Beach Bums and Burns

Trip Start Feb 03, 2006
Trip End Jun 20, 2006

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Flag of Belize  ,
Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Since we posted our last entry, it has been a time of reunions with other travellers. First, we went to a bar in Flores after writing the last entry. There, we saw Francis, missed-the-boat Mark's former travel companion. We first met her on a bus at the Costa Rica-Nicaragua border, and last saw her in Leon, Nicaragua. She got to see a Lucha Libre (Mexican wrestling) match in San Salvador, and met a white-boy American who competes there six months out of the year. She had pictures of the matches--one of them was "Black Man vs. Nazi". She hasn't seen Mark since Nicaragua, either...

The next day (last Thursday), we took a bus from Flores to Belize City. It was a bit of a shock to speak in English again, to say the least. A money changer asked if I wanted to change some dollars, and I automatically said "no, gracias", then slapped myself. Andrew didn't give the guy at customs the right answers, and so he only got 18 days on his stamp, instead of the typical 30 (he told the guy he didn't know where he was going, then said he was going to Belize City. When the customs agent asked how long he would be there, Andrew answered "oh, a couple of hours". The custom agent sighed and shook his head)

From Belize City, it was a 45 minute boat ride to Caye Caulker on a boat with three 200 hp outboard engines. One engine wasn't working properly, so the crew spliced the gas line from another engine to bypass a faulty fuel filter as we powered through the ocean.

Our first evening here, we ran into Josh and Kat, who we first met at Lago de Yojoa, Honduras. We hadn't seen them since Santa Ana, El Salvador. It was their last night in Central America, and we all went out to one of the local places--Rasta Pasta. They serve more pasta than you can eat, and 4-lb burritos. The tortilla itself was about 18" across. We ordered a conch fritter and crab rangoon appetizer, and enjoyed it a lot. The obviously-stoned busboy took our plates away, then a few minutes later showed up with another tray of appetizers. We told him that we had already had ours, but if they were going to throw the food away, we'd gladly eat it. The waiter (who was also pretty stoned) said that he screwed up and put in the order twice, so he let us have it. The stoned bus boy was hanging out by our table, trying to figure out what to do and where to go, so we asked if he wanted some fritters. He said "No, I'd better....well, yeah maybe one". He subsequently came back for two more, and dip to go along with it. It was fine with us, since we had way too much food, anyway.

The next day, we decided to switch hotels--our first one was only $15 USD but didn't have a kitchen or hang out area, and the bathroom was outside (and filled with cockroaches at 4 am) so we decided to move to Tina's Guesthouse. Tina's is not the most sparkly-clean place we've stayed, and at $20 per night the most expensive place since San Jose, Costa Rica, but it is about 30 feet from the ocean, has a kitchen, and a nice palm-tree shaded garden with hammocks and tables. We were only planning to stay a few nights in Belize, but now it has been nearly a week....

At Tina's, we ran into Pernilla, a Swedish girl that we had been with on the Guatemalan sailing trip. She managed to get about 10 shades darker in the few days she was on Caye Caulker. We hung out with her for the day, but she had to leave to get back to Guatemala City to fly home to Stockholm.

We went snorkeling at the reef one day (at only $20 USD for a half day, not a bad deal). It was beautiful, with tons of fish and really pretty coral, including some strange blue coral. We also saw urchins, sea cucumbers, mule conch, queen conch, etc. The highlight, though, was an area they call "Shark/Ray Alley". There, the boatman chums with sardines and within a few minutes, the boat is surrounded by nurse sharks and stingrays. The biggest nurse shark must have been 8 feet long. The largest ray was about 3.5 feet across and 5 feet long. It was creepy to get in the water with them swimming all around you.

After snorkeling, I scored a righteous sunburn on my back (from snorkeling), but no blisters, so I guess it could've been worse. We have spent our days hanging out and sometimes swimming from the small "beach" (most of the island is surrounded by sea grass). Andrew has been fishing every day, catching a smattering of assorted fish, some of which we have had for dinner. It is much cheaper to cook for yourself here--most restaurants average about $10 USD a plate for food, a bit of a shock after the rest of Central America!

We met our second Idahoan of the trip here, a girl from Aberdeen. Poor girl.

Tomorrow, we will leave for Merida Mexico. Internet is really expensive in Caye Caulker ($6 per hour), so we will post the pictures from Mexico.
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