We started drinking before we left the hotel. Nothing unusual there. It was after five….am.
There we were, three weary travelers, surrounded by blackness, making our way to the airport with our luggage over our shoulders and bottles of Black Seal Rum held tight within our grasp. We had a long day ahead of us, and we needed to be fortified against it. We each took another swig.
At the airport, we checked our bags all the way through to Belize City, and carried our meager supply of booze and books aboard. The waitress came over shortly after takeoff and asked what I wanted to drink. I suggested that I might like to have several bottles of gin, at which point she smiled her “I hope there’s an air-marshal on this flight” smile and backed away toward the gin storage place. I poured myself into Heinlein’s Expanded Universe and drank rum while I waited on my cocktails. After sometime between 2 minutes and an eternity later, my gin arrived, and I was able to overcome my fear of flying sober. Several cocktails, a complete and total failure to sleep on the plane, and a layover in Houston later, we landed in Belize city. When I stepped out of the plane wearing my winter clothing, into the tropic heat, two things happened. My clothes immediately absorbed all of the moisture in the air and began sticking to my body, and my story really began.
There she was. A vision in uniform. 6’2” of blonde-haired, blue-eyed Canadian. A hot little Tropic Air pilot all wrapped up in a big ball of butch. And boy did she hate us. Maybe it was our coarse humor. Maybe it was the way we each get more chicks than she does. Maybe it was our penises. But there was something about us that rubbed her the wrong way. And she had no problem making sure we knew that she was boss on the airplane, and we had to straighten up and fly right. Which we did not do.
Tropic Air flies little commuter flights all over Central America, servicing the ports of call that just don’t quite have room for 747s to land between croc’ infested swamps and poisonous snake infested jungles. They don’t really adhere to the FAA rules and regulations when it comes to, well, anything. Our particular plane was overbooked, so a girl had to sit on a guy’s lap, and seatbelts were not a requirement. The little plane began accelerating from a standstill, and took the final turn onto the runway at about 40 mph, on two wheels. A few hopping false-starts, and we were airborne, with Captain Bulldyke winging us toward the Island Paradise of Ambergris Caye. (Yes, I said Ambergris Key in an earlier update. I’m too fucking lazy to change it now, and I was drunk while I was there, so, fuck off. Besides, I’ve seen it spelled both ways, and so I am going to alternate my spelling as much as I fucking like. Fuck).
Fifteen minutes later, we began our descent towards the Island. Ambergris Caye is an Island formed from coral. The sand is very coarse and sharp, there is nowhere on the island higher than about 15 feet above sea level, and it is completely surrounded by the second largest barrier reef in the world and a 10 foot deep lagoon filled with sharks, barracuda, rays, tarpon, permit, bonefish, and moray eels. More on this later. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and produces nothing of use. Oscar Wilde would have loved it for it’s pure aestheticism, not marred in the least with purpose. It’s only export is tourism, and it somehow imports enough rum to keep me in my cups, and enough gorgeous examples of T&A to make your eyes continually do that “AWOOOOGA” cartoon thing. The fishing is divine, the scenery is beautiful, and the company I was keeping knew how to get in trouble.
We stepped out of the airport (read: Big field with a chain link fence around it) and into part 2 of the story.