Monday, March 17, 2008

Spring Break - Sunday

Sunday, April 9th - day 3

This morning we woke up sad because we knew we had to leave the island. We went to breakfast where we had yet another delicious cup of iced coffee and people-watched. We packed up our belongings, checked out, and then half rolled, half-dragged our suitcases further along the beach to the dock from where our boat was departing. The boat was running late and we had to wait for about half an hour in the sun. Unfortunately, the wonderful breeze that had served as air conditioning for the past two days had stopped, and this was probably the hottest day of our vacation. We finally embarked and said goodbye to Caye Caulker. (I'm not sure if it was mentioned in a previous post, but the official motto of Caye Caulker is "Go Slow." Isn't that the best thing you've ever heard?).

After a forty-minute ride, we arrived in Belize City, and were immediately whisked into a cab to get to the airport where we had arranged to rent a car (poor planning on my part). We got there earlier than we had arranged, so they did not have a car for us. (Again, poor planning on my part). However, the guy talked to another rental car dude next door, and we ended up getting a car from another company called Jubaru. So we got our little Suzuki Jeep and off we went towards San Ignacio, all the way on the other side of Belize (about 75 miles), except that we ended up back in Belize City and could not find our way out. We stopped and asked for directions at a (thankfully) very modern gas station that also carried Diet Coke (Coca Light). The woman told us to go this way and that way and when we come to a roundabout with a statue of a hand with a golden leaf in the middle, turn right. Somehow (luck), we did find this statue, and did find our way out of this “city.” It took us about 2 hours to get to San Ignacio. We could’ve made better time except for two things: random, stealth speed bumps and police checkpoints. Both were scary at first, but we got used to them. Oh, and it was also interesting to have no (or little) idea how fast we were going: the speed signs were posted in miles per hour, but our car was in kilometers per hour. Seeing as though we didn’t have a calculator to do the necessary computations (and we also didn’t know the ratio…we do now: it’s 1 km = .62 miles), we just went as fast as what felt right.

We approached San Ignacio, but really had no idea where our hotel was. I remembered that it overlooked San Ignacio, so we pretty much turned onto roads that looked like they were going up. There were also signs all over for Cahal Pech Village Resort, our hotel, but they didn’t give any mileage (or kilometerage) or have any arrows or directions of any kind! Miraculously we found it without getting lost! So we get to the hotel’s “driveway” that pretty much went up a mountain was totally unpaved. I’m not talking American unpaved, which would mean dirt or gravel. I’m talking like the moon: craters, rocks as big as my head, and, of course, stealth speed bumps.

Okay, so we checked in and the resort was beautiful: A gorgeous pool, lovely open-air restaurant and bar, incredible grounds with flowers and flowering trees everywhere. We’re led to our cabana which had its own screened-in porch with chairs and a hammock, and then to our room, which had a bed, desk, bathroom, and a Konka brand t.v. Konka somehow struck us as hilarious, and we laughed about it the entire rest of the trip (and a little even now). It was about then that we discovered geckos. Geckos are everywhere on the mainland. Wherever there are people there are geckos! Did you know that geckos make a weird clicking sound? We didn’t know for days what the hell the clicks were and they ended up being the geckos. Now, I was totally freaked out that there were geckos in our front porch (none in our room, thankfully), but I realized that they totally leave people alone, and I now kinda miss seeing them crawl around the walls and ceilings.

That night, we wanted to go to a restaurant, Erva’s, recommended by our guidebook. We went to the front desk to ask for help in getting directions. The extremely nice woman drew us a very complicated map (San Ignacio is not the most well-planned city). After some trial and error, we got there and it was closed. We returned to the hotel and ate a very mediocre meal at the restaurant followed by some delicious sour sap ice cream. Yes, there is a fruit called sour sap. We went to bed listening to the hooting of an owl, and woke up to the hooting of the same owl. This was to pass for the next five nights. And, no, we never did get used to it!

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