Weh I deh? No I haven’t turned off the auto spell check, but as we arrived in Belize, Spanish was no longer required (just as we were getting the hang of it….. ) and English was back, although with a bit of a twist, namely Creole.
So, we left Mexico by getting our familiar ADO bus, so Spanish dubbed movies and air con were again on the agenda, until finally arriving at Chetumal, Mexico which was our gateway to Belize. From here, we bought our tickets for the Belize express boat. This took us as far as San Pedro, Caye Ambergris, and from there we went through Belize’s ‘border control, and customs’. Inverted commas are valid here as it was basically a really quick check of the passport, and ‘Have you got any food to declare?’, and we were through. Incidentally, our Doritos were not confiscated, so we managed to side step that land mine! From here, we waited an hour or so, before boarding our last mode of transport (another express boat), which was finally bound to our destination, Caye Caulker.
Caye Caulker is a really chilled out place, hosting all manner of Belizians from around
the country This included people from mainland Belize, Garifuna dudes, Europeans, Americans, and of course those born and raised on the island itself. I think partially due to the Garifuna guys, the main vibe on the island was relaxed, and the sounds of Reggae and Punta music, could be heard constantly working its way out of most bars and restaurants on the island.
We finally arrived on the island after dark, although it was still fairly early, and was what can only be described as ‘pounced on’ by Adam the crazy Brit / Belizean (he had lived in Belize for 14 yrs, and married a Belizean girl) from the Bar Bambooze. He clocked straight away that we were Brits, and realising we have no negotiation skills, nor the ability to say no to anyone, was insistent that we go take a look at the room he had above his bar. This of course sold to us as ‘cleaner than most places’ and ‘value for money’, plus, it had the unique advantage that it was the only room within Bambooze. (Why this was an advantage, only he knows, but we nodded and agreed that this was indeed a true feature
because of course we are English, and therefore don’t want to seem rude or impolite in any way). Gullible and polite though we are, we were of course sceptical to take it. As a rule, having just arrived, and feeling vulnerable, we generally dislike taking the first place we see upon arrival as, there is always that possibility that better is round the corner. So after a 30 minute spiel as to why this was the place for us, we said we would like to shop around for a hotel room in case there was a better deal out there. Adam, oozing confidence then suggested his wife take us to two other Hotels while we leave our bags behind his bar, as he was sure we would return! Short on confidence, he was not. However, after being shown two other rooms for around the same money, we did indeed flock back, as they wasn’t up to much to be honest, and we were fairly knackered by now anyway, and were too tired to Hotel shop….so we took the Bambooze room.
We were told, that although being above a bar, it was fairly quiet all week long except tonight, as
Friday nights were the weekly Chicken drop. For those of you not in the know as to what the chicken drop is (which included us until that bonkers Friday evening), it consists of the following:
A large numbered grid is placed on the floor with around 60 different numbers on even sized squares. The grid was then fenced in. From here, the bar sold tickets for 2 Belize Dollars (about 0.70p each) which had corresponding numbers to the grid, so a bit like a raffle. So, once the tickets were sold, several rum and cokes were drank, and the place was packed out, it was time for the main event. The Garifuna guys provided the music with Maracas, bongos, and several other drums etc , and very soon, the place was jumping . Nothing left to do but release the chicken. The chicken was then brought out (seemingly against its will, although, you can never quite tell what a chickens inner thoughts are in all reality), and was placed in the centre of the grid. The crowd then closed in on the action, and went absolutely bananas, shouting and hollering, and jumping up and down like a old girl
watching the Chippendales…..The reason for all the fuss.....?
Whatever square the chicken shits on first wins the pot! A great bit of entertainment I’m sure you will agree, although, I can’t see this taking off down the local Railway Tavern, Lewisham somehow!
Absolutely Class though, and a great introduction to Caye Caulker, although I’m sad to say, we didn’t win shit (pardon the pun!)
The next day was pretty lazy, which is completely acceptable here, just hanging round at the end of the island at the split (created by a hurricane in the 60’s that spilt the island in two) soaking up some rays and drinking the local rum (tough days). Food generally consists of rice and beans, Jerk chicken, and fresh fish or lobster freshly caught that day, so can’t grumble at that! Plus the beer here Belinki, and Lighthouse are pretty damn good too.
On our final day we decided to take a snorkelling trip that took us out to Hol Chan, Shark Ray Alley, and Coral Bay. Donna not being keen on this sort of thing got brave, and got involved with us swimming with large fish, eels, stingrays, and even nurse Sharks, so
that was awesome. We were also very lucky to get to see the Manatees which are amazing to see swimming around in their natural habitat.
Overall, great trip, and Caye caulker was a great place to chill for a few days too. Just what we needed after our strenuous and hectic schedule….
Next stop in Belize is San Ignacio for Cave tubing and the amazing Actun Tunichil Muknal…..
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