Belize~Fri. May, 14, 2004 ~ Around Town
After coffee we put a breakfast together and make plans for the day. We are finally going to explore the town and dinner will be at Elvi's tonight. It is Mayan Buffet night. Elvi's was established in the mid-seventies and is known worldwide. One simply does not visit San Pedro without eating there. We learn why later.
Before leaving, I write a little note to Myra requesting an extra top sheet. This is so I can comfortably park my behind on the sofa. We are out the back gate and onto Middle Street before 9:00 a.m. It's nice to explore before the afternoon heat sets in. There is a stop at the bank to exchange money. Once again, tile floors and bare feet. Passing Elvi's, we make note that the buffet begins at 5:30. A little further down is Manelly's Ice Cream Shop and it's regretted we never tried any. Next door is the CocoNet Internet Bar.
Yes, it really is a bar with a row of computers. One can have a drink and check their e-mail at the same time. I pop in and post a few lines to the board and check the egcntrk101 mail account. I briefly met Pedro I while paying the $5.00 BZ for the fifteen-minute session.
There are only a few must do things on the list so we amble about poking our noses into this little shop and that. This is the scope out the wares to see what to take home to the family as souvenir adventure. Street vendors have a variety of jewelry made with seashells, polished conch shell and the most beautiful wood bowls and carvings of animals. The wood comes from the Zaragote, the national tree.
"This unique wood is extremely hard and has an incredible grain pattern.
It also has the interesting characteristic of having both light and dark colors
side by side naturally." (http://belizeisfun.com/doc/bel_amenity.htm
I looked at the bowls and checked prices the rest of our stay but did not come home with one. The smallest begin at $25.00 U.S. and there were concerns about the luggage being overweight for the return flight. We did purchase a stingray carving as a gift for a special young man.
We make our way to Front Street and locate the Post Office to inquire about shipping prices. We want to bring the conch shells home and none are smaller than 8" x 8". Six conchs are heavy. There is a 44 lb. maximum and will cost $250 U.S. Crikey! Then there is the customs issue. They will happily ship them out but there is a chance that U.S. customs will seize, quarantine and keep them because they are coming from an area with a protected reef. There are a few days to figure this out.
The next stop is at Fido's Bar but not for drinks. In the courtyard is a little shop called Ambar owned by Elizabeth. She specializes in handmade amber jewelry and uses stone from the district of Chiapas, Mexico. The amount of pieces in that little bitty shop is amazing. The decision was difficult but earrings and a bracelet is chosen. The total is $90 BZ and there is a $10 BZ discount for paying with cash. This is a true bargain.
Back to Middle Street and towards the grocery stores to seek wire brushes at the hardware store. Wow! It looks just like a Home Depot except smaller. It even has an electronic scanning system at the checkout. The clerk does his job well and points out the $12.00 brush but a bit of snooping reveals the $3.00 version. The smaller one is more expensive but the transaction is completed for a total of $16.00 BZ. Another bargain! A quick stop at Richie's to get water and in a short time we are home.
Myra is a wonder. She has left not one, but two sheets. As usual, the rooms are all tidied and the dishes are done. After a quick lunch we grab the gear and head for the dock to do some snorkeling. There is a nice variety of small fish but without fins I find it very difficult and never make it over to Wet Willie's pier. Good thing, too because it begins to rain. Now, it doesn't take long for these Okies to get out of the water and into shelter. We are well trained due to dangers of a lightening strike. It doesn't seem to bother the locals though. They continue to swim. Wonder why? Nellie comes by and the opportunity to find out why arises. Lightening and thunder is very rare during island rains. This morning's thunder had her covering her head with the pillow and she can scarcely absorb the fact that it is common where we live. Another part update is given. It still has not arrived. That thing truly is on a slow boat. Nellie is fretting about having that refrigerator repaired.
The rain soon ends and a few pictures of the property are taken.
From the porch, one can peek into the Blue Tang Inn pool courtyard. We have been hearing lots of shrieks from late evening revelers. Every morning, the sound of clinking bottles is heard as the staff tidies up. Lots of clinking. I think the wedding party is having fun.
Late afternoon approaches and we dress for dinner at Elvi's. We leave about 4:45 and arrive promptly at 5:00. With time to kill, we wander to the beach. For some reason the feet are tired and sore. At the park are a few palapas with picnic tables. The tide is lapping at the feet of the tables. Here is a golden opportunity to soak the tired dogs. This is the best foot massage of your life. A beautiful view, children playing in the water, and the waves are pulling and pushing the sand beneath your feet. All too soon it is time to walk to the restaurant.
Arriving promptly at 5:30 we find the doors locked. Still. Someone seems to have forgotten about Belize time. Rule #2: Watches make a good bedside ornament. Within a few minutes the hostess opens the door and escorts us into the lobby. There are mahogany floors and tables. The staff is dressed in black slacks and white shirts. We are seated and told the buffet will be open shortly. In another twenty minutes the hostess takes us into the dining area. Stepping through the doorway one is confronted with white linen tablecloths, a palapa roof and sand floors. There is a tree in the middle of the room. Yes, there is a tree. My understanding is that the building was erected around a living tree that has since died. So the tree remains.
We are seated beside the windows so a nice breeze keeps us cool and order Dirty Bananas. This is our first time to have this drink and they are simply dessert with a kick. The buffet is opened and it doesn't take long for us to get in lineï¿½like first. There is Black Bean Soup, Chicken Enchiladas, rice, Pork Mole, Fish Pilbo, Pico de Gallo (made with habanero), Empanadas, and flour tortillas being pressed and cooked as you make your way along the table. Dessert was Coconut Tart and a candied watermelon rind. I'll just have a bit of everything, please. I got the "Lady, you don't know how hot that is" look, again, from the server as I put the second spoonful of Pico de Gallo on my plate. We tuck in and find that we enjoy almost all of it. The Pico de Gallo is superb. However, D. must have found the one piece of habanero bigger than a speck. Next thing I know, he is coughing, turning red-faced and eating tortilla to quench the heat. He next lapses into hiccups. He has a swallow or two of the Dirty Banana. It takes a bit, but he finally recovers. Overall, it was a great meal and wish we had managed to return for lunch one day. Definitely eat at Elvi's.
The short walk is made back to the villa and the remainder of the evening is spent on the porch. The waves crash upon the reef and the wind blows. A habit has been acquired.