Sunday, September 29, 2013

Enjoying San Pedro before I leave

Yesterday was my last day off before I leave the island tomorrow- so I made sure to hit up a few of my favorite bars with some good people..... after watching a few minutes of this baptism in the sea:


I felt kind of bad for them because there has been SO MUCH garbage floating around lately- but they didn't seem to mind. 


Our first stop was the Barrel Bar because, well, I just love it there (as you probably already know from previous posts) but we spent the majority of our time at our second stop- Jolly Rogers.

              The view from our table

              MY view, at the table

        The crew- Eric, Kaine, Cori

Yesterday was Cori's 4 year anniversary in Belize- so Steve and Claire (the owners of Jolly Rogers) hooked us up with some sushi, and some delicious, sticky, nutty, "special" fudge:

                          So good

                         SO good

I had been napping on this table, but I woke right the hell up for a bite of the fudge. Yum.

We left Jolly Rogers after a few hours and headed north for one last stop - at the Palapa Bar, where we stuffed our faces with pulled pork sandwiches and onion rings, and, of course, some Cherry Bombs (cherries soaked in Bacardi 151) 

I don't have any pictures from this portion of the night because I was just trying to concentrate on staying awake and upright- which I totally managed to do! 
I also managed to not lose my flops, which is something I do pretty often.

Even though I'm itching to get off of the island for a few weeks, days like yesterday remind me about why I'm coming back - sunshine, good bars, good people, and the Caribbean Sea- which I never get tired of looking at. 

I'll try to post this week from Playa del Carmen- my first stop as I make my way back home. 
Let me know if there's anywhere that I NEED to visit while I'm there- it's my first time :)


Monday, September 23, 2013

"This, too, shall pass"

I had a reader of mine reach out to me because she could tell, from the tone of my posts in the past 9 or 10 months, that I'd been feeling kind of bummed out. 

Other people have asked why I don't post as much as I used to and/or encouraged me to get back into it.

I felt totally.... comforted, I guess, that so many people- so many strangers, would offer such kindness and support- I appreciate it more than you know.

That being said, and without giving out all kinds of personal information, I just want to share a few things that I'm (finally) looking forward to :)

- Getting off the island for a few weeks.
Seriously, one of the reasons I don't post as much as I used to is because- even though I love San Pedro and think it's an excellent place to spend a vacation, I find it a little bit boring to live here for months at a time, and I'm super stoked that I'll be back in the States for a few weeks.

- Visiting Playa del Carmen
I've never been to friggin Mexico! Well, I went once, for, like, an hour, but that doesn't count. 
I'll be spending three nights in Playa on my way back to the States, and, possibly, two nights in Tulum on my way back to Belize 

- Seeing family and friends
Well, duh- it's been a year and a half since I've seen almost everyone- I just need to see some old, familiar faces and get some hugs and I'll feel better instantly 

- Food
Moms homemade lasagna, Philly cheesesteaks, sushi any day of the week...

- Deciduous trees
East coast fall foliage. Just gorgeous. 

- The new job
I don't start training until November- but I'm super, ridiculously excited to be starting a new job.... on a BOAT! 

Well I think that's most of it- and it's plenty to help get me through the rest of this (mostly) horrible year :)

It's weird to me to write a post that doesn't include any pictures.... So I'm throwing in a few, random, pretty ones that I've taken recently....






Friday, September 20, 2013

Being too nice.... A curse I have on me

Of course this would happen to me...

I'm sitting at Lily's, by myself, waiting for breakfast, when an old man sits down at the table next to me.

I say, "Good morning," and he asks where I'm from, how long I've been in Belize- all the basics.

He invites me to join him at his table to eat with him, and I, being a sucker for lonely looking old people, accept and move over to chat with him.

He told me that he's from Belize City and he's just in San Pedro for the day doing business. He also told me that he started a manufacturing company back in 1951 when he was 17 years old. 
(If I've done the math correctly, that makes him about 79)

I was enjoying his company- I asked him how he learned how to make bleach (one of the products he manufactures) and he told me about what San Pedro was like in the 50s and about how his youngest son worries about him going out to The Tavern at night. 
He was very shakey and, at one point, I had to stop myself from offering to feed him.

He asked me for my phone number- saying that it was nice to have someone to talk to and that he'd enjoy having breakfast with me again sometime.

No problem- I always give my number to people because I know I'm probably not going to answer the phone, anyway.

When we finished breakfast, I asked the waiter for my bill, and my new friend went inside to pay for his- and when he came back out he told me that he had paid for mine, too.

He then told me that he had a taxi waiting for him to run him on his errands, and would drop me off at home since I had a big, stuffed backpack with me. (Laundry)

When we got to the taxi, I got in the back and he got in next to me.
While we were driving, he put his hand on my leg and told me, "Yes, Carrie, I will be your friend."

I picked up his hand, gave it a friendly little squeeze, and then placed it back onto his own leg and just said, "ok.... thank you."

When we got to my stop, he held my hand for a brief moment before opening the door and told me he'll call me when he's finished doing busuness and "might stop to see me" before he leaves the island.

Man... I was just being nice to the old guy and then he had to go and get a little creepy on me. 
I was looking at him as a surrogate grandfather to tell me stories about the old days, not as a potential sugar daddy.

Another breakfast buddy had to bite the dust. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

An amazing night in the jungle

If you've been following my blog for a while, then you know how much I love Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge.

I've only been there a few times - once was to meet and have lunch with Ian, once was to just bum around at his pool, once was to do a cave tubing tour with my sister, and the last time was to pick up some goats for the farm that I was living on.

This time, though, I got to spend the night in one of their sweeeeet Jungle Suites, soak in the hot tub in the rain, and try more of their amazing food.

leading up to the lodge

it just blends right into the jungle
(that sun glare doesnt help much, either)

the dining hall

nice river and pool view


hmmm, a bit blurry, but you get the idea - 
the trail to my suite

it's about to get really good....

everyone loves a good hammock to relax on

two hammocks are even better

All of the suites and bungalows have beautiful murals -

and the artist painted a cute little self-portrait as a signature on all of them

so much space - and all you see out of the screened windows is JUNGLE.

an outdoor shower - possibly my favorite thing ever

getting naked with nature.
awesome

the indoor bathroom isn't too shabby, either

I also have to say that they have some of THE most comfortable beds in Belize - maybe it's because I usually stay in hotels that are a bit on the cheap side... but damn, it's hard to find a good bed around here. 

Added to the coziness of the bed were all of the open windows and sounds of the jungle with an all night rain storm... I slept like a champ.

Before I headed back to San Pedro the next day, I got to take a tour of one of the Riverview Treehouses - located 75 feet above the Caves Branch river.
Aaaaaaaaa-mazing

Don't worry about having to walk up and down every morning for breakfast, if you stay in one of these suites, they'll bring breakfast up to you so you can enjoy it on one of the verandahs


the outdoor shower in the treetops

the view from the living room

just.... gorgeous

view from the bedroom

the huge, awesome, indoor shower

And outside on the upstairs, outdoor verandah...

your own private hot tub

As with all of my other visits to the mainland, this one really made me miss living in the jungle.

If you want more info about Cave's Branch, or want to book a stay or some tours, you can email me at carrie@letterstomyfriendsbackhome.com and I'll give them a heads up that you'll be contacting them - you will love absolutely everything about this place. For sure.




Monday, September 9, 2013

$25bz per day budget, Day 1

Small coffee and a Johnny cake for breakfast- $4.75

       Very filling for a tiny sammich

Box of tampons and bottle of water- $11
(I've been saying for YEARS that feminine products should be free since we dont really have the option to use them or not unless we want to sit in a hole for a week)

That leaves me with $9.25 for dinner, which will either be an $8 baked potato from Caliente (overpriced) or a $6 bacon chicken cheese burger from the park after work. I could even do a LARGE order of stewed chicken with rice and beans and a fried plantain from My Secret Deli if I feel like taking a walk there before my shift.

Day one, success.

Two things I forgot to consider, though, are that I want to finish getting my dreads wrapped ($30bz plus tip) and take a trip to the city next week to check out my friends salon for a much needed pedicure. 

Hopefully I get a visit from a generous tipper at the bar this week so I can still do both, otherwise, I'm beat!! 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The "sorry your room burnt down" gift bag from Ramones and my new $25 a day budget


As you ALL know by now, there was a huge, destructive fire at Ramones resort almost two weeks ago:

        Picture from San Pedro Sun

I was working that night, so I didn't get to go check it out or join in the bucket brigade, but I did get to meet some of their displaced guests when they came to check into the Spindrift Hotel and ended up hanging out with one of them later in the week. 
On her last day on the island, she gave me the "sorry your room burnt down" condolence bag that Ramones provided her with:



Toothpaste, a toothbrush, dental floss, Tylenol, Alka Seltzer, body lotion, band aids, q-tips, soaps, tissues, men's deodorant, and a bag of mixed nuts. 
(Thanks, Samantha- most of this is going to come in quite handy)

Now that Sam and my two friends have left me, I've decided that I need to detox my liver from all of the beer, rum, and tequila that I drank this past week, and put myself on a strict, $25bz per day budget- technically starting tomorrow, but I felt it out a bit today.

Not counting the $100bz per week I pay for rent (I'll show you the kind of place you can get for that amount of money in another post) or the $90bz per month that I pay for my Smart mifi, I don't think it'll be too hard to stick to. 

Today, for example, my lunch only cost $5bz, and that included a large, $2bz bottle of water.

      Salbutes- $1bz each- I had three

I also spent $2bz on a can of cream soda, and another $5 on a shot of local rum to add to it at Luna Loca, and a $1bz tip for Shaggy (the bartender)

I skipped out on dinner tonight because I generally only eat once a day, anyway, but I still had $12 left in my budget that I could have spent on something healthy- like fruits and veggies, or on some empanadas or street meat of some kind.

I'm not gonna lie- I find it somewhat difficult to get by on this island, especially this time of year. ($6bz in my tip jar yesterday, $15bz in it tonight) so I NEED to make this budget work for me since I don't have money coming in from anywhere other than my bar job at the moment. 

2 more months until busy season- wish me luck! 

September Celebrations.... Kind of quiet

I was surprised at how quite it was in the park this afternoon....  And by quiet I don't mean "not loud," because the music is definitely a bit deafening- I just mean there were barely any people there to watch the bike race get started. 

             Trying to get organized....

I don't have any useful info for you- like why they're racing, how far the race was,  or where exactly the contestants rode to, but I DO know that the winner gets a new bike. 

          And they give out trophies

I only stayed long enough to watch them get started because it was quite hot out there in the sun and I'm not feeling too great (either because of the drinking I did this past week while my friends were in town, or because I've been in a funk for over 2 months) but I think I saw pretty much everything I needed to see.

                         Lined up

                         Coke tent 

                    Food vendors

           Little girls dancing on stage

Even though I buggered off, I happened to be on Front Street when the winner came down the final stretch:

               This guy right here

All in all, I found this event pretty UNeventful- even the few people that I talked to were disappointed in the turn out. 
Where's the love, San Pedro?