Is that what that was?
With cats in tow, the journey to Belize begins at 2:30 a.m. on June 15, 2013. Flying from Denver to Fort Worth to Belize City and then hopping on the island jumper to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye became a full day of travel.
The kitties fared well considering their "mama" was lugging them into a foreign country subjecting them to the scrutiny of the TSA and Belize Customs pat-downs. Theirs was not so much the culture shock as it was the temperature variations from cool Colorado evenings to a consistent balmy and humid 80 + degrees. I'm certain they were questioning my sanity.
George, our taxi driver, introduces us to the layout of the town, the markets to shop at, restaurants to visit and how to navigate from city center to the Villa that is located 2 miles south of San Pedro. Settling into the Villa was a breeze. The kitchen/living area separates the two bedrooms each of which have their own private bath and access to the veranda. The pool is just steps away and the ocean is a short 1 block walk. Ahhh, paradise found. We leisurely stroll over to Ricco's restaurant which overlooks the Caribbean Sea for dinner. Smells of the salty sea air and the melody of music from a wedding party at a nearby resort fill our senses. Our first evening on the island is overflowing with laughter and relief that we are finally here after more than a month of putting the plans together. Breathe.
It is common knowledge that June through November is the "rainy season" in Central America. With that in mind, it's not surprising to us when our day exploring town is accompanied by wind, lapping waves and, yes, rain. Lots of rain. We take temporary shelter under the canopy of a Belizean art vendor in the town square. Marlon is an interesting man with dreadlocks who heralds from the Toledo area on the mainland. He tells us of his dream to own a self-sustaining farm one day and shares his philosophy of island life and the "true" Belizean art of craftsmanship. We weren't sure which was getting deeper; the rain or the philosophy. He's trying to make a sale to these four beautiful tourista's. Can't blame him.
The rain lets up and we continue on our conquest to conquer every sight, smell and sound of San Pedro town. Bopping in and out of gift shops, restaurants and bars, we get drenched by the constant downpour that has returned and are having a great time exploring. We discover that Rum Punch, Belikin Beer and Lighthouse Lager are the drink of commonality among the bars. The one food you MUST have should you ever visit is the Papusa. Pupusas are an El Salvador version of the tortilla, only thicker and stuffed with cheese, beans or meat. The fresh lobster papusa is excellent.
The Storm Hits the Shores
Marlon-Street Vendor from Toledo
Downpour in San Pedro
Drenched by the Rain
We hail a cab for transport back to the Villa with groceries from the local markets in hand. The rain continues throughout the night but that doesn't prevent us from enjoying an evening in the pool and on the veranda. The only downer is the emergence of droves of big, black and biting mosquitoes after the rain ends. They are wicked and relentless.
As the Internet connection fades in and out, we check email and Facebook over the next few days. Friends and loved ones are eagerly waiting to hear how the trip is going and if everyone is okay. Okay? We're great! Little did we know at the time but we just experienced our first tropical storm. Barry had landed. It wasn't so bad; after all, we are island girls now.