Saturday, January 16, 2010

Paradise day two

We slept a lot on this trip. a) we were super relaxed and that made us tired, b) we were in a pretty remote location so there wasn't always tons to do and c) we had some icky weather days.

Our first full day after arrival in Ambergris Caye was one of those icky days. It wasn't awful, but it was very overcast and pretty windy. Not a good day for the beach.

Fortunately, our resort had plenty of fun toys you could check out (kayaks, paddleboats, sports equipment, sail boats, all sorts of stuff!) We thought it'd be fun to go for a bike ride on the beach. The cute boy in charge of equipment check out, Henry, reminded me so much of A.J. I'm not sure why - I think it's because he seemed really shy in front of new people, but you could tell he's really not. And just the way he talked reminded me of A.J. It was very endearing.

Ah, I digress. Anyway, we asked Henry how long it would take to bike to town. He looked at us quite doubtfully and said definitely over an hour, maybe an hour and a half. Turns out, there's not really a road that leads from town out to Mata Chica. There's a dirt path, but he said it was so marked with pot holes it wasn't really a viable option. He recommended just following the beach all the way down. Without much else to do and curious to check out the island, we decided to go for it.

The coast line was really beautiful. The water was so clear and cool that was stopped often to put our feet in and check out the various crabs and fish swimming around. We saw very few people in our hour plus journey. Some of the other resorts we passed looked completely deserted! It was weird.

Once we got to the foot bridge (which turned out to be a toll bridge, thanks for the heads up on that one, Henry), there was a road that we could get on. But like he had warned us, it seemed more like a collection of potholes connected by patches of mud. As we rode down the "main street" of San Pedro, I kept looking at the dilapidated shacks crowded right up on top of each other lining the street. Most of them didn't look inhabitable, but I'm fairly certain many housed more than one sizable family. The contrast from the pristine luxury of the north end of the island to the main town could not helped but be noticed. It felt like another world.

In town, we ate lunch at a place called Elvi's kitchen that Monica from work (who has been to Belize several times) recommended. It was super cheap (especially compared to every where else we'd been so far!) and incredibly tasty. I mean, we only got a burrito and quesadillas, but some how they still felt gourmet.

Then we kind of wandered around the town, looking at the different shops, walking along the beach watching the various tour ships going in and out. It was slow-paced and lazy and wonderful.

We originally told the resort that we'd take their complimentary shuttle back home. The small motor boat (the same one that picked us up) didn't have a regular schedule. It only made trips to and from the town to shuttle guests as they arrived and departed and to transport hotel employees. Almost every day, though, there's a final boat of the night that departs the town at 6:30 p.m. to bring the overnight security guards up. We planned to catch that boat back, but by 4 p.m. we felt like we'd sufficiently wandered and were ready to go home. So we decided to ride back!

We took our time riding back, stopping often to splash in the water as the tide went out. After biking for three hours, often in pretty soft sand, my butt was hurting like none other by the time we got home. But it we had a blast, so it pretty much made the day.

Not wanting to eat at the hotel again, we went to the front desk to ask if there were any other restaurants nearby. The hostess, Anita, recommended a restaurant called Portofino even farther north on the island. She even called their complimentary boat to come pick us up. Let me tell you, the service at this place was amazing.

Portofino was a beautiful, beautiful restaurant. It's pretty much an oversized tree house. Very romantic. And surprisingly few people were there! We felt like we had the place to ourselves. We shared snapper, grouper, and crab and all of them were so succulent and delicious I couldn't stop eating even after I was full. That still didn't stop us from getting the frozen key lime pie for dessert. It made me thankful for the three hour bike ride.

And home again. A beautiful end, to a wonderful day.

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