The Ocean is a Scary Place…

Ahh reunited yet again.  Since my last correspondence I have had the pleasure of traveling to San Pedro on Ambergris Caye and back, and what a trip it was.  We boarded our 2 hour water taxi ride at 7 am to provide optimal fun-in-the-sun time.  We crowded onto the vessel and managed to get seats together.  It was a tight squeeze having 4 people to a three person bench but some how we managed.  The waters were choppy so our bums were a wee bit sore upon arrival but our excitement acted as a natural pain reliever.  We bumbled around momentarily as we got our barrings and be for we knew it we had reached our destination, the Ocean Tides Hotel.  This cozy little bungalow had everything we could hope for: cozy beds, a pool, comfy lounge area, complimentary coffee plus a welcome drink, and AC! The gods were good to us as it was the iciest AC I’ve experienced in Belize and I didn’t even have to loiter in a bank to enjoy it! We made a beeline to the pool to soak up some much needed rays, in hopes of evening out our fieldwork tan lines, 3 weeks in the making…it didn’t really work but a girl can dream.

Once we were sufficiently sun-soaked we decided to find a bite to eat before our snorkeling trip.  We meandered through the streets of San Pedro, dodging gringos on golf carts (which is arguably the strangest thing I’ve witnessed here for reasons I can’t even explain) finally locating the perfect street food vendor: Belizean street BBQ.  Let me just say Belizean BBQ is an experience.  You get a massive piece of BBQ chicken (that is the perfect combination of smokey, tangy, and sweet), baked beans, coleslaw, and tortillas.  I thought I had known the glory of Belizean food but nothing quite compared to that.  We plopped down on a nearby bench and gorged ourselves.  BBQ sauce coated our fingers and faces as tongues tried to lap up every last drop.  I can only imagine what we must have looked like, ravenous hyenas delighting in the carnage perhaps.

After the feast we headed to our dock to wait for our snorkeling boat to arrive.  Our captain did not instill a lot of confidence in me as he let the boat bang about the dock as he pulled in and out and his deep island drawl made understanding him a challenge.  Never the less we made it out to  Hol Chan and jumped into the water.  We were greeted by all manner of aquatic life: crabs, eels, barracudas, fish of every variety, beautiful corral, and sea turtles! Discovery: Finding Nemo is a LIE!…the sea turtles never came up for water! Blasphemy!  Anywho, after Hol Chan we traveled farther down the reef to Shark Ray Alley where guess what? We saw sharks and stingrays! I know it’s shocking.  But on the real, I was not entirely enthused about jumping into shark infested waters, be them nurse sharks or not. However, I did jump and the sharks were actually the least frightening thing.  We pet one nurse shark and it was much scalier and rough than I had imagined.  The stingrays and the weird fish with teeth were far more frightening. The fish were darty and the rays were HUGE! Like the size of the hood of a car.  (is that a weird comparison? I’m terrible at judging size or making comparisons) But they look pretty as they swim so I accepted it.

The boat was really the best part.  I wish we could have stayed out on the water just enjoying the view.  When we got back to the hotel we showered and combed the ocean tiddlybits out of our tangled manes.  Then we decided to grab some dinner at a local restaurant.  Kacey ordered ceviche and accidentally ate a little too much of the habanero pepper.  Her mouth was on fire and nothing seemed to help.  For the rest of the night she feared the residue from the pepper was still on her face and hands and was afraid she would rub her eye and enrage the beast.  A thorough hand washing took place but it still came back with a vengeance.  Let that be a lesson to you, never trust a habanero.

Then we had some time to kill before trying to have a big night on the town so we had a pillow fight, people watched ex-pats and gabbed.  At 9pm we thought it was finally an acceptable time to go out…we were wrong.  Not much was open but we managed to find a small bar and grab a couple drinks. The problem with fieldwork days starting at 5:30am is that it makes it nearly impossible to stay up past 8pm so we called it quits pretty early and headed for bed.  We were finally able to sleep in until 8:30 though so that alone made it an incredible weekend.

Note: So far the only things I really miss from home are french fries and my family.

Also: Locals asked us if we get offended when they call us gringos.  Should I be?  I always figured there were far worse things they could call me. But also this is where being racially ambiguous comes in handy because most people think I am either Belizean or Cuban here or so I’ve been told.  AHH race and ethnicity what a funny thing.