decision one: inside or outside seating. Outside! We enjoy a couple drinks and partake of conch fritters. I request the Marieís hot sauce and am cautioned by the waitress that it is very hot. I smile and assure her that I know it is. I mix some of the habanero sauce with the tartar sauce and find that the fritters are very tasty that way. We watch the fish from the deck and have a bit of conversation with another couple. Is this heaven, or what?
Having lingered long enough we make the short two block walk to the grocery store to stock the pantry for the evening.
The two grocery stores are at the same intersection. Richie's is where items are purchased for a reasonable price. The San Pedro Supermarket is where one purchases the high priced American items.
A gallon of water, a bag of ice, a fresh pineapple and a bottle of rum are all that is needed for the evening. The rest can wait until tomorrow when we have a golf cart to haul it back to the villa. Next comes a swim in the pool where we meet Yellow Kitty. He is very friendly and seems to be well cared for.
The afternoon is suddenly gone and itís time to head for Ramonís Resort for the Tuesday night beach BBQ. It is said one can always find their way home by which foot is in the water. Left foot in the water is south and right foot in the water is north. In goes the left foot and we begin our first stroll down the beach towards town. Itís amazing how many places we recognize as we go past. There are piers as far as the eye can see, with tour boats, fishing boats, water taxis, catamarans, a yacht or two and barges moored alongside. Everyone that passes has a smile and a friendly hello for us. My gaze turns constantly toward the reef.
In due time, we arrive at Ramonís and the smell from the grill gives me hunger pains. Seating is done quickly and drinks served swiftly. The rum punch is excellent but a bit different than Jetís. I order the chicken and Mr. Eg the pork chops. The meal is served with fresh made tortillas, baked beans and your choice of cole slaw or potato salad. I prefer potato salad; he prefers cole slaw. The waiter brings a pile of napkins in one of those holders with the weight on top. Good thing, too, because even though we are seated on the covered porch and there is plenty of foliage sheltering the area the wind is still very strong. The plates arrive and oh my goodness! The serving is huge! Iíve got a quarter of a chicken and that pork chop on Mr. Egís plate must be an inch thick. Baked beans? Doesnít resemble any baked bean Iíve ever seen for which I am very thankful because I donít care much for them. Time to tuck in and itís quickly realized that the meat is a finger food. No wonder he brought all those napkins. Conversation stops as the mouths become full and amazingly we almost lick the plates clean. I like those beans! The sauce on the chicken is superb! No complaints about the potato salad and after having a bite of the cole slaw it is good, too. Fresh, warm tortillas. I am definitely in heaven. If memory serves me correctly, this meal, not including the drinks was sixty dollars Belize. With the exchange rate being two to one, that is thirty dollars U.S.
The right foot goes into the water and we stroll towards home. Dark falls and because we forgot the flashlights we turn onto Front Street. We know the villa is close but find our way blocked by construction. As we turn, a miniature poodle goes scampering by and a worried owner is calling him. We help herd him in the proper direction and meet Sam and Sammy. Sammy is the proprietress of Isla Bonita Designs where every piece of clothing is handmade and ties into place. Sounds like a place to check out and Iíve read about her clothing on the Ambergris Caye board. They point us in the right direction and we soon reach the villa. Nellie is good as her word and we find a note on door telling us that Tulu will be around tomorrow morning. Surprise! Yellow Kitty is at the door and as we open it he sails right in. He is accustomed to being indoors. Mr. Eg slices up the pineapple and throws it in the blender along with some ice and rumÖwell heís trying to get the rum in it. There is a plastic plug in the opening. He attempts to pull it out but that doesnít work It wonít screw out either. Eventually he just pokes a bunch of holes in it with a knife. The rum goes dribble, dribble, dribble and we have our own version of a Panty Ripper. Itís nice to just sit quietly out of the wind for awhile, have a drink, and pet a cat. The lack of sleep is catching up with us and before long we lay our weary heads upon the pillows, with Yellow Kitty at our feet, and drift into a peaceful slumber.
It canít possibly get any better than this.