Adventures in Belize: Day Three – Famous Last Words.

We awoke to intense winds (actually, we initially woke up to the school children playing next door. Loudly. At 7:30am.) Tuesday morning – unusual considering we were off the beach. I had a chat with one of the owners of the guest house, Jaguar (no, really), and we both thought our snorkel trip might off. Weighing our options, J and I headed out for a quick breakfast at Cafe Y Amor, a place that had come highly recommended. We were to be at the tour company for 10:15; it was 9:15 when we arrived for breakfast. After some debate, J thought it best to go and check in with the tour company as there was no reason to rush if we weren’t going out. He told me to hold off on ordering and he took off down the street. Thirty seconds later, already hot, J came back and said, “This is Belize. We better order breakfast. It’ll take forever to show up.”

I ordered our grilled-cheese-and-pineapple sandwiches with two coffees moments later. I sat at our street-side table, eying other people’s breakfasts/burns/questionable fashion choices until, fifteen minutes later, J returned. “The trip’s still on!” he exclaimed, out of breath and clearly overheating. “Well, good thing I ordered,” I responded, “because our food still isn’t here.” When breakfast DID arrive, it was unquestionably worth the wait. I don’t know why grilled cheese with pineapple is so freaking good, but trust me. It is.

In typical Belize style, our snorkel trip was also not so much “on schedule” as it was “eventually going to happen this morning.” There are worse ways to kill time than to spend it on the beach, under a palm tree, vast expanse of sky and sea before you. About an hour after we were supposed to head out, Rene (aka Cap’n Jack o’ Belize) called us on over to his boat where we were joined by two buddies from Vancouver, two girls from Wisconsin and the hairy European who seemed completely oblivious to the fact that there were other people on this excursion.

Off on the very choppy sea, Rene took us to the first of four dive sites. I lasted all of five minutes out there: I couldn’t get my mask to seal properly and the current was quite strong. Knowing we had another three sites to go (including the famous Hol Chan & Shark Ray Alley sites), I headed back to the boat and had a long chat with the Cap’n who had many, many fascinating stories to tell. Some of them, I’m sure, were even true. The second dive went much more smoothly and, by the time we reached Hol Chan, the water had calmed significantly.  We all jumped into the water and followed Rene out through the reserve where we saw all manner of fascinating sea life: barracudas, eels, one-eyed jacks (not the cutest fish by any means, but not as ugly as the barracuda) and, eventually, sea turtles!

I call him Joaquin.

Our final stop was Shark Ray Alley, home to many, many nurse sharks. J had been especially excited about the idea of swimming with the sharks and you could feel the anticipation on the boat. Rene tossed some food for the sharks into the water and within seconds the back of the boat was surrounded.  Of course, as soon as we started jumping into the water, the sharks all scattered. (Ferocious!) We were treated to many rays slowly undulating their way across the sea floor and every once in a while a solitary shark would come and see if there was any food left. Ten minutes later, another dive boat showed up and tossed food into the water…and they all. Came. Back. J found himself surrounded, and from what I could tell, pretty exhilarated!

Once we finished up at Shark Ray Alley, Rene took us around the far side of the Caye along the mangroves, feeding us pineapple and rum punch. It was at about this point that I realized my shoulders were a little more pink than I’d like to see them at 4:30pm. I inquired around the boat and everyone agreed that I really didn’t look burnt.  I’d been applying sunscreen religiously all day, knowing that a) I burn easily and b) I’d be out on the water all day so I decided not to worry about it.

J and I had a last-beer-of-the-afternoon at the Lizard with the two girls from Wisconsin upon our return. As we walked back to our respective homes, one of them gasped, ‘OHIMGOD. You are SO. BURNT. How did that happen??” Welcome to my world where I go from pasty white to cooked lobster in a startlingly short time. One look in the mirror confirmed it: my back, the backs of my arms, my hips…all burnt. Miraculously, the backs of my legs were spared; however, my wrists were beet red, too. Oh, this was gonna be fun. I had a very, very delicate – and cool – shower and we headed out for dinner fairly shortly afterward as we’d realized that we’d barely eaten but exerted a ton of energy.

I verrrrrry gingerly put on a cotton dress, grabbed a shawl and popped into a place called Marin’s: a typical, family-run place enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. We ordered and waited impatiently for our appetizers to arrive.  Belize isn’t a place where things get done in a hurry, so we weren’t supremely shocked when our apps seemed to be taking their sweet time to arrive at the table. “You don’t think it’s all going to arrive together, do you?” J asked. “No…I mean…the dishes were listed separately on the menu. Surely, the apps will come out in a minute.”

And they did.

With our mains.

That we both went face first into.

Tostada appetizers, crispy fried and stewed chicken, rice & beans and coleslaw were inhaled at record speed.  J made the (entertaining to me) mistake of pouring a fair bit of hot sauce onto his rice. It was fun watching his ears steam, but I figured I ought to keep my giggling suppressed as I was going to need him to Solarcaine my back into submission. Gotta think ahead, folks.

Though it was sad to spend our last night in Caye Caulker in our room,  I was clearly in no shape to go for an evening stroll. Bummer, but we resolved to come back as soon as possible and spend more time on this beautiful little paradise.

How do you rip yourself away from this?

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~ by foodNURD on March 8, 2011.

One Response to “Adventures in Belize: Day Three – Famous Last Words.”

  1. Smart thinking on the whole not giggling deal!

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