Dust in the Wind and Monkey Truce: A Week in Belize, Part 5

I close my eyes, only for a moment, and the moment’s gone
All my dreams pass before my eyes, a curiosity
Dust in the wind
All they are is dust in the wind…

Street Food Fit for a Queen or Two US Travelers

Mussels & Clams

At the San Pedro port, there is a Hispanic Mujer, a street vendor who makes out of this world chicken or pork with a healthy serving of arroz y frijoles. Her English is not great so she has bilingual helpers to ease transactions. She sets up her stand beneath a blue, Tyvek tarp. We stumbled upon her by accident (is there really such a thing as accidents or is the universe conspiring to give us what we need?) upon arrival last Thursday. We purchased three meals, two chicken one pork, with mine liberally doused in a locally sourced, habañero based hot sauce.

The first thing we did when arriving at our Inn was to devour the meals. Deliciso! Maravilloso! Our tasted buds danced a Pasa Doble and a Cha Cha. It was a memory, a slowly fading memory we savored for three whole days. It was a taste photograph we were determined to reimage when we arrived back at San Pedro from Caye Caulker. Our stomachs grumbled, our mouths salivated the entire thirty-minute ferry ride.

To our great dismay, and I still tear up over the tragedy, La Señora had no chicken, no rice, no beans. There was a festival going on, a three-day celebration of Carnival, and we were in day two. Because of reduced demand for her food, she only making beef or pork burritos. Dejected, we purchased a couple of beef burritos that would fill our bellies but not delight our tongues.  “Pollo mañana”, she told us, chicken tomorrow. We designed the entire next day to ensure we could brighten up the tasted images our palates were slowly forgetting.

To pass the time, we rented a golf cart, the most popular transportation source on the island followed closely by biking and walking and went to ‘Secret Beach’ which turned out to be not so secret. The seven-mile ride to us a half hour because the streets, if you can call them streets are rugged. Speed is not an option unless you want to destroy the car and/or get dumped on your head.

We spent a couple of hours snorkeling at Secret Beach and drinking the water from three coconuts. Haven’t had them since our last trip to the Philippines and had forgotten how tasty they were. We thought maybe we should eat barbecue chicken at the beach but the vendor was closing up when we arrived. They stop cooking at 3:3o pm. This, I took, as an omen that we were supposed to eat at La Mujers.

We returned to Cocotal for a quick clothing change then shot into town and the very slow maximum speed of 30 mph. Golf carts either don’t go very fast or they are throttled down to protect the tourists. In town, we had to fight the bumper to bumper Carnival traffic and the many closed roads keeping vehicles from the main square, the exact location of our pollo o cerdo con arroz y frijoles.

We found parking a couple of blocks away, after circling the city once to find parking, then fast walked our way to La Santa’s stand beneath the blue tent. Our hunger had elevated her from woman to saint in our eyes. Our plan was to purchase three chicken meals and one pork meal for this evening and for lunch the following day, our second to last day in Belize. Heaven, we’re in heaven.

Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see
Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind
Oh, ho, ho…

George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” I think you can see where I am going with this. This mis-communique was that she would have the entire meal. It was still Carnival, the last day of the festival. She was still only serving burritos. She had chicken and beef but only for burritos.

Mañana we were told again, mañana she would have chicken and rice and beans. Well, tomorrow was Valentine’s day and we had reservations at the excellent Ajit Bistro, a short walk from our hotel, and a table beneath palm trees overlooking the Caribbean sea. This time mañana translated to nunca, never.

We purchased two each of chicken and beef burritos and went home to eat them accompanied by a bottle of white wine. Oh, they were also out of hot sauce so mine were decidedly bland. That taste image of the first night is a yellowing photograph slowly fading to monochrome.

Restaurants – 2 Winners, 1 Meh

We ate three excellent dinners at two local restaurants, all served up mouthwatering meals. Two were at Ajit Bistro. The Bistro is a short 5-minute walk along the beach South of our Hotel. The beaches are common territories and must be kept free for passage. I love that it doesn’t allow the rich or the big hotels to hoard or make passage difficult. We heard good reviews about Ajit last year but the one day we had the opportunity to go, did not play out. Ajit is closed on Tuesdays.

Our second meal there was for Valentine’s Day. Upon booking the trip, we originally planned on returning Wednesday but decided to extend when we realized we could spend V-Day in Belize. Mara, the camp dog, followed us to the restaurant, sat with us while we ate, then escorted us home. It is one of her many endearments. While at the restaurant, she did roam a bit and visit other guests. We ate fresh snapper, bacon wrapped shrimp, lobster, and succulent coconut pie made from local coconuts. Highly recommended.

Rain was a repeat from last year. It is an open-air restaurant on the top of a roof with a great view of the sunset. We were here last year but failed to bring a camera. We made sure to make a reservation this year at the best table for a setting sun view during our meal. We appetized on clams and mussels.  Wonderful! As was the crusted grouper and the wine. Highly recommended.

Then there was Ak’bol. Last year we had a couple of decent breakfasts. This year…meh!  We ordered our food, eggs with bacon. When it finally arrived our plates had sausage no bacon.

“We ordered bacon.”
“Ya, we didn’t have any bacon. The boss is out at the store getting some so I gave you sausage instead. It’s really good sausage.”

And it was really good sausage but we should have been given the option before it was served. Que será, será.

Coming to Terms with Monkey

Now, don’t hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky
It slips away
Dust in the wind
Everything is dust in the wind… 

You may have noticed, Monkey does not, until now, make an appearance in this last offering. As much as I would like to shut Monkey up for a few years, that is not possible. Nor is it likely to be good for me. Much of my writing comes from looking back and thinking forward, about Wacha did? and Wacha gonna do? as Monkey frequently babbles.

Monkey helps create the tension between balanced and future balanced on a fulcrum of my preferred desire to exist solely in the present. It is out of this tension that my ability to write creatively bubbles up into my consciousness and spill onto paper. The tension is a necessary component without which I would not write to reconcile all three states of mind. Monkey, as obnoxious as he can be, is a linchpin without which the entire system falls apart. Without Monkey, I would be incomplete. I guess we will be remaining partners going forward. Though, there are many times I still want to slap the Monkey.

Flying Away

Belize, as it was last year, as I imagine it will be in the future when we return, and I have been assured we will return, is a tropical paradise – at least it was the two February’s we visited. I wish it were a tad cheaper as that could make it a perfect place to retire…for a few months a year while we traipse around the world during those seasons we would rather just sit and relax…

I wish that I could fly
Into the sky
So very high
Just like a dragonfly
I’d fly above the trees
Over the seas in all degrees
To anywhere I please…

About David A Olson

I often find my mind wandering to various subjects, subjects that make me stop and think. The blog, Musings of a Middle Aged Man, is a catalog of those thoughts I muse upon as I search for significance in life. I am the father of 3 children and the grandfather to 2. I spend my days working for a medium sized multinational corporation where I am an Agile Coach. I view myself as a Servant Leader, have a passion for leadership, particularly, in helping people develop their individual leadership skills and abilities. In October 2012, I went to India on business. After a week of being there, I still had not talked to or texted my 7-year-old grandson. He asked his mom, "Is Papa dead? He hasn't texted me all week." To facilitate communication now that he and I no longer live together, I started a blog for us to communicate. It's titled, "Correspondence Between Luke and His Papi". In April 2013, I moved to Pune, India on an 18-month delegation. It's an adventure that was 1.5 years in the making...The experience is captured on my blog, "The Adventures of an American Living Abroad" My two latest blogs are "The Learning Leader", a topic I have been studying since 1990, and "Lipstick on a Pig", a foray into the fashion sense of this middle aged man.
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