Belize - Sunday 5 December 1999
In the morning, we take it easy again. It will be hours before we move on. The bus only leaves at half-past 11. So, we can leisurely laze around the entire morning.
Not everyone feels great. We eat so much of the "Healthy Choice" breakfast and fruit salad that they quickly run out. Thankfully, they also have delicious "Breakfast Burritos" with tomato, egg, and cheese.
At half-past 11, we bid farewell to John and Judy. With a quite luxurious bus, we head to Belize City. It can barely be called a city, as only a few thousand people reside there. There are still many colonial wooden buildings. I think it's somewhat like Paramaribo. We have to walk quite a distance to the boat. Everyone looks at us as if we're aliens! Most people take the bus for that short distance.
Just as we reach the waiting area for the boat, it starts to rain heavily outside. What a downpour! Yet, the sun is still shining. Quite a localized shower. After 10 minutes, it's all over.
Part of the group goes to a Chinese restaurant around the corner and gets three containers of food. Delicious, something different than Burritos and Tacos.
As the boat leaves Belize City's harbor, the engine stops working. There's no way to start it again. We sail for a while using the electric motor, but that's not effective. The engine is really broken.
In an hour, we hardly make any progress. Only then another boat arrives, and we can transfer. That goes much faster!
Caye Caulker is a cute little island, about the size of Schiermonnikoog. It's almost entirely built up with small hotels and dive shops. We're warmly welcomed by a friend of Gail, an employee of a cafe near the harbor.
The time of special, artistic hotels is really over. This hotel is not much more than a stack of prefab rooms. Not a big deal, as all the hotels are like this here. The worst part is that the bedding is really dirty: it sticks terribly! This is the downside of an organized trip: you can't just decide to go to another hotel.
Gail feels really at home here. She tells us that she often comes here when she has a few days off between two trips. Almost all the trips she leads come here.
As we enjoy Margaritas and Piña Coladas, Gail brings up a topic that has been simmering for a few days: the tension between her and part of the group. I think it's good to discuss some things, even if only a few people speak up. I do believe that we understand each other a bit better.
This time, we choose a restaurant ourselves, even though Gail's "advice" ("I heard the food isn't good here") is quite influential. The restaurant where we'll dine is recommended in the Lonely Planet. It's very cozy, nice music, and we're sitting by the water at a candlelit table.
I still find it strange that it gets dark so early. It's winter without feeling like winter.
Belize is a real reggae island. You hear it everywhere. We go to a cafe playing a CD of Toots & The Maytals... delightful!
I have an intense discussion with Liz about having children. She knows she never wants children. Too much hassle, problems, and organizing. She truly loves her freedom and doesn't want to sacrifice it. I explain that I would see those things as a challenge and would be willing to make many sacrifices. She infers that I only want children for my own pleasure, like everyone with children. I don't fully understand what she's trying to convey, but it's an interesting discussion.