We had friends over from England ” The Realmy’s” on a repeat visit in January. To prepare for this I didn’t drink for a whole month …YES a whole month just to give my liver and stomach a well deserved rest , before the alcohol onslaught. H decided not to partake in abstinence as she said she didn’t want to mess about with her normal diet and keep her body in ” equilibrium ” :) We met then in Playa del Carmen and jumped over on the ferry to Cozumel . I had checked the port authority web site which showed 15 cruise ships docked there on our arrival. I don’t like hoards of people at the best of times, but we were going there to spend time with friends so I was open minded about what we would find BUT feared the worse. We boarded the crammed ferry and made the 45 min crossing sat across from a nice family. They spoke Spanish and a little English so I conversed with them for a while and then asked the fatal question” de donde eras ” We are from Argentina they replied , and I’m from the UK . How are the Malvina’s these days I quipped , to nervous smiles all round … That was the end of that conversation :) . Our friends Bob and Timberlake had booked a lovely place for us all just outside the centre in a quiet residential area with private pool ..very swish .. we headed into the centre to find it not busy at all..and it’s peak season .. the cruise ships don’t have any impact on the place they go on excursions and then head back to the boat if anything Cozumel is dead at night with a few bars and some nice places to eat . The next day we went to a place on the beach ..called ” Dirty Sanchez” or something anyway the driver of the cab new exactly where to take us and we had a great day on the beach and then drinks and another nice meal at night. I would definitely go back to Cozumel and avoid the chaos of Playa del Carmen. We then rode the bus down to belize and got a taxi from the bus station in Chetumal just to make it faster crossing the border. Because Bob and Timberlake had packed for a 6 month holiday :) all the bags would fit in the small taxi that pulled up ..but they said NO PROBLEM we can take two ..I said two cars is too expensive but we agreed 25 us dollars for all of us . The two taxi’s then set off at high speed racing through the streets of Chetumal. Mine and H’s taxi was a pile of shit the steering rack had gone no shocks and the guy had to jerk the wheel frantically to change lanes , it was also a standard shift gear box. it was not until we got to the border that h said no wonder we were all over the road the guys only has one arm so he had to shift and steer at the same time ..it was like whacky races . We get to the border sort the passports out and then go to leave the guy asks for 25 us dollars and Timberlake said she had paid him .. he said no I want 25 more for your taxi. Well I just blew a gasket .. I told him not to f3ck me around as I wasn’t in the mood when he insisted I shouted for the police ..the guy said no we don’t need to do that I continued shout for the police until he got in his taxi and ” Did one ” :) .The next day we flew to San Pedro as Maya air had a deal on and we stayed at the Royal Caribbean resort 2 miles out of town a perfect location and cheap taxi ride back into town for eating and drinking.
When we had sobered up and were safely back in Corozal we took the river boat tour to Lamanai from Orangewalk which was pretty cool with a guide and lunch thrown in. The big change is that they have built a wooden stair case around the back of the Castillo so you can’t climb up the front anymore , but they still allow you to go to the top. The holwer monkeys made an appearance and I got to feed a large spider monkey at the side of the river on the way back.
At Christmas we drove through Corozal at night and saw the Christmas lights in the park so decided to pop back in the night after to take a photo. Big mistake there was a parade on and the park was packed so the panoramic photo I was supposed to get got cut down to this small snap shot as the throngs of people were milling about all over the place . I have to say for a 3rd world country the Christmas lights in Corozal put most other places to shame.
Ground hog day approached and I decided to buy H a painting for her birthday …yes …AGAIN ..and she was pleased to open an original of a Tiger shark by the world famous ” Paul Sandilands .. it helps if your fishing buddy has hidden talents ..he can paint ..but not sure about the fishing :) H is a shark fanatic …. the restaurants here don’t serve shark fin soup ..so I got her this instead :)
Corozal had it’s first ever open class kayak race and I was encouraged to enter just for fun. I talked to some guys who were much younger (some half my age) who were keen to beat me. I explained to them if it were a proper completion I would be in the seniors class , but I had experience on my side and they had brawn youth and vigour on theirs. I had to repair my kayak on the morning of the race by re-gluing the plexiglass bottom back in and wasn’t sure if it would hold. Anyway I was hoping for rough conditions on the bay as the other guys would have trouble steering they were flat water paddlers at best. The morning of the race the bay was flat calm ,but just before the start the wind picked up and there was a slight chop on the water. The route was a 3/4 mile sprint to the thunderbolt pier touch with a paddle then back to the Jam rock bar. The race started and I eased in behind the leader riding in his wake , I felt comfortable and broke free and touched in first place and made the turn for home .With just metres from home there were just two of us side by side the pace quickening with every stroke with 2o metres to go I was ready to start the sprint ….. When like a torpedo from the saw 3 kids in a canoe came hurtling towards me I shouted go right and they turned left ramming me broadside. By the time I pushed them off and started to paddle again I was 5 metres down with 20 to go I dug deep but it was futile and finished 1/2 metre behind the winner. This is an open kayak race in Belize, no appeals ,stewards enquiries no nothing ,strictly first past the post. The guy in 3rd place came up to me and said I saw what happened ..he smiled and said …” My friend that’s racing anything can happen” and he was right and I got to hang the winners medal around the neck of the guy half my age and was pleased to see his big smile …. in the words of Scooby Doo … If it hadn’t have been for those dam kids……….. :) :) :)