Monday, May 05, 2008
  Day One - Belize Blog
April 16, 2008

7:29 a.m. – It would be appropriate that the first song on the iPod (the old 20GB one, not the fancy schmancy 60 GB) in the idylling bus to Logan International Airport would be “Like a Rolling Stone” by Senor (I’m trying) Zimmerman.

9:14 a.m. – At the security checkpoint, there are three lines, one of which is “expert traveler.” I didn’t catch the other two lines. But judging by my travel experiences the last year or so, I’d name the other two categories: “woman who wears too much jewelry and continually sets off the metal detector and piece-by-piece takes off each bauble,” and “person who tries to play the ignorance card when confronted about the various types of contraband in their carry-on.”

9:47 a.m. – There’s a slight delay out of Boston. But the guy at the Continental desk assures me that we’ll arrive in Houston early. And that poses so many philosophical questions, but I’ll abstain. But a slight ATC (air traffic control for you “expert travelers”) delay and an early arrival is still leaps and bounds better than the folks headed to Cleveland, via Conty… An announcement came over the airport PA: “would the flight crew for Continental 1234 please report to gate 7, your plane is set for departure.” Um, if there’s no pilots, then I’m not sure that’s ready to depart.

10:37 a.m. – First bloody mary of the day. Hey, it’s 2:37 in London.

10:43 a.m. – The H.C. just called, seemingly with a stupid question. Whatever it is/was, it can be handled ably by someone else. First bit of irony: just washed down my malaria pill with a bloody mary.

11:14 a.m. – Free drinks, free headsets and blankets? Apres moi, le deluge! The inflight movie is “P.S., I Love You.” The manly side of me says “Argh! Love story! Argh! I need raw meat and a table dance!” My sub-Bowie reaction to this (and I just realized that I never explained the Bowie List, did I? Rats…) is “hey, I’ve had that on my list for a while. Love stories are blissful.”

It’s mealtime: the terribly clichéd cold shrimp salad, with a tomato-basil soup, and a fruit cup. Lunch in the main cabin, I believe, is melba toast and a kick to the groin. Beer, wine and cocktails are $5.

Whose legs does the guy in 2F need to hump to get another bloody? Waitress! Garcon! Stewardess! Flight Attendant!

11:35 a.m. – Wow, you get whole fancy cashews in 1e class? In coach class, they get a photo of a bag of peanuts and a snotty put-down.

11:43 a.m. – Reading the New York Times that I procured from the first class library. Former German chancellor Helmut Kohl just got re-married. He’s 78. She’s 43. He just suffered a massive head trauma and is recovering. His former wife killed herself due to an allergy to light. Wow.

Ladies and gentlemen, “P.S., I Love You.”

11:59 a.m. – Without giving up the plot, they’re playing the Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York” at an Irish wake. Another bloody please.

12:03 p.m. – Lisa Kudrow. Name a movie with a former Friends cast member that was marginally good (and despite the critical acclaim, “The Good Girl” sucked. I would argue that “The Breakup” was good, but at the time of this blog entry, I had yet to see it.)

12:07 p.m. – Switched to the house shiraz at lunchtime. Grapes. Grapes are good for you. Lots of antioxidants. Thins the blood. I’m going to drink until Hilary Swank becomes marginally attractive.

12:55 p.m. – The movie is an hour-ten in and the horse-toothed heroine is still not up to snuff. Un autre shiraz, s’il-vous plait.

1:08 p.m. – I’m beginning to think it’s about that time. I need to figure out a way to go about telling that time. As I sit here in seat 2F, staring blankly ahead, the dark shadowes above my eyes blink rhythmically. Keeping a beat, the flashing lights are a reminder that life is there, before my eyes, and the flashing is in beat with my heart. I’m still waiting for it to tell me exactly what to do.

What is this 14 day trip going to reveal – implicitly or outwardly apparent? What am I to search for? What is going to find me? What do I need to be open to? What will the realization be? Every day should be a day to learn, discover, or it is wasted (or you’re wasted, not quite sure).

It’s getting to a point where my impatience is borderline epidemic. Too long have I been ill.

It’s about that time.

1:40 p.m. – P.S., I Love You’s penultimate scene is on top of the home dugout at Yankee Stadium. P.S., that sucks.

1:53 p.m – Just 37 minutes to wheels down at George Bush (the one that only kind of sucked) Intercontinental Airport. Let me see if I can sneak in one more shiraz…

2:01 p.m. - I think it’s Central time, I dunno. I can really get used to this Elite Access thing. But I may throw a small wobbler – the Houston-to-Cancun leg has no shiraz. Some cab-merlot rubbish. Rubbish, I say!

There is some sort of in-flight entertainment. If it’s “P.S., I Love You,” then P.S., I’m gonna…

2:28 p.m. – The male flight attendant has a cylindrical belt attachment called “Surefire.” I asked if it was pepper spray. He said no, it was a flashlight. Somehow, I think he’s lying.

3:05 p.m – I just finished filling out the Mexican immigration forms. Ironic iPod karma has me listening to Gomez (See the World).

Snacktime on CO 564. Fruits and veggies and some assorted cold cuts. I prefer to drink my grapes, thanks very much. (BTW JMalls, if you’re still a loyal reader, the other flight attendant up front looks just like Margaret…)

3:20 p.m. – Not listening to the TV, but Carrie Underwood just came on. So I’m watching.

4:39 p.m. – Welcome to the very long and inefficient Mexican customs line. Guillermo, the Mexican/U.S. citizen sitting next to me, claims he knows a guy (un hombre?) who can get us to skip the line. That being said, this is the same guy who forgot his duty-free stuff on the plane. My confidence in Guillermo is low.

6:53 p.m. – All checked in the hotel – the InterContinental Presidente. I’m hungry. The Sox/Yanks are on ESPN Americano y Deportes. So, I decided to combine food and baseball and found a very authentic Mexican cantina called los Hooters. Baja wings and Corona, por favor.

When I got to the hotel, I was checked in by the concierge, Karine. She was pretty. And I’ve decided that any and all decisions over the next 48 hours should be made by Karine. She will be the official consultant to TLBR. “Where should I eat?” Ask Karine. “I just ate a burrito, when is it safe to go swimming?” Ask Karine. “I just made a pot, which hand should I wipe with?” Ask Karine.

(and as you may have heard once or twice or 3,500 times during the Big Dance, there are thousands of NCAA student-athletes and most of them are going pro in the game of life. As for me, I haven’t gone pro in shit. Regardless, enjoy the blog…)

7:15 p.m – My Hooters waitress has that lovely combination of smelling like baby powder and looking like she’s fellated every AA catcher in the Eastern League. And all six of the Molinas.

7:20 p.m. – Matty called, he just jumped on the bus from Belize and will be here early a.m. Echo & The Bunnymen’s “Lips Like Sugar” on the jukebox. I haven’t heard this song in years. ESPN is on mute – which is a fantastic way to still see Erin Andrews and not have to listen to Joe Morgan.

7:49 p.m. – My funny joke is Chien-Ming Wang means “Kevin Brown” in Taiwanese. But now that he’s on my fantasy team, I’ve relented. However, he does look like Harold (from Harold & Kumar fame) on steroids. 7-3 Yanks.

8:03 p.m. – 7-6 Sox, thanks to J.D. Drew. Honestly, why is it that I end up doing a Sox-Yanks blog everytime I travel abroad?

8:20 p.m. – 9-7 good guys, thanks to Pedroia. The local hombre who wanted to bet me $5 because he is a fan of the “Djankees” is quiet.

9:05 p.m. – Three Brits walked in, dropping the cockney and, subsequently, two of the three beers they orders. If the Replacements’ “You Be Me for a While (And I’ll Be You)” wasn’t on the juke, I’d have been upset. But thanks to the 80’s shuffle, things are just peachy. The limeys kept trying to chat up Paulina, the supporter of the backstops in the South Atlantic League, but I don’t think she understood (their) English. Too many Brits for me. And not to be superficial, but they dragged along a few Ruthie Pigfaced Drapers.

9:19 p.m. – Say what you want about los Hooters, the soft-core porn waitress, or the damned obnoxious Brits, but do not fault the DJ. He just played “Don’t Change” by INXS.

9:34 p.m. – (this comment is all sorts of wrong, but it’s my blog…) I swear I’ve seen Nomar at least 34 times tonight.

9:53 p.m. – One of the more local Hooters waitresses literally and figuratively rolled up on me (she had rollerblades on). She said, in kind of broken English, “you like Boston?”

(I had my Varitek t-shirt on. So she didn’t exactly score 800 on her cognitive reasoning, but still…)

I said yes, I do like Boston. She said she liked them as well. Seriously, a Hooters girl agreeing with whatever you say. Novel.

But to her credit, she knew all the players. Stopping short of being a sabermetrician in orange spandex, the girl knew her beisbol. She hearts Manny. I heart Manny, too. She also gave me a proper spot for lunch tomorrow that was not an obscene American chain restaurant. And esta Cubana. She can stay.

10:15 p.m. – Yanks pulling away and I’m pretty beat. Time to catch a cab back to the ranch (RANCH!).

I told the cab driver: “Yo voy el InterContinental Presidente, por favor.” It might not have been great Spanish, but I’m making the effort.

His response: “Drugas?”

No. The hotel, please.




No. The hotel.

“Blackjack? 21?”


We get there.

“10 dollars.”

I say no. “Setenta pesos.” After a bit of haggling, he said fine. I hand him a 20 and a 50 in pesos.

He says, “no tip?”

Yes, actually, I do have a tip. When I tell you to take me to the hotel, I mean the hotel. Not to buy drugs, not to a strip club, not to a casino. And my tip: STFU and drive.

Enjoy your night.
More from the Belize Blog tomorrow…
Would you tell your stupid ranch tooth (taxi driver) to shut up?
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