Adventures in Belize: Day Seven – A Day to Reflect
A full week into our trip, we were kind of craving a “down” day: a little time to just chill out without travel or commitments or..well, anything really. We slept in til nearly 10, just making it down for breakfast. Having been spoiled in both Caye Caulker and San Pedro, we were equal parts disheartened and amused to see what the hotel provided as “breakfast.” There was an omelette station run by the grouchiest Belizean lady we had ever; but, J decided to take his chances with her, despite the fact that she looked like she’d do worse than spit in his breakfast. I opted for some slightly questionable pancakes, fruit and sausages. At least the pancakes weren’t overcooked, which is much more than I can say for J’s eggs. But food is food and there was – importantly – coffee.
We went for a wander around the hotel property. The piers provided an unobstructed view of the sea and much company in the form of multitudes
of birds. We had thought about going for a swim, but the pool was under renovation. Natch! So we spent much of the day just lounging around, eating leftover Chinese food from the night before and anticipating one of the major reasons we had come to Belize when we did: the 96th birthday of J’s great aunt. I met her for the first time five or six years ago and instantly took a great liking to her. She wasn’t able to travel to Toronto for our wedding back in 2008 for health reasons, so it’d been quite a while since we’d all seen each other.
We’d been handed the menu the day before and placed our order. This party was no small gathering: nearly 30 people over three generations were coming and the restaurant needed to be prepared. I saw that whole snapper was on the menu and I couldn’t resist. I’d never had a whole fish before and if I was ever going to have one, this seemed like the time.
We headed over to my in-laws’ house from the hotel, only a 5 minute walk. Still, Belize City is a city in which you want to keep your wits about you. We passed through a taxi stand and J made a new friend – one that I had to physically remove from J. “OH no you don’t. We’re outta here.” Ladies, if you’re travelling in Belize City with a man, he will be the one that gets accosted. Be confident, grab your man and keep walking. Worked for me both times. But I digress! Upon arriving at the house, we promptly hopped into the minivan cab that pulled up at the door. (Lessons learned – no more clown car antics for us.) The restaurant was across town, right on the water which afforded beautiful views for everyone. The birthday girl sat down in the middle and we all piled in around her.
Then…the food came out. J ordered a conch ceviche as an appetizer. What arrived was a veritable mountain of delicious, fresh, spicy ceviche. Fortunately, he was nice enough to share and those in the immediate vicinity feasted. With the lone exception of J’s cousin’s ceviche, it was by far the best I’ve ever had. The drinks flowed and the volume at the table was dialed up a few notches. (Not that anyone at the table was all that quiet to begin with, really.) That is until the food arrived: then it was radio silence. My fish arrived and I was flummoxed initially by how to eat it. After struggling a little with the bones, I looked across the table at my father-in-law who was deftly pulling away the flesh with his fork. J and I wondered if he or my mother-in-law would eat the fish heads. Happily for me (because I didn’t really want to see it), they refrained, but I did have that song stuck in my head…
The meals demolished, it was time for the cake which was fully decked out with a “96” candle. J’s great aunt seemed quite pleased with not only the cake, but being surrounded by friends and family from far and wide! People burst out into song, one of the great nieces assigned herself as the designated photographer and we all sat and talked long into the night. On the way back home, we passed by what looked like a seriously fun street far/concert and it was agreed that Belize City could use more events like that to bring its citizens together.
Bellies full, we headed back up to our hotel room but paused as we came out of the elevator. Somehow we’d missed how spectacular Belize City could look at night from our vantage point: