Belize~Wed. May, 12, 2004~Southern Adventures
Mr. Eg is up and about early, as is his usual routine. He has already had a ramble around the North side of town and eaten breakfast at Wet Willie’s. I, on the other hand, tend to be a late riser. For many months I have dreamed of this day. This is the morning to have coffee on the porch and drink in the view of Caribbean without being hurried or a “must do” list. Amazingly enough, I am awake around 8:00 a.m. and stumble to the coffee maker.
Without thinking, coffee is made using tap water. Java is soon in hand and my seat at the porch table is quickly established. This will be the routine for the rest of the trip.
As I consume the view, things that escaped me yesterday in the excitement of arrival, are revealed. It is peacefully quiet without the sounds of cars or teenagers with boom boxes. The locals are passing by on their way to work…most walking, a few on bicycles. Golf carts are not allowed on the beachfront areas. The water taxies are beginning to run between the various piers. Frigate birds soar gracefully overhead, in the distance the sea breaks in a fluffy white line across the reef and the wind is blowing. I repeat…the wind is blowing. This is no gentle tropical breeze and anything on the table must be weighted down or will soon be on the East side of the island floating in the lagoon.
As I wander back inside, for another cup of coffee, it strikes me the unit is decorated and painted in a unique fashion. I could live with my walls looking like this!
Wall mural painted by E. Gomez and D. Norales, 2003
The theme continues around the other three walls in shades of blues to represent the underwater reef. Here and there bubbles rise upward to the ceiling and at the top of the mural can be seen the fluffy, white waves that crest the reef.
The bathroom, too, has a reef scene; doors and cabinets are constructed of tongue and groove mahogany being pinned together with wooden dowels.
The bedroom has a queen bed, with four pillows and extra blankets in the closet. There are plenty of hangers, a ceiling fan and air conditioner. The bed proves to be comfy.
With a fresh cuppa in hand, it’s time to head back onto the porch and it’s not long before someone is seen coming through the front gate. The man wears a smile and walks happy. It doesn’t take long to determine that this is the renowned Tulu. As he removes his sunglasses and shakes hands, clear, bright blue eyes greet one with a merry smile shining through.
As we sit, and visit like old friends, he points out his son and daughter walking by the front wall on their way to school. Unlike where I live, they all wear uniforms. They laugh, play and carouse just like all children and it’s fun to watch them. They go by in groups of different ages for the better part of an hour. The conversation eventually makes it way towards arrangements for a half-day snorkel trip tomorrow morning as Nellie comes nipping around the corner. We are given the latest “part” update and assure her we a quite happy where we are. There is no need for her to worry about the late arrival of a refrigerator part. As Tulu departs, Manuel, property management staff, arrives and we make arrangements to rent a golf cart for eight hours at a cost of $53.05 U.S. Now the scurry begins as we dress and wait for its arrival.
By 11:00 a.m., the cart is delivered. With list and town map in hand we begin the days adventures. Now this sleepy little town with three streets running North-South and seven or so East-West certainly seems to be bustling. To make matters a bit more confusing the streets are one way but only the map shows which is which. At least there are signs with the street names. I am usually the map-reader, while Mr. Eg drives, but today it is out the question. I have to choose between reading glasses or sunglasses and opt for the sunglasses. The map is clipped to the steering wheel and off we go! Again. One of those, you go around things, to find you can’t turn that way and have to backtrack two blocks to find the street needed. In the meantime, taxis, pedestrians, half-ton delivery trucks, police vehicles and bicyclists must be avoided. This is just within a few blocks of where we began. What have we let ourselves in for? After several false starts and wrong turns we manage to go in the proper direction and find the way to the Belize Bank.
Today is “dress island day” and I’m wearing a sundress with no shoes…they are stowed in the cart if needed. An armed security guard opens the door upon entering the lobby and I notice that not many other people are wearing shoes. Eg has just found a true paradise. Waiting for a teller, with feet firmly planted upon a cool tile floor is very nice. It doesn’t take long for the teller to confirm the bills are real and the issuance of Belize dollars begins.
Next stop is Isla Bonita Designs, home of “Tie In On” Island Clothing for a couple of dive scarves. Otherwise know as “dew rags.” With the wind, something is needed to keep hair out of the face. This handmade version is tapered to wrap around the head and tie at the neckline. It does a neat job of keeping limp, straight hair in place.
We negotiate through the busy little town streets to the South of town. It’s time to take a look at the places we have read about. Destination: Caribbean Villa’s Bird Sanctuary with a watchtower. We pass the Soccer Field on Middle Street make several turns and come upon the Island Super Market. Much bigger than the others we’ve seen with a price to match! The road makes a turn to go around the airstrip and out of town you go. The traffic decreases and peace begins to settle in. Now, what was so hard about all that? We pass the Medical School get name, and the Barefoot Iguana to arrive at Caribbean Villa during the hottest part of the day. The Sanctuary is full of various plantings and we saw a few birds but they were smarter than their human counterparts. They stayed out of the heat. The tower was a nice place to get a topside view of the surrounding area, though. A little further and we find Xanadu Resort.
The next stop is at Victoria House then a quick turn around at Caribe Island Resort to head North. The road is now following the lagoon instead of the reef side, there isn’t much of a breeze and a few mosquitoes have made an appearance. Beware, the town road going south is generously sprinkled with topes. If you think they are bad elsewhere, in San Pedro they are exactly the same color as the sand and sneak up on you. I eventually learned to holler “Bump!” and Mr. Eg learned how to navigate them without jarring the living daylights out of us. It’s time for sustenance! A hot dog is devoured at Monkey Bites and we scoot back into town. No time to waste for there is still the North to explore.