Ahh, Belize. Was it my least favorite or second least favorite country . . . It’s tough to say. Let’s give it the benefit of the doubt and call it the winner. I think it was mostly because of getting strung along and then finally ripped off by another American down in Belize, but otherwise, it was pretty cool. The people were great for the most part, but I felt there were more people trying to get money out of you here than anywhere else.
The two things I miss about Belize – Fried Jacks and Belikin. The Belikin Stout was the most interesting beer I had in Central America.
Ad hoc foodie CA beer ratings!
1. ToÃ±a (Nicaraguan – My favorite – smooth, light, and refreshing)
2. Belikin Stout (Belizean – a complex stout in a warm climate that really worked)
3. Panama (Duh – Most beers down here were lager style session beers, this one was fantastic)
4. Bavaria Dark (Costa Rica – close to a Negra Modelo, one of my favorite supermarket beers)
5. The Costa Rican version of Imperial (There are imperials in every country down here and they all taste different)
Honorable Mention: Gallo (Guatemala – They have great national pride for their beers down here, and while I like the country, I wish they imported ToÃ±a)
I made it a point to try every beer they had in each country. Mexico had the most, and I didn’t get close to sampling their whole selection. I’m pretty sure I had every beer in Costa, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. Probably not Belize because I was so taken with the Belikin Stout that I didn’t try as many others. The selection in Belize wasn’t so vast, either.
Pics pop up in the same window.
So I fixed my bike by myself between the Guatemalan border and here (the border city on the Belize side is gorgeous, by the way – Viejo Del Carmen). I had a problem with the spark plug in Panama. I solved that temporarily by leaning forward on the bike and putting pressure onto the side of the bike covering the spark plug with my thigh.
I figured that this was an electrical short problem because of the way the bike was acting, so I started doing that again, and it worked only slightly.
Then I started putting heavy pressure on that area with both thighs from a different angle, and it worked so much to the point that the problem fully stopped when I put the pressure on and returned when I stopped the pressure.
It was getting too much to handle, squeezing the bike so hard. I could do it for two minutes at a time, and then needed a 30 second break. I was looking for a way to extend the amount of time that I’d be able to ride for before it started having problems again (this was the difference between going 90Kph and 60Kph) so I tried putting my thigh on just the right side of the bike, and presto, it worked.
I needed gas, so I stopped at this gas station and stepped off the bike, asked a couple of guys around if they knew anything about bikes, had a couple guys come over and see what I was looking for and bam, I found a loose connector.
Took the pliers out, made sure that connector was on tightly, and I was on my way at a good tack all the way into BC.
|Liz didn’t get in until noon or so, so I had some time to kill in the morning. I wanted to get a bunch of stuff that I needed to fix my bike, but there’s just about nobody that repairs motorcycles in this town.|
|I need the rocky theme music here.
This place has to be more than a mile and a half in circumference. I don’t know why they weren’t pimping this place out with some kind of mixed use development – it is some pretty awesome real estate.
You can see there is plenty of open space around here and it is next to some areas that are fairly well off (which you can’t see, but trust me, the North side of BC is much nicer than the South.
|This place was gorgeous, and I had a great time, but damn if everyone here wasn’t out for your money. They made no qualms about sticking it to you every second they could. The internet was $10 US per hour at the cheapest place.|
|It was more funny to take a picture of this interaction than it was to see the woman with the barrel on her head.|
| I am more of a “land and figure it out when you get there” kind of guy. Liz needed her itinerary mapped out for at least the first day, just so she could get her bearings. This was fine for me, because she said she’d pay for the accommodations and I would pay for the food.
This place was pretty dope. Waterfront on the main beach, roof deck, pool, his and hers massaging shower heads, and AC that would drive a polar bear outside. I forget what it was called, but don’t ask me the price either, it was up there.
It was too expensive on Caye Caulker, but I would love to try it sometime soon.
|Be very afraid.
Right now, Scrumpy is my number two choice for my dog’s name right behind “Gino Toretta.”
|I pet some manta rays when we were here. Yeah, I totally did. I don’t have pictures of me petting the manta rays because we were stupid and didn’t buy an underwater camera when we were going out to snorkel, but they were available for half-a-gazillion dollars each in the supermarkets here.|
|All my East Coast playas put they hands up!|
|There were two trucks on the island, the rest of the people had golf carts. There was a golf cart rental place, and we saw a few horizontally gifted people using these two-seater Rascals.
The place was nice, very cool vibe, nice people for the most part, just very expensive. You could live here comfortably if you could figure out a way to telecommute and make $50K a year.
|Just don’t go here.
So Liz and I heard about this place from some people that had been here for a week. They said the food was good, so we decided to give it a shot.
I know, people are on island time. It’s a bit slower than Central America time, considerably slower than Southern US time and a lot slower than say, New York time. I’ll generally forgive someone on island time and let them slide a few minutes longer than when I would normally get antsy and start wondering where the food was.
There’s island time, and then there’s Marin’s Island time. I understand waiting outside a busy restaurant for a table. I understand that when you finally get a table at a busy restaurant, they might be in the midst of a rush and your food will come slowly. I understand that if there is something wrong with your food that if you ask to send it back, then there might be a long wait before you get the next one.
Well, there was one couple at the restaurant when we walked in and it took them forty-five minutes to deliver our breakfast. Then, when my fried jack was cold (and you need to buy one of these when you get to Belize. I don’t know why we don’t have fried jacks in America, they’re basically savory donuts), I sent it back, and a new one came out within a minute and a half!? I am more confused by the fried jack returning so fast than the forty-five minute wait, but I digress.
The food wasn’t that great, the portions were insufficient for the price, and the waitstaff was completely aloof.
|I learned how to make awesome pina coladas when I was down here. It is now my signature drink.|
|Enjoying life on the ocean in shorts underneath a thatched roof with some rum and a fine woman. It don’t get much better than this.|
|All my West Coast playas put they hands up!
I think that’s why people like Caribbean islands so much. Whether you’re a sunrise or sunset person, you get them both.
|The storeowner told us that this is the most photographed thing in Caye Caulker.
I believe him.
Why isn’t there a bar in every town called “Drinking Is Fun?”
|This is a picture taken at Gales Point – a largely forgettable stop in the journey (except for manatees and the copious amount of Belikin and Fried Jacks we had). We spent 40 minutes driving down this road with My backpack, Liz’s backpack/suitcase, and two people on the motorcycle, all together, probably 400 lbs on the Herc.
This road, let me tell you, it wasn’t so awful, as in washed out or rutty in a lot of places, but it was a constant washerboard for the first ten miles (yes, they do miles here, I was still thinking in kilometers, but it’s miles), a sand dune for the next ten, and a mix between the latter two and a rocky beach for the last ten. It took us an hour from the main road (BC to Belmopan) down to Gales Point. If this place hadn’t been so decrepit and beat down, we would have stayed for another day if only to avoid having to drive back so soon.
I think I figured out the dominoes. I didn’t figure out exactly when it was OK to slam the domino down onto the table in victory, though (I messed up the game pretty good more than once by doing this). By the end of maybe 20 rounds, I was no longer the worst domino player in Gales Point.
After we went by a place that ludicrously charged $80 USD for one night of lodging (and I mean, if you looked at this place, and then looked at four twenty-dollar bills, you’d sleep on the ground), We found a bed and breakfast of this woman called Precious or Heavenly or Fuzzy or some kind of silly Caribbean adjective name. She was very accommodating save for one thing.
She showed us one room at $15 that looked like an outhouse, then she showed us the master suite which was just three rooms and a bathroom on stilts with some rusty durable goods below it. It was $25. So we agreed that we’d pay the $25, and milliseconds after we agreed on the $25, she told us the water didn’t work because the town didn’t pay its water bill. I argued for a lower price and she looked at me incredulously as if I was some kind of mongoloid to not buy her bait-and-switch tactic and wouldn’t accept a reduction in price.
Liz’s response to this was “It’s fine, forget about it.” We got what she wanted (which was fine with me, since we stayed in places nicer than where I would have had to stay) for the rest of the trip.
|Liz and I played soccer with these kids for a good half-hour while hanging around the domino players and drinking Belikin. They were easily the cutest kids in Belize.
The reason we went to Gales Point was to see the manatees. I met up with a guy in Guatemala who had just been here and he recommended it to me. Now, I am pretty sure he wouldn’t have recommended it to me and Liz, but he recommended it to me.
The morning with the manatees was relaxing, but also a bit disappointing. Manatees are pretty docile creatures, but they’re also very shy. You’re not going to see a manatee shoot up out of the sea like a humpback or give us a thwack against the water with its fluke. Every couple of minutes, you’d see a nose (and maybe a midsection of manatee) surface and descend. It was nice, albeit a far cry from the stingray petting we’d done days before.
|There was a town council meeting when we arrived at our Bed and Breakfast, and we had just paid for a few hours with the kayak to go out and check out the manatees from one of the women who was in the council. I think her son was the curator of the bongo museum, and she told us to go visit, so we went up and played some bongoes for a bit.
A black guy and a white guy, both with pretty kickin’ dreads, showed us the way of the bongo. They went absolutely nuts on these things as Liz and I timidly began, but soon got into the island spirit and were whacking away with gusto. The white guy kind of ended up here. He was skinny as a rail (his wife easily being double his weight) with four kids.
For some reason, I don’t think he had his life planned out too well.
|The puppy. Every time I walked by the house, the puppy came out to greet me and we hung out for a bit.
Gentle. That was her name. Gentle’s cool spot. She made some mean fried jacks.
Liz and I drank A LOT today. We both had four beers hanging out around the domino game and playing with the kids, and then Gentle handed us the bill at the end of the night, and we were frickin’ flabbergasted. I think we had about fourteen beers each over a nine hour span.
But they were so good! If I saw Belikin Stout in the store, I would empty my bank account and the store shelf at the same time. It is a uniquely crafted stout that somehow works in the warm weather. The Belikin Beer tastes like Rolling Rock. The only time you’d order the beer would be to refresh your palate and have another Stout.
Moving along – There was another couple there and they had one of their friends from the area over (they were just married and this guy had taken them out on a boat tour of the manatee area that day) and he was drinking with us, and we were going to split his bill. The guy ended up drinking about $20 of beer and they left $5 and stuck us with the rest.
May you two deadbeats live happily ever after!
But seriously, I think this puppy might be my soul mate. Liz will laugh – I would love to see what kind of comment she’d leave here.
|This place was pretty frickin’ awesome.
We did all three things; cave tubing, zipline, and the Zorb.
You need to try the zorb. They should be coming to the states any time now.
It would have been a lot better with a cooler full of beer and about five more people. It sounds awesome in theory, but we were kind of bored with it since it was a bit monotonous, kind of dragged on at times, and was kinda cold. Our tour guide was pretty nice and quite knowledgeable, but if you’re here and just want the basic cave tube experience to say that you’ve done it and see the interesting parts of the cave, ask to start at the second closest put-in point. You won’t miss a thing.
There were a couple of mosquitoes in the room, and I didn’t want any part of it, so I sprayed my face with the OFF! before going to sleep. Liz decided not to and paid the price, the next morning, you could tell the mosquitoes had a field day with her.
I dropped her off at the airport later that day and headed to Mexico.
This place is an utter crap hole.
I was stuck here for four days trying to sell my bike. The only thing remotely acceptable about this place is the amount of Belikin Stout available for purchase and the potential for someone with some money and vision to come through with a bulldozer and make this beautiful geographical location worth a damn.
I would be telling this story until the day that I died, and I would ask for the video copy for proof if someone caught me.