Saturday, April 11, 2009
My first key, I mean, Caye Party.
Santa Semana had really thrown a wrench into our Belize plans. And Saturday morning it was no different. Everything was shut up tight including restaurants and corner shops. Breakfast was apples and hot cross buns bought from a street vendor – slim pickings but appropriate for the holiday. And with nothing keeping us in the city we hopped on the packed water taxi to Caye Calker.
The trip across the bay took an hour and when we pulled up to Caye Calker we were in a completely different world. I felt like Dorothy waking up in Oz. Belize City had been grey and brown but the Caye was vibrant technicolour. We walked the length of the sandy main road avoiding the golf carts used as taxis, past lobster traps, pastel hotels, and crazy boats. The town was full of people, apparently this is where Belize City’s population had disappeared to. Yet it didn’t feel crowded. There were stalls and stores and restaurants selling BBQ or burritos or seafood (yay, real food) as well as kite-surfing and boat tours. Finally there was life in Belize.
In Cuba, we’d tried snorkeling. I loved it but Adrian’s lack of contacts meant he saw nothing and didn’t. Before we left, I bought him some contacts so he could try again. We went into one of the dive shops rented some gear for the day and set out to the Split – the small channel created by Hurricane Mitch that turned Caye Calker into two islands rather than one. However, there was no real beach it was more like beige concrete – a sprinkling of sand over the coral that made up the Caye so we set up under a bush where I sat looking after our bags while Adrian clumsily walked in his flippers into the water. Immediately, he was loved it, popping up every few minutes to tell me about another fish he saw. I took a dip but the water was murky and there was a lot of bottles and trash along the bottom so I got out and let Adrian spend the day exploring underwater while I took pictures.
Eventually, it was time to get food. And for the first time since we’d been in Belize, the problem was once of choice not availability. We stopped at a stall and got a mound of BBQ chicken, potato salad and rice and beans. Satisfied, we walked over to the remains of a concrete pier where Adrian jumped in to do more snorkeling. Once again there was no place to safely stash our stuff so I let him have the fun while I read. But I finally yanked him out at 3:30 so we could catch the second last water taxi back and hopefully avoid the end of day rush but not before stopping for a tasty chicken burrito which Adrian passed on (silly man) thinking there’d be stuff open now in the city.
Alas we got back to Belize City and the only thing open (barely) was a convenience store where we tried to piece together something to eat. I grabbed the only loaf of bread and some mystery sandwich meat and headed back to the hotel. We walked out on the patio overlooking the river and discovered a young guy sitting in our spot. We were surprised only because he was our friend Crazy Tony reincarnated – he looked like him but even weirder he acted like him (yes same crazy attitude towards life). Adrian called him Tony a few times until he introduced himself as Gary from Bern Switzerland. Luckily Gary had already had a few beers and didn’t mind. While Gary talked to Adrian about the wife and daughter he left while behind to take a sabbatical from his architecture job, I talked to Jerry who’d now come out. Actually Jerry did the talking and I listened. Then it was time for Adrian and I to escape to our room to watch Dexter while the two characters continued their party on the patio.