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I'll come here from time to time and post my random stories, thoughts, and observations. This is my place for stuff that I feel might be too... "outside" for the forums or for more personal shit that I don't want just any YaHookan seeing. If you've stumbled across this blog, feel free to read away! Comment if the spirit moves you, just try to keep it pleasant.
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Belize Trip 2007

Posted 08-17-2011 at 08:52 PM by SmokeaJoint

Belize 2007 Trip

Day 1:

I arrived at the Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City. I went through customs without a hitch. First thing I noticed upon arrival in the country was the peopleís accent. The stewardess got on the plane and said in a lovely Carribean Calypso accent ďWelcome to Belize. We here at Continental Airlines thank you for your patronage today and we hope you enjoy your stay in our beautiful country.Ē Or something like that. This was almost 5 years ago, after all.

Anyways, I met up with the bus that was going to take me to The Banana Bank lodge in the capitol city of Belmopan. We got my baggage loaded up and set off for the 2 hour drive inland to the lodge. Now, its worth noting that Belize is HOT!!! Not like middle of the desert, feels like youíre in a frigging oven kind of heat. No, it was 90+ degrees outside and the humidity was 80% or more. It was kinda like being in a pot of boiling water and steam, but a little bit easier to breathe. I began to pour sweat instantly.

The rest of the day was quite uneventful. I got to The Banana Bank, unpacked my bags and got settled in. I took a walk around the lodge grounds to get a better feel for this beautiful place I found myself. The Banana Bank boasts quite the array of exotic creatures, stuff we Americans only get to see in zoos and on Tv. First and loudest was the parrots. They ha everything from a pair of African Greys to those classic multicolored parrots you see in any rainforest themed area. They had some gorgeous pale cream and yellow crested cockatoos that said a birdy ď Hello!Ē to anyone walking by. The list goes on and on, point is I had never seen so many colorful exotic birds in one place before. They had a jaguar in a cage near the dining area, but it slept most of the time and really wasnít as interesting as one would assume a giant carnivorous cat would be. Cool looking though. Finally, there were the spider monkeys. They had two, Phestus and Chico. Chico was a bit of a star I have to admit. Anyone whos familiar with the popular MTV show Wildboys might recognize Chico from one of their episodes. Steve-O has Chico sitting on his shoulder, and he gives the classic disclaimer ďNo animals were harmed in the making of this television show.Ē And then Chico slaps him in the face! Classic Chico lol. The monkey also loved being fed, he would walk up to the limit of his chain (he was on the chain because he sometimes has a biting problem) and hold out his tiny hand for a piece of whatever youíre eating as you walk past. He was hard to say no to.

I had dinner with everyone else staying at The Banana Bank, then this pretty blonde from New York named Marieke (pronounced Marie-ka) took out her acoustic guitar and we all enjoyed a nice impromptu concert. The girl could play just about anything, I swear! After a few hours I wandered off to bed.

Days 2-7

For this time span, I spent most of my time exploring the country. I went to some amazing outdoor markets and had some of the freshest coconuts, plantains, papayas, mangos, and pineapples that Iíve ever tasted. I bought some crazy cool shirts and bootleg Bob Marley CDís from a few stalls, and then I met Jorge. Jorge was a wood carver. He travelled into the Belizian rainforest almost daily to gather some of the rarest hardwood in the world. He only made his carvings out of the exquisitely dark grained Zeracote wood. The work he made was breath taking! He had carved sharks, carved hummingbirds, dolphins, monkeys, boats with masts and sails and rigging and what have you, he carved totems and Mayan gods even. I saw similar artistry in art shops all over Belize selling for $200USD a piece and more! I bought a 2ft long shark and a humming bird from him for $50USD. He told me that everything he made was worked with only 3 tools: His machete, his chisel, and sandpaper. Iíve yet to see higher quality artwork anywhere since.

I met soooo many amazing people during this period, itís a shame that I canít remember them all. One thing that struck me was, for a country so poor, the people seemed so happy! They were able to really enjoy the simple pleasures in life: Good food, beautiful weather, and great music/conversation.

Day 8-9:

I met a man named Ricardo earlier in the trip, and he told me of how he owned a string of small islands off the coast of Belize City and he also ran a scuba diving tour for anyone who was interested. As a newly certified diver, I was super excited to really get onto some reef as all my dive training was done in a water filled cave in New Mexico. During the past few days I had gotten to know Ms. Marieke a little bit better, and I invited her to come along and enjoy a few days out in the Carribean Sea with me (like the gentleman that I am, I payed her way too). She acquiesced and we caught another bus back to Belize City to meet up with Ricardo at the docks.

We got on his boat and took off into the BLUEST, CLEAREST ocean I had ever seen. You know those blue waters you see in some movies that you swear has to be photoshopped? No, its really that beautiful blue-green color, jewel-like in intensity. We got to Ricardoís main island, the one he kept his cabins on. Island may be the wrong word for this site. It was essentially a very shallow area of the sea, low tide there was maybe a foot of water over the sands at the highest point. High tide and there was a decent 5-6 feet of water instead. There were mangrove trees on one side of the ĎIslandí and on the other side, Ricardo had built a series of raised docks that he put some cabins and a kitchen on top of. This is where we slept and rested when we werenít in the water.

Now, for the diving! After me and Marieke got unpacked, we got all our dive gear together (which Ricardo rented to us for a nominal fee) and got back onto the boat to see what there was to see. The first reef Ricardo dropped us at was amazing. He stopped the boat in about 35, 40 feet of water, no land in sight. I was looking around for our dive site, and Ricardo told me we were right on top of it. I looked down and OH MY GOD!!! The water was clear as glass and I swear the reef heads looked like they were close enough to touch! Me and Marieke got into the water (Ricardo stayed in his boat at all times when we were diving) and began exploring. I had never seen so much color in one place before! There was delicate pink-purple fan coral, red brain and fire coral, soooo many hues of yellow and orange and green on every formation. And then there were the fish! Oh, too many to describe! Off the top I remember seeing large Queen Trigger fish with their all black bodies and metallic blue highlights (super cool looking fish!), I saw a few species of colorful Wrasse, I was a nurse shark and a sea skate, I saw jellyfish, too many colorful tropical fish to hope to name, and lastly I saw a Leatherback Sea Turtle. A rare enough sight indeed, to be sure!

During our dives we picked up as many large conch as we could find, and Ricardo got some nice fresh caught fish and shrimps too add to our conch. Marieke and I had the most amazing dinner of fresh sea food and gayo pinto (black beans and rice, a Belizian staple food) with a couple beers to finish it off. Yeah, drinking age in Belize is 18, woot! After the meal she played some guitar, I sang along when I knew the words and we made our way to bed. She really was a beautiful sweet girl lol. We had sex both in the cabin and out under the stars, and afterwards we laid on the dock, trying to count all the stars. We could see everything since there was essentially zero light pollution. It was breathtaking!

We woke up that next morning and had the typical strong Belizian coffee with raw sugar and sweetened milk, I canít remember what we ate for breakfast so it must have been something pretty simple like oatmeal or similar. Oh, wait! I remember. Fresh fruit, like usual for that trip. We spent some more time out on the reef exploring and having the best time. Around 2, Ricardo boated us to this tiny white sand island where there was a little party kicking off. To paint the mental picture, imagine a perfect oval shaped island, the whitest fine grained sand covering it from shore to shore. On one end, there was some palm trees with hammocks tied to them, nice little shady rest area. On the other side was a stereo and the bar. Iím guessing the island was maybe 50 feet across and 30 feet wide, bit I canít be too sure. On all sides and as far as the eye can see was that same gorgeous blue-green Caribbean sea. It was perfect, for lack of a stronger word. There was even some reef diving to be had if you swam just a little away from shore. Marieke and I joined the party, and interesting mix of tourists and young locals, all having a good time.

Day 10/ Final Day:

We stayed on that island that night, and in the morning Ricardo left and came back with our bags. The man was quite trustworthy, nothing was missing, not even cash or jewelry. He took us back to Belize City and I caught my plane back home. Marieke planned on staying for a few more days, so we said our goodbyes, exchanged numbers and addresses, and I left. I still talk to her now and again. Anyways, I got through Customs in Houston without a hitch (even though I brought back a baggie of sand and my wood carvings, which I think might have been frowned upon) but I left my stupid camera on the plane. They never found it, too bad because it was a waterproof camera and I got some amazing photos of the reefs and the fish.

So thatís my story! Such an amazing experience.
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