We heard from someone on the island that in a few days you will know everyone on the Caye. This off handed remark is an absolute truth! Riding around in our golf cart gave us the perfect opportunity to travel the island and to do what we like best - - learn about the local folks and culture!
One of the first people that befriended us was Jacob, a local who sells really nice shark teeth jewelry and tie dyed shirts. Many years ago, he started his business by selling only coconuts and drank too much. A couple of years ago, a tourist, Steve Johnson, became his benefactor. The name of their shop is Jacob and Steve’s. We met Steve (he is from Boston, but travels here frequently) and he told us how he offered Jacob some money and merchandise if he would quit drinking. A match made in heaven was born. Jacob is a huge success, but Steve has even more plans to sell new items, such as his most recent offering, some silver merchandise. Jacob owns Kwashy, the raccoon/ant-eater animal. See photo. He liked our pumpkin empanada. We also met Manuel, the friend of Jacob, who had interesting
tales of being on a cruise ship for a while. The coolest thing about this meeting was the fact that we just sat and talked to these people for over an hour without any thought about it or agenda. It was interesting, unique and relaxing. Thereafter, anytime we saw these people, or their friends, they called us out by name and waved.
While roaming in our cart, we passed a lady (term is used very loosely) sitting at the public park on the north end of the caye and she was calling out to people to have a pedicure and braids. We chatted with her for a minute and said we would return later. To our detriment, we did. The lady was a very interesting character who purported to be an expert in nails, and a single mother of four, whose children were taken away because she had no electricity (lives in Belize City). As it turned out, a pedicure was removing nail polish and putting it back on. She had her “boyfriend” with her, and a 17 year old girl, scantily dressed, who the woman said she “took care of.” Prior to Ann’s pedicure, Clay had to go
to two local stores (think 7-11) to buy her the nail polish remover – she was going to take it off with an emery board!! It was quickly apparent that she did not have any expertise, but was a really good story teller. She said that she was the best person on the island for nails (but today, had forgotten her good brushes) and had started the whole nail business on the island, that the union just pushed her out. The $15 US she requested for the worse nail job on the planet, we considered a gift, so we went ahead and gave her $20. But, boy-o-boy, what a story we had for less cost than two people buying tickets to a movie theater. Just when we thought that we had received our money’s worth, it got better!!! When we were leaving, she started yelling at the 17-year old to stop talking to the female police officer that had approached her. The show was about to begin! Now the nail woman was yelling at the officer about her rights. The officer was yelling at the woman about being stupid and back and forth it went until the officer decided to
search the woman and her boyfriend right there - - I guess illegal search and seizure is not an issue. To watch this search was fascinating!!! The female police officer went through the woman’s belongings, pockets and conducted a pat down. The boyfriend had to take of his shoes and shake them out onto the beach. While this search was being conducted, the police officer found in the woman’s breast pocket, some pot/weed/marijuana. Ironically, the woman told the police officer, “You know I smoke, but I don’t be selling nuthin… you know me!” Apparently that statement was true, because the police officer put the weed back into the woman’s pocket and left her in peace. We end this short story by adding a brief, but critical, note. It was Clay that volunteered Ann’s feet for servicing… probably knowing well a story would arise from the experience. Thanks a lot, Clay; the worst nail polish job in history will be on Ann’s feet for days to come.
Having spent a couple of weeks in the mountains of Guatemala, we were now completely ready to get our laundry cleaned! After searching the caye, we found the best laundry in town –
Marie’s. Marie is a dart champion from the Bahamas and has many trophies as testaments to her skill. She had our laundry ready the same day, pounds and pounds of it for $10.
We met many other people on this day. Clay is speaking a little Creole now - - surprise, surprise. Many of the guys here call him “boss” and Ann, “boss lady.” It is really funny. We are now known by business owners, the best laundry woman, the craftspeople selling their wares on the street, and many others, who just hang out on the main road (there are three roads – front, middle and back - - Yes, those are the names of them). It is thought-provoking - - it seems so much easier meeting and enjoying people from all walks of life these days. Other vacations have been great, but there is something very different about being homeless and jobless, with no particular agenda. We miss our family and friends immensely, but this journey has become a priceless experience. The experience has been particularly rich because of our other life experiences thus far. But, living in the moment can be harder than one might think, even
if on an island paradise. Ann, in particular, has had to consciously disregard time, dirty clothes and a messy room that smells a bit putrid at times due to aging pipes and an outdated sewer system (sounds cool, eh?). On the other hand, Clay seems to be able to ignore all those factors with ease, after all, Peter Pan lived on an island. Yet, enhanced perspective of our own circumstances has become invaluable and has helped us view many other aspects of our lives with a wider lens and (we think) a better understanding of the world around us. Although we are selfishly happy for this experience, it seems completely fitting that it comes just before Peace Corps service in another land.
One parting note, to all of those who take the time to read our silly, often times pointless but sometimes heartfelt blog posts, we would like to ask each of you to “subscribe” to our blog. Subscribing to us, in no way, adds spam or unsolicited email of any type. The only thing that you will ever receive from us is an email stating that we have published a new blog posts. In addition, it allows us
to see who is reading our blog posts and we really enjoy knowing that somewhere out in this very large world, there are people who care enough about us to follow us along in our adventures. So once again, thank you all for joining us and we will continue to travel with you in our hearts.
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