If ever a day begged for hot chocolate, a book and a blanket, this would be the one. Mid April- it's raining or snowing or sleeting, I can't tell because I can't see very far. Oh, and it's cold. I had lots of ideas about writing before I got out of bed and just glancing out the window hurled me over the cliff of sanity into a gorge of dread. (I too, would eat Cheetos if I had them. Alas, I don't.) So I'm going to launch into memories of the first trip to San Pedro, Belize. (Abbreviated form).
I was accompanied by my Road Warrior friend who, had previously visited the country. We had researched and planned for several weeks in anticipation of this great adventure. I had not visited anywhere with a beach for many years and I had even purchased a swim suit in anticipation of snorkeling and sunning in the Caribbean.
The flights through Dallas to Belize City went without a hitch, we then had to scurry through customs in order to catch a puddle jumper out to the island of Ambergris Caye and it's main city of and San Pedro. I don't think I have ever been on a plane quite so small, it may have had 10 or 12 seats and an aisle wide enough to accommodate six-year-old. They seemed to want to save the copilot seat for the most attractive woman, --probably a national tradition.
The flight only took about 20 minutes flying low over turquoise blue waters and an occasional reef or island.
The plane was extremely warm and humid (especially for those of us coming from the desert.) There was, of course, no air conditioning, and it didn't take long for me to feel trickles running down my temples in the back of my neck-but I was too excited to care. We talked about what would be the first thing to do when we arrived; of course,we had to check in-well, well...first we had to find where we were staying, then find our suits and stick our feet in the ocean.
I believe, we were met by a man from the hotel in a golf cart, but we may have taken a taxi. At any rate, the Aqua Marina Suites was probably four blocks away.
The whole town is maybe a half a mile wide and 2 miles long. There are three main streets, running north and south, which are dirt and sand. There are very few cars, and most of the traffic is golf carts and bicycles. There are colorful shops on every street,interesting restaurants, and a lot of local foot traffic from natives and tourists alike, children and dogs are everywhere.
We got ourselves checked-in and were escorted down the hall to room 106, which was decorated in pale aqua and white with white wicker furniture, full kitchen,tiled floors and French doors overlooking the beach and the ocean from our private veranda. We celebrated the arrival with a wee dram of fine single malt Scotch,which began a great tradition (-well, it actually began when we were in Scotland, a few years before).
For reasons that escape me, we didn't completely unpacked,but grabbed some shorts, kicked off our shoes and headed out to the beach. (At that time, we could only go back down the hall, through the lobby and through the courtyard to the beach.The next year they opened up the veranda so that the beach was immediately accessible.) There were boats and fishermen and a long pier, seagulls, tourists, schoolchildren, sunshine and a wonderful breeze. We walked a few feet to the water's edge and then waded in--the warm salt water was like a magical elixir, I felt all the tension drain out of me.
"This feels so wonderful, I could just lay down" and with that I stepped in a hole and fell on my ass. We both exploded with laughter, and I got up rather embarrassed, but feeling terrific-(it's a great way to cool off). We decided to wander down the pier, and when we reached the end discovered that it actually had some steps, going down into the ocean. Thinking this would be a much better way to cool off my feet-I started down the steps, not realizing that they were covered with algae. I think my last comment was "oh, these are slippery..." splash. I bounced down the next six steps into the ocean, laughing as I went underwater.
My companion was once again convulsed and laughter. When I popped my head out, but appropriately asked. "Are you all right?" When she could see that I was still laughing, she assumed the best. I swam around for awhile, and reluctantly got out of the water. As we walked back down the pier, laughing, we noticed that some of the local lads were enjoying our visit immensely-especially my gymnastics. They enthusiastically invited us to join them for a beach BBQ, which we declined. One of the lads persisted and I explained that I needed to go and change into dry clothes, at which point he gallantly offered his orange T-shirt-which I declined -stifling a laugh. (It really is not my color.) We moved off to a room so that I could put on dry clothes, and we could enjoy some time on the veranda.
What a marvelous place to be, and what delightful people. We explored the beach that evening, and finished our first day by having dinner at Fido's-a large thatched roof building with a great bar and entertainment overlooking the ocean.Ahhh...