Weekends

31 08 2010

I wanted to start August off on the right foot and so I found myself heading down to the idyllic Placencia peninsula for an epic dive trip to the remote and pristine Glover’s Reef, one of Belize’s three coral atolls.

In true Marina form, the trip down south was anything but smooth sailing.  I barely made my 3:45 bus, despite giving my cabbie, Gomez, more than ample notice. He showed up at my house at 3:37 and by the time we got to the station, the bus was just pulling out.  Nothing a frantic sprint, flailing arms and high-pitched screaming couldn’t solve.  {Note: in Belize when relying on a ride or a cab for something time sensitive, such as a flight or bus, NEVER disclose the true time of departure unless you wish to be left convulsing with stress).

The express bus is relative luxury compared to its chicken counterpart, boasting padded seating AND air conditioning.  While air conditioning appears to be a blessing for the first half hour or so (especially after a 100 m sprint with scuba gear), its unregulated blasting soon turned the bus into a deep freeze.  Windows fog up with condensation, involuntary shivers set in and brain activity slows to a minimum.  And just when I thought I had said good-bye to goosebumps for 6 months…

Four hours later, after narrowly escaping hypothermia, I was deposited at the side of the highway in a small Creole village called Independence.  I was hoping to catch the last water taxi to Placencia, which, according to the “internet” left at 7:30 pm but according to “reality” left at 5:30 pm.  Time was not on my side.

After wandering around aimlessly for a while I happened to stumble across the owner of the water taxi fleet, who told me her brother could take me across IF we could find him. I managed to scrap together quite a search party, including several cousins, nephews, nieces and a litter of grandchildren, in order to locate said brother (who was drinking rice wine in the bushes it turns out…it WAS a Friday night mind you).  Tuna (his nickname) and I piled into his tiny dugout boat with what seemed like a handheld fan as an engine and were off like a herd of turtles.

This boat ride is actually one of my most favourite memories of Belize so far. The sun had long set and a beautiful blanket of stars was dimly lighting the night sky as we cruised through a maze of mangroves.  You could just make out the silhouettes of bats and birds flying overhead.  Tuna and I made light conversation as we passed a water bottle full of rice wine back and forth.  After refusing several marriage proposals, he was gracious enough to gift me with not one, but two, seedless limes he happened to be carrying in his pocket.  Amazing.

Finally, nearly 5 hours after setting out from Belize City, I arrived in Placencia. Instead of resting my weary head, I headed straight to the bar in search of my friends Armeid and Anne-Marie.  Sure enough, I had no problem finding them – sitting in the corner of the bar downing One Barrel rum like champions. The rest of the evening is quite a blur, though I do recall hitting the dance floor like a hurricane in a valiant effort to attempt “punta”.   Hmm how to describe punta.. according to the Urban Dictionary, punta is a “rude term for the buttocks, usually female” but it is also a traditional Garifuna dance.  Fuse these two definitions and you pretty much get the idea: a whole lotta ass shaking.  I felt like I was auditioning for a rap video. [It wasn’t pretty].

Saturday, not surprisingly, was a total write off.  The entire day consisted of eating, hydrating and some serious couch lounging.  The most activity was an epic Trivial Pursuit battle (which I don’t recommend playing hungover…).

I suppose the point of this blog, in sum, is to say I like weekends.

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