Saturday, April 2, 2016

San Pedro - Ambergais Caye

In a Caribbean town of 14,000 where the most popular mode of transportation are Golf Carts things can not get over the top stressful. Road rage? Well when you can walk faster than the electric mode of transport you should not expect to much intensity between gold carts. However, texting and golf carting lives and breathes in San Pedro. Renting a golf cart for the day never crossed my mind. I just really enjoyed watching everyone cruise around with big smiles on their faces and beer in their hands. 

If you get road rage here you have other serious issues to be resolved
 Here is a brief recap of my time in San Pedro. I am proud to say I accomplish my personal goal of "sloth" . A man needs goals.

Glorious Papusas: The world now stops when I see a Pupusaria. On the main street of San Pedro I found one and they were every bit as good as anything I had in El Salvador. It helped that the old gal on the grill was from San Salvador. I was spoiled with my .30 papusas but at $1.75 these were just fine...all 5 off them. I have been there a few times and will top off my time here tonight with a final visit.

Crazy Canucks Sports Bar: Boasting real Buffalo Style chicken wings I had to make the effort to get here. Well Crazy Canuck Sports Bar, FAIL! Let's be clear they were decent and for someone who really does not know what real Buffalo Wings are then sure, they will do. Hot buffalo style wings do not have chili flakes in the sauce. Personally, I grew up 30 km from Buffalo and have had the gastronomic pleasure of The Willow, The Anchor Bar, Honeys, The Stuffed Mushroom, Yanks, Mr Bs, Duffs and so many more. I can be classified as a " proud chicken wing snob". I was happy to devour them as a treat with an 11:00 am beer, well 2 beer but left a bit wanting. Now all I can think of is getting back to Canada and gorging. That will come in due time.

We need to teach you about Chicken Wings, but A for effort

Sunsets: What is it about sunsets. Given the opportunity everyone will stop, find a good sunset and enjoy it. San Pedro is no different. I was staying at the Sandbar Hotel which faces East and it is a long 10 minute walk to the other side of the island that overlooks the lagoon and faces west.  It is around this time that the locals bring out their gear and fish for red snapper off the dock with their family in tow. I had the feeling that no catch means no supper, but the one guy I spoke with caught two fairly quickly and was just going to catch a third. I like that he limited himself and would come back the next night. Tomorrow I am getting up early to watch the sun rise, well I say that now. Mobile devices need not apply.

Sunsets are mesmerizing where ever you are

The Truck Stop: Take a barren parcel of land. Clean it up. Place 4 shipping containers there, clean them and convert them to food trucks and a bar. Build a very cool boardwalk and patio to the ocean. Have pig roasts, movie nights and various other fun great food and you have a winner. I walked to the The Truck Stop in 45 minutes but having been offered rides going both directions. Golf Cart drivers are the best. There is an Asian truck (naturally), Colombian, an ice cream and a full bar. My first trip I had the chicken stir fry. Today I had flat noodle shrimp stir fry with side of veggie spring rolls with sweet chili dipping sauce. I followed that up with a trip to the ice cream truck for one scoop of Maple Bacon Heaven. Seriously, there were real bits of bacon in the ice cream.

The Truck Stop. A great idea with really good food. Golf cart parking optional

Chicken Drop Bingo: Wahoos Lounge. I do not even know where to start with this but it was freaking awesome! You have a pen with 100 squares in it numbered 1 to 100 naturally. The squares are about 8 x 8 each and lined in a 10 x 10 grid. So the pen is how big? That's right, 6.66 feet x 6.66 feet that  is enclosed by a 1 foot high cotton type fence.
Enter the Chicken. He runs around and you scream and shout hoping he poops. Yup, you are cheering for a chicken to poop on your square. If he does, you win $100. Thank god for alcohol.

** As an aside. The first game was won by a young girl, maybe 15. She was all excited and having fun and everyone was cheering for her. Her parents? Arguing because neither one of them got the victory on video. Young girl just started crying, parents kept fighting. What is wrong with the need to have recorded proof of everything? Why could they just not have a fantastic moment.?
** As an aside two. There is a top prize of $1000 Belizian in game 4. You pay $10 for that game instead of the normal $1. Suddenly as if like magic quite a few of the local "boys" showed up, hung around and were chatting trying to make friends with way over the top "heeyy man, how ya doing man". Just a quickly sowing up were a few of the local cops offering a free escort back (on a golf cart of course) to your hotel if you won.

The Chicken Drop playground.

The Gator Hunt: ACES / American Crocodile Education Sanctuary is an NGO that works to preserve and protect the local gator population. Our guide "Chris that Gator man" launched our night tour from the Office Bar and Grill on the Lea side of the Island.  Chris is from England, not a hotbed for "gator activity". However he came to Belize 8 years ago and found his life's passion.

Ten of us launched with Chris and his first mate. We were receive a great education on gators, croc's and caiman. They were using a large flash light searching under the mangroves for the tell tale sign..the red glow of the gators eyes. Chris was talking but suddenly says, "we have one". We were 20 metres from the mangrove and sure as shit looking down the light line you could see the "devil eyes.  We slowly motor over and at 25 metres from the short Chris decides to jump out. He is going to catch this gator.

The water is about chest deep and he wades to the under brush. After 10 minutes he comes back to the the boat and to our surprise, even though we were expecting it, he is holding a 3 foot American Alligator. He proceeds to educate us on the little guy who did not look to pleased at being the centre of attention. After a bit he was released to reduce his stress and we were off to find another, and we did. 

These were juvenile gators but we were assured that there are large 3 to 4 metre adults in the mangroves. So you know, the mangroves are along the shores where people have built their homes. ACES is trying to protect habitat through education and awareness but were were told with more than a twinge of sadness, that like so many natural things in the world today people pretend to care, as long as it does not "affect their lives or their new homes", then the gators are a nuisance. 

Keep the passion Chris

Wandering The Streets/ Reading Boods: There is not much to downtown San Pedro. There are shops, restaurants, bars, official buildings, boats launches, an airport and water. Lots and lots of water. I found that after morning coffee I walk the 10 feet to the beach, grab a chair, pull our my book and away I . I finished The Catcher in the Rye fairly quickly and found myself staring a limiting book swap. I settled on a Tom Clancy novel The Teeth of The Tiger from 2003. It follows in the tradition of Jack Ryan but it is his son, Jack Ryan Jr. I really am having a hard time finding my reading rythem with this book, but once I open I book I have to finish it, just one of those things with me.

After reading I needed to stretch so walking around became my things. Maybe stop somewhere for lunch, a beer or both. Then back to my bench or to get out of the blazing mid day sun, a shade covered hammock. I have re-discovered my passion for reading. It was always there but 30 minutes here, 30 minutes there. I lost the ability to sit for 3 hours, maybe 4 devouring a book. Hopefully this rediscovered passion remains

My morning book reading view
My time in Belize ends tomorrow. It has been an interesting couple of weeks. Mayan ruins, jungle treks, exploring caves, swimming with sharks, sandy beaches, warm breezes and long day of doing nothing. This country has so more to offer and I encourage anyone to come here. It is not expensive if you manage yourself properly. You will find warm people, good food, solid transportation, stable currency and a big old play ground.

Guatemala and Flores/Tikal are up next. I adore Guatemala and I am looking forward to returning.

No comments: