A van was waiting for us, so we climbed in with our luggage and asked that we please be taken to a liquor store. After spending forty Belize dollars (twenty US) we climbed back into the van carrying two bottles of rum and a bottle of vodka. The brief Island tour continued as we made our way to the dock where a boat was waiting.
San Pedro is a beautiful, touristy, third world town. There are three streets running through town, aptly named first, middle, and last. They are paved with sand. As far as I’m concerned, any place that is paved with sand is okay by me. There are any number of island shops selling trinkets, restaurants offering up fresh conch and lobster, and bars selling an endless supply of Belliken Beer and One Barrel Rum. We would learn more about San Pedro as the weekend wore on. Finally, the van pulled up by the beach, and we headed out to the waiting skiff. Our bags were loaded up, and we began our 20 minute boat ride to El Pescador, our fishing camp.
The boat ride was past the town, past myriad bars and resorts, and several miles up the island. We were inside the lagoon, and could see the waves breaking against the reef about a half mile away. Inside the reef, the water was calm, and the bottom teemed with exotic life eight feet below our hull. As we flew through the water, I soaked up the warm tropic sun and the light misting of saltwater from the occasional wave. I also opened up the bottle of one barrel and sampled some local culture.
Bob greeted us at the Dock of El Pescador and showed us to the bar, not our rooms. I liked this place already. It was a two story hotel, right on the beach, with an open air bar, a swimming pool, and hammocks strung up between palms. Eventually we found our rooms where we changed out of our suits and into something a bit more comfortable, then settled in to the laid back attitude of our surroundings. Our first night consisted of meeting some other guests, eating a delicious dinner, and falling asleep with the doors to our rooms open. We were miles from town in a tropic paradise, sleeping in clean pressed sheets with a cool breeze blowing in from the water and shaking the palms outside.
6:00am came and we ate Heuvos Rancheros for breakfast. This is fresh flour tortilla, spicy refried black beans, eggs over easy, cheese, and salsa all together on a plate. Hot damn was it good. Then our guide took us out onto the salt flats where we waded and fished for bone fish. We caught some bones, and we caught some barracuda. We also saw some neat bars we wanted to check out that night.
After the fishing, we ate dinner, then convinced Antonio, the bartender at the hotel, to close early and go to town with us. We hailed a taxi by turning the light on at the end of the dock and waiting for a boat to stop, then headed towards the city.
Our initial visit to the city had been a little disorienting because of the errands that our van driver ran with us and our unscheduled liquor store stop. The entire town is actually only about a mile long, and three blocks wide. It is divided at one point by a man-made canal, which is crossed at one point only by a ferry, powered by a strong man and a rope. All day and night, a man pulls the ferry back and forth across the stream using his rope, and charges one dollar per person, or four dollars per golf cart for the privilege. The dock at which we met our boat originally is actually about twenty-five feet from the airport.
There are not enough people on the island to keep all the nightspots hopping all the time, so you end up with a sort of moveable feast. The entire town keeps to a schedule that makes each place completely packed and completely hopping for about two hours per night. We were at Fido’s from 10:00 to midnight, at Jaguars from midnight to 2:00 and Big Daddy’s from 2:00 to 4:00 when the town finally goes to sleep. Fido’s had a live band and a girl that insisted on stroking my leg until I said that I thought I saw my wife at the other end of the bar. Big Daddy’s had a couple of gargantuan zubba-dubbas that Antonio was infatuated with. But Jaguars was an interesting experience indeed.
Jaguars sits on middle street, in the busiest part of town. The entrance is a giant wildcat head with glowing red eyes and smoking nostrils. You walk in through the gaping mouth, and find yourself in a dance club with a jungle motif, drunk college students, and enough laser lights flashing randomly around the room to pose a serious risk to people’s eyesight. It was there, just after they finished playing the Grease Mega Mix (along with projected video) and had gone back to techno music, that we saw Lieutenant Lesbo and her non-pilot life partner. She approached us and said, "Gentlemen! I just want to thank you. I understand that after you got off my plane yesterday, you told everyone I was a lesbian."
Needless to say, this caught us as a bit of a shock. Who would we have told? Why would we have done so? Who was this bitch? "We didn’t say that" I responded in my best bewildered voice.
"We didn’t say that."
"Sure. I’m supposed to believe that?"
"Yes you are. We didn’t say it. We thought it, but we didn’t say."
That might have been one step too far. You should never insult the person that has power over whether or not you get off of an island in a third world country.
Tune in tomorrow for Part 3: Escape from Ambergris Caye (Abridged)