But, I’m in Belize, and when life gives you pineapples and coconuts, it’s time to make the best of everything and enjoy a piña colada. And for now, I’m enjoying sunshine and sand in San Pedro.
If you’ve ever heard of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”, well, this is one of the locations where an episode could have been filmed. There are lots of condos and vacation resorts. If you are super rich like John Travolta and Leonardo di Caprio, you can own your own private island in the area. If you are normal rich, you might stay at one of the local resorts. They have their own restaurants, bars, tours and shops so you never need to leave the resort. I know where Jennifer Lawrence stayed. And, during this trip I was nine miles from Simone Biles. She spent one afternoon spinning and diving off a man-made island into the pool at a resort that I couldn’t enter. I don’t do selfies, normally, but I would have with Simone.
Back in the 1980’s San Pedro was a sleepy little village in the Caribbean sunshine. You could buy lots to build your own home in paradise for $20,000. Now, the price is much closer to ten times that amount. And, there is nothing sleepy in San Pedro. It bustles to capacity with golf carts, tourists, souvenir vendors, bicycles and pedestrians, day and night. Those very crowded streets were originally built for bicycles. Now, it’s hard to find parking or even cross the street in the downtown during peak tourist times like Christmas and Spring Break.
Most people who come to Ambergris Caye want to do something outdoors that involves sand and water. That includes parasailing, jet skiing and fishing, which don’t include me at all. You can also scuba dive into the Blue Hole, a sink hole that is considered one of the best diving locations in the world. I don’t dive. And, you can snorkel along the coral reef. That, I can tell you first-hand, is amazing.
I went out on a glass bottom boat trip for my snorkeling adventure. As soon as we stopped to snorkel, someone said that there were sharks under the boat. I thought they were joking. They weren’t. There were four nurse sharks, each about six feet long, under our glass bottom. I’m told that nurse sharks don’t normally attack people unless people do things to bother them. I seriously hoped that jumping in the water for a closer look wasn’t considered “bothering them” because I did just that. And, it was magnificent.
I felt much safer when I swam by myself, shadowing the path of the ray below me. It was a magical moment in the water. I’d seen them before, but never like that.
My sister, as well as the guides, promised that I’d see a sea turtle on the adventure. They didn’t lie. It was at the last possible moment while I was in the water, but I had my moment alone with one graceful creature. And then, a couple of the turtles swam directly under the glass bottom boat before surfacing next to us. Yep, I’d have to fully recommend a day of snorkeling to anyone visiting San Pedro.
Thursday night is Chicken Drop Night.
The Chicken Drop is an event sort of like bingo, without many senior citizens, and with a whole lot more alcohol and rowdy young people. There is a huge “bingo card” with 100 squares on the floor. Yes, a real chicken is shaken, not stirred, and then dropped by a celebrant (from about waist high). People place one dollar bets on each of the one hundred squares. It doesn’t matter where the chicken lands. But, if you’ve ever spent any time with chickens, you know they only do about four things. They cluck. They lay eggs. They eat. And, then, they leave their own droppings nearly everywhere they step. And, that is what puts the “drop” in the Chicken Drop. If you place your bet on the proper square where the chicken first decides to “drop”, you’re the winner. You get a cash prize -- after you clean up the mess. (I’m really not kidding. There are videos of the event on YouTube.)
Personally, I’ll stick with snorkeling.