Belize~Sat. May, 15, 2004 ~ Island Rain

The day dawns. It is raining and has been raining through the early morning hours with thunder and lightening. The winds are high enough that it has driven rain across the porch and underneath the door. The rug is soaked through. No daylight can be seen under the doorsill but water always finds a way to enter previously tight areas. Sea spray covers the door and windows. Water is mopped up; the rug and towel hung in the bathroom to dry. Coffee will not be on the porch this morning. One question looms over our heads. Will this cancel the snorkeling trip?

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Coffee is consumed as preparations for the boat trip persist and we continue to observe the falling rain. One can hope. The dive bag is packed and swimsuits are donned before 9:00 a.m. The time comes and goes. It would appear, the trip has, indeed, been cancelled. Still holding out hope, a breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast is made as we refuse to remove the swimsuits. The sun breaks through around 10:00 but there is no sign of Tulu. Sadly, clothes are changed and a decision made to make the best of it. There are errands that can be completed.

Exchanging money every day has become tiresome. A list is prepared of expected expenses for the next few days and the amount tallied. The bank closes at noon so we make a hasty walk down Middle Street, past the post office, to Atlantic Bank. This bank, too, has an armed guard on duty. We find this is standard procedure in Belize. Once it is our turn, we learn a passport is required to exchange monies when using travelers checks. I knew this. There isnít much time and a hasty flip-flop, squish-squishing walk is made to the villa and back to the bank with time to spare. Barely. Once again, names are signed over and over. Rule # 3: Remember the passport when exchanging travelerís checks.

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This is the perfect opportunity to purchase souvenirs and we make our way into the various stores that were noted yesterday. Purchases are made. While buying the shot glass for our son-in-law a tube of SPF 40 sunscreen is also bought. No more of the SPF 30 for me! The shot glass is wrapped, bagged and handed to Dennis. He promptly turns, drops the little bag, and it crunches into smithereens. Another is purchased. In no hurry to get anywhere, we head for the beachfront and soon find ourselves at Calienteís Restaurant.

Why not have a Rum Punch and enjoy the view from the upstairs balcony? Rum Punch is ordered along with guacamole. Oh, yum! Even though overcast, the delicious view doesnít hurt either. We all know God works in mysterious ways and when a visit was made to the ladiesí room I find $5.00 BZ on the floor. A small reimbursement for the broken shot glass.

Refreshment finished, the trip is made back to Middle Street and towards the villa. Seem to remember a small shop along the way has cheese graters and we search until it is found. The grater is purchased for about $7:00 BZ. Now those nachos using fresh homemade tortilla chips can be made. The fresh Pico de Gallo awaits. We are truly blessed.

Once arriving home, purchases are stashed away and windows are opened for ultimate enjoyment of the cool island breeze. Until today, the afternoons have been very hot, and muggy. Today it is perfect. May is the hottest month of the year and temperatures can rise into the nineties. Rum Punch is mixed and, after drying the table and chairs, our seats are taken on the porch.

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The upstairs neighbors in the unit next door, Jan and Jack from Washington state, soon appear. Some time is spent visiting with them about their snorkel trip with Tulu. (Weíve given his name to everyone.) They, too, believe he is a wonderful guide and only regret that their time on the island will end tomorrow. Itís a continuing theme among many we meet.

They eventually go upstairs to pack and we watch the soaring frigate birds overhead while waves crash upon the reef.

Dennis has gone in search of a telephone to contact Tulu. One with a familiar gate is spied walking along the beachfront and soon a smiling Tulu is seated on the porch. A drink is offered but declined until Dennis gets back. As we visit, his cell phone rings, and it is Dennis. Laughing at the irony, we wait for Dennis to return and then drinks are prepared all around. As we while away a few hours Nellie comes zipping by to see how we are doing. The all too familiar part update is given Ė not here yet Ė and an inquiry made about the sunburn. The pain has subsided on the backside but the back has now become a nuisance. Itís decided the backside hurt too much for the back to be felt. She points to the plant in the corner with instructions to score the leaves, apply a little water to it and then lay them upon the back. She assures us the remedy is effective to reduce the pain and much used by the Mexicans. We learn they have both been by several times during the morning hours but we were not home. No? Yes, we were here! The door was closed. Of course the door was closed. Wind was driving the rain inside. It is island custom that if the door is closed one is not home or otherwise engaged. Another thing learned. We learn an island phrase, also. From now on, it is permissible for Tulu to ďknock us upĒ if the door is closed. A good laugh is shared at the different meaning in our two countries.

Nellie scoots on and itís decided we will try to snorkel tomorrow, weather permitting. Itís not long before driving rain forces us inside.

We find the water off but itís not a problem since there is drinking water in the fridge. The door and window must be closed. No problem. Conversation continues and we learn Tulu has been to California and New York City. It took him one short week to discover he much preferred the island but loved the prices on T-shirts. Seems he came home with many. Eventually the rain subsides and Tulu departs for home.

A late afternoon lunch or an early dinner of Nachos is made. The conch shells that have been in the plastic garbage bag, because they make the room smell, are placed on the porch rail. The water eventually comes on and we can shower off the mud. The rest of the waning day is spent on the porch visiting with Scott, Angie, and Cindy until my back is badly in need of attention. Leaves are picked from the plant and Dennis gently applies them to my back as I lie on the sofa. With the help of those Rum Punches I drift into sleep and Dennis spends more time visiting with Scott. At some point, Dennis removes the leaves and assists me to bed. Will tomorrow bring a sunny day and less painful sunburn? Time will tell.