Kay. So we left on the 8th and had an enormous layover in SLC, so we went to dinner with my BFF Pooh and her hubs, Cazzie. Cazzie kept teasing me about secretly going to male strip clubs. I think he thinks me rather puritanical, so he'll tease me about stuff that, for the record, could not be farther from the truth. :) Honestly, if I went to a male strip club, I'd close my eyes and grimace the whole time. Or throw up a little in my mouth. Just sayin'.
Maybe I am a little bit puritanical...
Anyways, I love Caz and Pooh. And I forgot to take a picture of our outing. So here's a picture of them that I stole from facebook. Could they beee any cuter?
Not my favorite flight schedule in the world.
So when we got through customs, we got a taxi to take us to the place where the water taxi takes you from Belize City to Caye Caulker, the island where we were going to stay. We told him we were starving, and he very kindly took us to this lady on the side of the road who makes traditional Belizean food, which I found out is usually roasted chicken thighs, rice and beans, potato salad, and coleslaw.
Belize City seems very hard-core. There were bars over all of everybody's windows. Barbed wire fences around everybody's houses. Lots and lots of hovels. Many, many poor people, and from what I heard, lots of crime. I was glad we weren't staying in Belize City. Maybe there are prettier parts of it that I didn't get to see.
And Belize is really interesting. I'd say that maybe 10% of the population is Chinese. No joke. They own all the convenience and grocery stores. It was crazy. And then like 45% were Jamaican, rastafarian people, and then the other 45% were latino. I was surprised. I thought the whole place would be latino. It really is quite the melting pot.
Also, the official language in Belize is English, and people will take the U.S. dollar or the Belize dollar. 2 Belize dollars equals 1 U.S. dollars. So you don't have to worry about the language, and you don't have to worry about getting the right kind of money. Such an easy place to go.
A water taxi to and from Caye Caulker is $18 round trip. It takes about 45 minutes each way. And it's a speed boat going full-throttle. Not a ferry. We ate our food on the boat and stared at the people seated right across from us for 45 minutes. I mean, there's not much else to do. It reminds me of the tube in London. You're seated right across from interesting people, and you're not supposed to stare at them?? We had some girls from Holland sitting to our left. They were very tall and blonde.
When we got to the island, our friends, Nick and Kathleen, were waiting there for us. They had already been there a few days - we were unable to perfectly sync our trips, but we were there at the same time for a few days, which was soooo much fun. They are a hoot.
They were staying in a much nicer condo on the south of the island. Our place was $30 a night, but it was right on the "beach." I put that in quotes because the beach....well, there's not much of it. There's about 3 or four feet of beach, and then hotels. It's not like Cancun or Kauai, with miles and miles of huge beach. And there is only beach on maybe a third of the island. The rest of the island just drops off from island to mangroves to sea.
Off the beach are millions of docks and boats and lobster traps and conch shells.
This is the front of our hotel:
It was great to have a hotel room facing the ocean. We had a fantastic view of the ocean, and wonderful ocean breezes flowing through our room. Our room was the bare minimum. A bed, a bathroom.
But we were lucky and had hot and cold water in our shower, and a toilet. And we were hardly there, really, so it was just fine for what we needed.
First thing we did was get changed and rent bikes. Nick and Kathleen's place was maybe a couple of miles from our place, so it was good we had bikes to go back and forth.
Then Nick took us to this place called the Tarpon Deli, which isn't a place for people to eat - it's a place for people to feed tarpon by hand. It was really freaky and really, really fun. These three ladies sit in their hammocks at the end of the dock, and you pay them $2.50 and get a bucket of dead sardines. Then you dangle the sardines over the edge of the docks, and these tarpin jump out of the water to eat them!
I had a terrible head cold that just got worse and worse as the day progressed. The boys wanted to snorkel around near Nick and Kathleen's place, but I just didn't feel well at all. So I lay on their couch and took a little nap while Kathleen caught up on some computer stuff and the boys snorkeled. Kathleen told me, when I woke up, that I snore. :) [Later on in the week, Ben said I was snoring and that I would kind of do the snoring inhale, and then when I exhaled, I'd go, "Hey." Inhale, "hey." Inhale, "hey." I thought that was funny.]
We decided to eat dinner at a place called Wish Willy's, which had mainly traditional Belizean food. [We ate all kinds of food that week - Italian, Lebanese, Cuban...there were Chinese food places... It was nice that there was such a good variety.] The bugs were out, so the cook took an old coconut and lit the inside on fire, which provided a little bit of smoke and kept the bugs away:
That night, in bed, my sinuses hurt so badly that I was weeping in the middle of the night. I have never had such bad sinus pain. In desperation, I woke Ben and asked him to give me a blessing. He had his consecrated oil with him, and he gave me a blessing that my sinuses would clear and that the pain would go away, and it immediately did. I've never had a healing blessing like that before, where the problem immediately abated. It was amazing. I was so grateful. And I'll never forget that. I fell asleep within minutes and felt a lot better the next day.
Disclaimer: Earlier, I typoed and said that it costs $30 for a bucket of sardines to feed the tarpin. Uh, no. I meant to say $3 and found out that it actually only had been $2.50. Like I would pay $30 to do that! No thank you!!! We (meaning I) regret the error.