Tuesday, May 20, 2008
  The Final Day - Belize Blog
April 30

5:42 a.m. – Back to where to trip started…not just Cancun, but the airport. It’s too god-damned early, but thankfully due to my travel neuroses, I answered the bell.

The bell came from my watch and alarm clock. It did not come from the front desk, until some time after I got out of the shower. The front desk guy sounded a bit annoyed: “I’ve been trying to call.”

Yeah, 20 minutes late.

The queue at the Continental ticket counter is beginning to get pretty long. It’s completely past the tensa-barriers and snaking into the main foyer area. But I’m an elitist, so I get to skip the line.

Plenty of those folks flying steerage kind of sneered at me, but I didn’t really mind. In fact, I was a little annoyed that I had to wait a whole eight minutes.

After breezing through security – and I do mean breeze…Jesus, do they check for anything? I had liquids, gels, etc. I didn’t take my shoes off…

I walked through duty free and tried to figure out a way to unload my 350 pesos (roughly 35 bucks). There were no change counters open at quarter to 6 in the morning (go figure) and didn’t want to use the dinero to eat – remember, I’m elite and they feed us – so I wait and ponder a way to work this out.

Speaking of flip flops…I’m going to have to get used to wearing closed toe shoes again. And not having a few beers a lunch. Or watching Telemundo.

5:54 a.m. – The entire line from the Continental ticket booth is at Starbucks. You’re better off drinking the water.

6:11 a.m. – I thought I had a fool-proof way to change the pesos. Buy a bottle of agua (30 pesos), pay with 350 pesos, and ask for USD back. Great idea…on paper.

She gave me change in pesos. So now I’m down to 32 bucks of monopoly money. Shampoo.

7:12 a.m. – This morning’s breakfast selection in First Class is corn flakes or a delicious ham/egg/cheese sando. Sides include yogurt with fruit. And a bloody mary.

I really wish I was on Caye Caulker and not in seat 2F.

8:59 a.m. – Almost wheels down at George Bush Intercontinental. The in-flight movie was “Mad Money.” It was mindless drivel, but I didn’t completely hate it.

I turned the Continental in-flight entertainment to the Latin Soundscape channel – consider it methadone for the trip. What did you expect, the shampooing Spin Doctors? I hope customs is a breeze.

10:27 a.m. – I think I’m halfway home to New England. Between the walk from the plane, to passport control, then to the baggage claim, then to another customs desk, then through security (where they actually checked stuff and made me take my flops off), then to gate C-45, it was at least 400 miles.

A few observations & events along the way: the money changers in the airport are the modern day misers. I had 320 pesos. That’s roughly 32 bucks. Cashing it in, I got $21.21 back. The clerk asked if I wanted a receipt. I said no. I didn’t need documentation of me getting effed.

Also, do airports purposely find the most miserable folks to drive the courtesy carts? Seriously, what’s the job interview like: “Are you miserable? Do you hate people? Do you have road rage? Sweet, you’re hired. Welcome to the family!”

How can I be expected to wear non-flip flops tomorrow?

10:48 a.m. – I’ve got a Kathleen Turner lookalike next to me, who has seemingly dropped everything she owns on her seat, started pulling other people’s luggage out of the overhead to put hers in, and had at least four blankets and pillows laid out in the aisle.

The flight attendant was not amused. Neither was the guy in 2F.

12:33 p.m. – (switched back to Eastern time) I drank a liter-sized bottle of water in the airport and had a bloody when I arrived on the plane. Once we reached cruising altitude, I raced to the bathroom and peed for roughly three minutes.

The train wreck/V.I. Warshawski doppelganger next to me is the kind of person who doesn’t stand up when you need to get by on the airplane. So I made sure she got a face full of ass on the wiggle by.

I also hope I get gas from my elite lunch – cheeseburger, tomato basil soup, and fruit – because I’ll also share that with her.

1:58 p.m. – Just finished a book, that I’ve had for two years and never read, in two days – “Patriot Reign” by Michael Holley. Liked it, but didn’t love it. Might try his book on Francona when I get back.

On the epicurean side of things, the cheeseburger was solid. Not the best, not the worst. Certainly a better choice that the grilled chicken salad. They did have the nice shiraz I liked, so I switched to that.

Looking forward to a nice cup of Dunks when I land. Another two hours, and I’ll be in Boston. From the land of truly dirty, parasitical water to the land where Dirty Water means you’re my #1 place.

3:42 p.m. – Touchdown at Logan. I plan on drinking from the bubbler (because I can) and then right for a large, skim, one sugar at the Dunks. I’ve missed that in my time in loco perro land.

4:38 p.m. – Commencing with the train portion of the “Planes, Trains, Automobiles” trip back to Rhode Island. Made the 4:35 commuter rail to PVD by a hair, should be there in about 55 minutes.

5:02 p.m. – My feet are shampooing cold. I’m wearing a long sleeve t-shirt. I have to go to work tomorrow. The Go-Go’s “Vacation just came on the iPod.

A week without you, thought I’d forget. But two weeks without you and I still haven’t gotten over you yet…
Monday, May 19, 2008
  Scoreboard Update

Jon Lester 3, Cancer 0.
And never happier that Johan Santana is in Flushing, N.Y.
  Day 14 - Belize Blog
April 29

8:46 a.m. – I’m on a crowded bus to Chetumal, Mexico from Corozal. It’s the first step toward going back home. The girl next to me smells. It’s about 400 degrees.

9:10 a.m. – Passed through the Belize border. Fare thee well.

9:24 a.m. – And now, Mexico. Seamless re-entry across the border. Just 10 kilometers to Chetumal.

10:41 a.m. – No, it didn’t take and hour-twenty to get to the bus station…I moved time zones. Back to Central time.

I’m kind of hungry and stared out the window to find a spot by the bus drop-off point (which is located by what I like to jokingly refer to as “Times Square of Chetumal.”) There was a place named “Barbaro.” Sorry, I’m not going to be trying to steak there.

11:05 a.m. – Prior to leaving Corozal, Matt helped me with some Spanish phrases which would help me along the way. So far, I’ve been able to manage my way through Mexican immigration, have hailed a cab and told the driver where I needed to go, ordered lunch (3 x pork tacos, bottle of water), and bought a first-class bus ticket to Cancun.

Tengo un gato en los pantalones.

Now comes the waiting. And the sitting.

11:30 a.m. – On the bus to Cancun…I made it, so now I can sit back, relax, for the most stressful part of the trip is behind me.

11:46 a.m. – Holy shit, what is it with me, international trips, and Tim Allen movies with him starring as Santa Claus? When I traveled to Australia, the movie station in Prosperine was “The Santa Clause I.” This time, on the bus, it was the third installation of this holiday crapfest.

I hadn’t seen “The Santa Clause II,” and shockingly – despite it being in a foreign language – I was able to follow along with numero tres.

1:46 p.m. – Not quite sure where we are, but I’m getting a little stir crazy. Good news – 2+ hours down. Bad news – 3+ hours remain.

3:41 p.m. – I just took a catnap and dreamt of the enchiladas verdes that I’m going to consume upon arrival. Yes, I’m hungry.

Seems a long way since my “first” meal of the trip – Hooters.

As much as I’ll miss this trip and my daily routine, I’m also anxious to get home and back to my routine. Two weeks ago – it seems like such a long time ago. It’s amazing what a creature of habit I am…

4:47 p.m. – We just pulled onto Cancun’s version of Rt. 1 in New Jersey. Traffic sucks, stop and go, and there are chain stores and restaurants on both sides. And even better, we’ve dropped to one lane and are being held up by a peloton and their respective aid cars. Yeah. I’m not sure if it’s a big bike race, or just some weekend warriors, but I’m starting to lose my mind. And to top it all off, the 40-year old couple in front of me are pawing at each other like two ninth graders in a mall movie theatre. “You’re right Rusty, he may pork her.”

5:08 p.m. – Benvenidos a Cancun.

5:36 p.m. – Welcome back to the El Tapatio and “tiempo de enchiladas verde.” Y una Sol. What a delicious, authentic Mexican meal to close out the trip before a cab to another nameless, faceless, soulless Courtyard by Marriott.

8 p.m. – I’m in bed early. Everything packed for the trip, laid out for the morning, and ready to roll. “Spy Game” is the movie showing on one of the few English-speaking channels. Solid flick. I put in a 4:30 a.m. wake-up call. Smart money has that call never coming, so I followed it up with the alarm clock, the wristwatch alarm, and the television alarm. A three-bagger…
Friday, May 16, 2008
  Day 13 - Belize Blog
April 28

(author's note: I didn’t tote the notebook anywhere on April 27, but fear not - nothing terribly out of sorts happened.)

11:40 a.m. – Cue up the traditional Irish folk song theme, but it’s not the leaving of Caye Caulker that’s grieving me, but darling when I think of thee.

The water taxi “Belizean Beauty” pulled up to the dock. Only fitting that one Belizean beauty begets another.

Noon – Pulled back into La Isla Bonita. And again, before an NBA shot-clock violation occurred, we were propositioned for necklaces and drugs. The 3 p.m. Thunderbolt can’t come quick enough.

Now, while I didn’t tote the notebook around yesterday, I did come about with some reflection, realization, and reward. Clarity. But to write that down would have caused two things to happen: me to run out of ink and you to be bored by 21st century existentialism. Or you would have been impressed. Either way, I write game notes for a living and I leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.

Grabbed a lunch of chicken, rice and beans, and some cole slaw – you know, something different – at Elvi’s Kitchen, one of the top-rated restaurants on San Pedro. Ordered up a round of ceviche, too. That’s quickly becoming Belizean culinary crack to me. Can’t have enough of it. If I were to stay here for another couple of weeks, you might see me roaming the streets, unshowered and unshaven, begging for ha-pennies to buy some ceviche (essentially salsa with lime, cilantro, and shrimp).

After that, Matt and I did some proper bar-hopping from bad, to worse, to let me get this one down as quick as possible so I don’t miss the last boat.

3:10 p.m. – Thankfully the Thunderbolt was a few minutes late. We’re a few minutes past the dock and all 750+ horsepower are cranking toward Corozal. I feel safe though, knowing the Belize Coast Guard is on the job.

I don’t board a plane for the U.S. until Wednesday, but I’ve resigned myself to the fact that the trip is over.

Tonight in Corozal, then an all-day bus trip through Mexico, then to a nameless, faceless Courtyard by Marriott by the Cancun airport. It’s sad to leave the Cayes, but the last 5.5 days have been simply amazing (and that’s to grossly underrate “amazing.”)

**stream of consciousness warning** Holy shit, why do I have Train’s “Drops of Jupiter” on my iPod? That’s almost as bad as Deniece Williams...

I feel ready for anything and everything now. Perhaps I was a lot better off than I thought previously. Perhaps I just needed to relax. Perhaps it’s going to be a difficult transition not wearing flip-flops to work.

6:00 p.m. – Another solid meal at Patty’s Bistro, all my packing done, and time to watch the Celtics hopefully win a road playoff game at Atlanta.

(author's note: I sure didn’t think I’d still have to be typing that sentence kind of 20 days later…)
Thursday, May 15, 2008
  Day 11 - Belize Blog
April 26

9:15 a.m. – Sunny day (again). Early rise to relax and read (again). Matty, who is supposed to arrive this a.m., texted to let me know he was running late (again).

I took a seat under a palm tree, by the water taxi dock, gazing out at the Caribbean Sea. The water is breaking about 500 yards out on a coral reef. There’s a bell windchime dinging in the distance. I’ve got a hot, fresh cup of Guatemalan coffee. The breeze is blowing through my hair.

If you’re thinking that I’m composing some poetry, I’m not. It’s just simple observation and summing up the surroundings. As flowery as it may seem, it’s some insight into Caye Caulker.

Hard to believe things are wrapping up on this trip – a rather glass-half-empty view, but it’s true. Thursday, I go back to work. Overall, it’s been a successful trip, with regard to clearing my head and relaxing.

While I’m not sure what kind of “renewed focus” or inspiration I’ve gained – you can stick that mumbo-jumbo where the sun doesn’t shine. I’m too busy doing nothing in a place where the sun shines until it doesn’t – and all in perfect view at the Lizard.

Perhaps that’s the new focus I’ve gained: the end of the quixotic view of my career. It’s a job, not life, despite the relative lack of the latter in contemporary terms. It’s what I do, not what I am.

1:06 p.m. – TBS is showing the movie “Groundhog Day,” which is funny. And ironical. The last three days for me have been exactly the same, save for the “I Got You Babe” playing on the radio alarm clock every morning at 6 a.m.

5:11 p.m. – Got a little bit of sun today. Forgot that SPF 4 isn’t as strong as SPF 15. Matty got in around 2:15, just in time for us to make the short trek from the dock to Lloyd’s to see the Patriots select Jerod Mayo.

Ordered up a little American meal and could hear the rockets’ red glare and the bunches of bombs in the air when we got our wings, cheeseburgers, fries, and beers while the NFL Draft was on. America, Shampoo Yeah.

On the topic of red glare – I got some sun today. Did I already mention that? And I’m headed to the Lizard for the Sunset thing. Sorry, Groundhog Day.

9:18 p.m. – Back to Lloyd’s for a few drinks and dinner, then to the Oceanside for karaoke night and the Caye Caulker dance party. I’m starting to fade a bit, as the sun zapped me pretty good. I’ll find a second wind. I’ve…got to, mister.

Lloyd’s is your typical sports bar. Lots of sports shit on the walls, NHL (it is a Canadian place), and t-shirts from different teams, all signed by the folks who “donated” them. I must send a shirt from the current place. We need some rep down there.

The Oceanside (or is it Oceanview? I have no idea) has a sand floor, a larger wooden square in the corner for dancing, some pokeys in the other corner, and some cheesy signs behind the bar. (example – a play on Dr. Seuss with “Slammed, I am.) This place – or any other bar, for that matter – can’t hold the proverbial jock of TC’s Lounge in the Hub. But I digress.

I’m an unabashed fan of karaoke nights. I’ve even been known to perpetrate some vocal stylings from time to time. But what I love the most is the sheer, unadulterated material it provides me. The snarky, cynical, sarcastic side of me comes out in full force. So buckle up.

9:23 p.m. – Someone just sang m-f “Sweet Caroline.” Followed by…John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

I hate the 8th inning at Fenway Park, when 37k Mass-holes sing that g-d m-f song, and they turn down the volume so the folks who got to the beer vendors a half-inning earlier can slur “SO GOOD…SO GOOD…SO GOOD” loudly with the rest of the folks in the bleachers.

On the topic of “Imagine,” I remember vividly being at the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 when they had a fantastic exhibit on John Lennon. It began with a paper bag from the hospital, tagged with Lennon’s clothes at the time of his shooting. It also had a pair of round, blood-stained, wire-rimmed glasses. Quite moving for the first part of the exhibit.

Throughout the displays, most of it donated by Yoko Ono, it was one amazing thing after one amazing thing. (example: Lennon wrote “Across the Universe” on the back of an envelope.) And throughout the time in the hall, they played classic Lennon tunes.

But when it got to “Imagine,” it was near the end. Everyone in the hall stopped what they were doing and looked around at each other. I filled up. My g-f at the time did too. Chain reaction. Niagara Falls. I think of that moment every time I hear the song.

Except for the time that the karaoke DJ in at the Oceanside/view sang it. I still wanted to cry, but for a whole bunch of different reasons.

9:37 p.m. – Cue up the “Junior Prom Night” portion of tonight’s karaoke presentation. “Wonderful Tonight,” followed a large Samoan woman (is that redundant?) singing a country music ditty called “Sad Movies Always Make Me Cry.”

One of the inexplicable Belizean traditions is their love of bad American country music.

9:41 p.m. – I had to use the restroom. And in my time in the loo, a wounded jackalope entered the bar and put Whitney Houston’s entire catalog on queue. “Saving All My Love,” followed by “Where Do Broken Hearts Go.”

After a second bullet hit the wounded jackalope, it went straight to “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”

9:57 p.m. – Spider (my name for him), the toothless bar vagrant from Lloyd’s, went back-to-back and belly-to-belly with “New York, New York” and “After the Lovin’.” (file that under “shit you just can’t make up). He is much better at crooning than he is at flossing. About nine other Peace Corps volunteers had made a weekend trip out to Caulker, and met up with Matt and me. Good folks. Call it “shore leave” for the kids.

10:11 p.m. – Couples only for the next 20 minutes… Someone sang a rendition of “My Heart Will Go On” so bad, the bartenders turned on the television so people could watch “Real Sex” on HBO. Caye Caulker had just become Mos Eisley.

After that, a gringa sang the Lonestar wedding classic “Amazed” and did a nice job with it. I think if someone sings “In Your Eyes,” I’m going to find a fat-bottomed girl to slow dance with. They do make the rockin’ world go ‘round, you know.

10:33 p.m. – A dreadlocked local is absolutely killing on Bob Marley’s “War.” Matt says to me, “wow, he’s good.” My response, “well if this was H-O-R-S-E night, LeBron would be pretty good, too.” I’m not sure if that’s insensitive, but it sure seemed funny at the time.

10:39 p.m. – Ten Peace Corps volunteers in a bar and “We Are the World” comes on. No, there’s no punchline.

11 p.m. – What’s worse than hearing “Sweet Caroline?” Hearing it twice.

11:10 p.m. – Welcome to the Luther Vandross hour. Nothing like “Dance with My Father” to just get the bar into a frothy effing frenzy.

11:26 p.m. – The Swedish Bikini team is belting out some Abba tune. Stockholm, stand up.

12:08 a.m. – The DJ turned down my request to do a Lil’ Jon song. Said the queue was too backed up. I just don’t think he could’ve handed me doing “Get Low.”

I’m not sure I could’ve handled it. But I’d have given it the old college try…from the window, to the walls.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
  Day 10 - Belize Blog
April 25

5:26 p.m. – Back at the Lizard after a very relaxing day. Got in a little early a.m. SportsCenter. Got in some sun on the pier. Got some hammock time and some reading in on Mara’s dock. Got some pick-up basketball (and a makeshift clinic) in. Got some napping in. And now I’m back on the horse.

Nothing terribly exciting happened today – and it’s exactly as planned.

There’s a newly married couple here taking sunset photos (awwww, sweet). There’s also some topless woman frolicking in the water (ummmm, not as sweet). Put the top back on, toots.

6:31 p.m. – Met a very nice couple from Montana – originally from the greater Milwaukee metropolitan area. Shared a few stories, most of which eminated from Water Street. Go figure.

6:50 p.m. – Bye bye sun, hello hunger. Heading to Don Corleone’s. Now, you wouldn’t seem to think that Caye Caulker = Federal Hill, but everything I’ve read leading up to this trip says that this restaurant is the bee’s knees.

As I mentioned, today was a very relaxing, care-free day. And I tried to do, for lack of a better term, American stuff. SportsCenter, relaxing, a few beers, and now, Italian food.

Went with the large insalada and the shrimp fra diavolo over linguine (the menu was even in Italian…which was fine, because if you live in Rhode Island, you can speak Italian – at least, the swear words).

As I took out the notebook in front of the owner, I think it may have scared her. Am I a food critic? A travel writer? A CIA operative? Whatever it is, I got a few refills on the cuba libre and the bread basket. I’ll continue to write my nonsense, perhaps I’ll get comped.

7:01 p.m. – Salad was delicious. The owner brought it to the table. I’m riding this travel writer/CIA spook thing as far as it takes me.

7:19 p.m. – The pasta dish did not disappoint. Fresh fra diavalo sauce, fresh shrimp, al dente pasta, and a nice, late burn with the spices. Exactly how I like it – BAM! (I also watched some Emeril during lazy American day) No complaints at all.

7:50 p.m. – It’s trivia night at Lloyd’s. It’s also half-price on local rum drinks, so Team TLBR joined the fray. Hung in there until the end, where I blew it on the bonus round and lost all my points. The choice is have another rum and diet and watch the hockey, or call it an early night. I chose the latter. There’s bound to be a movie on back at the crib.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
  Day Nine - Belize Blog
April 24

9:32 a.m. – I’m on the water taxi to Caye Caulker. I’m leaving La Isla Bonita for La Isla, um, something. I think I just saw Whitey Bulger.

10:37 a.m. – Ok, so we’ve established that San Pedro (La Isla Bonita) was gorgeous. Welcome to Caye Caulker. The “downside,” according to some folks, is that Caulker is boring. Ok, so what’s the problem? Found a spot across from the hotel and – wow – this place is nice. It’s a small island, about four miles by less than a mile, so I’ll be doing some walking today. Got the last room at Mara’s Place, so the luck is growing by the minute.

In front of Mara’s, my man Kent is selling some of his handicrafts. Necklaces, masks, and other stuff…none of which I have much interest in. He approached me and started talking about some of his relationship problems and how he views the differences between men and women. All this while wearing a Conrad McRae jersey. Men are from Mars, Women from Venus. (RIP, McNasty…too soon…)

1 p.m. – Took a little catnap in the room, then ventured out to sit on the pier by the calm Caribbean. It’s just me, my thoughts, my trusty notebook, and a book that I’m close to finishing (finally). That is, until two little kids thought it was fine time to start a cannonball contest. Terrific. Time to regroup. Time for lunch.

(Stewed chicken, rice, beans, cole slaw, Belikin. Lather, rinse, repeat)

Since the isle is small and easy to maneuver, I decided I’d take some photos with the trusty digital camera.

1:44 p.m. – Found a sports bar on the island. And they have NESN. I scribbled a makeshift resignation letter, took an empty Belikin bottle, and sent it on its way to Kingston.

2 p.m. – Executive decision just made: there’s no point in leaving before Monday. Water taxi to San Pedro at some point, 3 p.m. boat back to Corozal. Island living in between.

2:24 p.m – The Sox are losing to the Angels. The Backstreet Boys are on the jukebox (that makes you larger than life…). Normally, either one of those two situations would set me off.

2:30 p.m. – One of the other TV’s here at Lloyd’s has ESPNU and NCAA men’s gymnastics. Who knew? Why bother? Who is watching that shit? Just met Lloyd, the proprietor of this fine establishment. He claims to have the best food on the island. Well, I’m a tough critic and have no interest in pub food. But good on you for a little self-promotion, Lloyd.

He said to come back for the hockey game(s) tonight. Sorry, but I think I’ll be washing my hair.

5:17 p.m. – A nice, refreshing shower, some SportsCenter, and then off to dinner. Not sure what’s on the menu. I suppose I should take Lloyd at his word, right?

5:41 p.m. – But first, I headed next door to the Lazy Lizard – a place that touts itself as a sunny place for shady people. It’s where the shady people also come to watch a nifty sunset every night.

There’s a boat docked out back of the Lizard, which is located right on the Split (in 1961, Hurricane Hattie split the island in two…we’re located on the South end.). The boat had a great sign on the side of it: Great People Talk About Ideas; Normal People Talk About Things. And then there’s Salt n’ Pepa. They talked about sex.

6:12 p.m. – Ok, literally, if you turned away for 5-10 seconds while the sun started setting, you missed it. Oh well, I missed it. There will be other sunsets. The sun will come out tomorrow. I’ll bet my bottom Belizean dollar. If it doesn’t, then it would suck.

6:57 p.m. – Lloyd may have oversold his claim, but it was solid. Had the jalapeno pasta – essentially penne with vodka sauce and jalapenos. However, Bill Raftery doing the Magic/Raptors game is the best thing cooking anywhere in the world.

Met a nice group of Canadians – all from Vancouver – who were there for the hockey. I stayed for the hockey, too. (I washed my hair, but didn’t use conditioner).

8:58 p.m. – Icing call. Time to head back toward Mara’s and the Lizard. This will be the tipping point – early to bed or head to karaoke night.

The Lizard has a poster hanging up called “Beerdrinking”- a play off the opening monologue by Marc Renton in the movie “Trainspotting.” What a brilliant movie that was. I think someone stole my DVD copy of it back at Iona.

9:47 p.m. – Just met Harry, the proprietor of the Lizard and the major real estate developer here on Caulker. Some very interesting real estate deals going on here; they all piqued my interest. But something tells me that it’s not good business to buy your second home before you buy your first…

Speaking of home…it’s about that time. Put SportsCenter on the sleep timer, add some rested to my mix of “tanned” and “ready,” and enjoy another day in paradise…
Monday, May 12, 2008
  Day Seven & Eight - Belize Blog
April 22

10:22 a.m. – Late start to the morning, for no other reason other than (finally) sleeping in. Laziness. I prefer “recuperative sleep.”

Matt, Kyle (who’d win first prize in a JD Drew lookalike contest), and myself headed out to purchase the goods for an eggs breakfast. This time, to the benefit and pleasure of my extremities, I did not go habenero. This one was simple – tomatoes and garlic.

Splurged on a gallon of Caribbean Pride orange juice. I used to live on OJ; now, I honestly can’t remember the last time I downed a glass. (I had three at this setting).

11:45 a.m. – Took the 11:45 a.m. to the Belize border. Going to check out this Corozal Free Zone. The bus was an old school bus, retro-fitted with a booming stereo system (insert any sort of ethnic stereotype here) that had some real festive trumpet music cooking. I’m ready to get up and dance…but not with the smelly folks behind me.

1:29 p.m. – The Free Zone is perhaps the world’s largest flea market for knockoffs. And bad knockoffs, at that. At least on Canal Street, you can get away with the Coach bag or Patek Phillipe watch.

One store had legit – and pretty rare – Nikes, but the prices just weren’t right. And they had no interest in haggling with the gringo. So, short of getting a few stamps in the passport, the Free Zone was a waste of time.

It’s getting a wee bit warm out, so I think the hammock, some reading, and jotting down some notes are all in order. Looking forward to heading off to the Cayes tomorrow. Need some beach and island living, bwoyee (my first attempt at speaking creole – one of the three languages spoken in Belize).

4 p.m. – Grabbed a little dinner to go from Patty’s Bistro. This little gem was highly rated on all the websites and in the trusty sidekick guide book. Went with the spaghetti & meatballs. Not a dish you’d think would be outstanding in Corozal, Belize, but it did not disappoint. Just needed a change from stewed chicken and rice & beans.

They also let you sign the walls of the restaurant, so I gave the website a plug on a blank spot up by the clock.

April 21

The April 21 entry had been previously posted. To go to that post, titled "From Chicken Heads to Betting on Chickens," click the link below:
Friday, May 09, 2008
  Taking a Break from Belize
Got this link sent to me by a long-time friend and TLBR reader.

It's wild, especially if you've ever been to Georgetown University. Even if you haven't, enjoy.

  Day Six - Belize Blog
April 21 had been previously posted on TLBR - http://tlbr.blogspot.com/2008/04/belize-navidad.html

But here is where that post left off...

4:37 p.m. – I think my hands have returned to 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Finally. Did a little bit of lunch: pork, rice & beans, cole slaw. For like $3. Also indulged in a few of Belize’s finest (and only) beer – Belikin. It makes Meister Brau taste like Sam Adams. Lighthouse Lager, another Belikan product, is only slightly better tasting.

Two of Matt’s Peace Corps comrades – Rebecca and Chanda – joined us for lunch. They took the day off of work and decided to join us for some beverages, as well. (Peace Corps=R.I. State Employees). All we need now is some Jimmy Cliff on the iTunes.

6:04 p.m. – Made my first official Third World beer and nacho run. Same basic premise. Belikin officially blows, but I’m still officially drinking it. But the nacho chips? They’re the truth. Very fresh. Still warm in the bag.

Matt played Doctor in the living room – someone had a splinter or something. They’ve been sharing parasite stories – their own and others. If end up with a worm out of this trip, I think I’ll name it Ralph.

6:35 p.m. – Continuing with the storytelling hour, it proved another of my theories and unknown phenomena. Anytime there are four or more Caucasians drinking beer and listening to music together, inevitably, the Shins end up playing.

7:19 p.m. – I also believe that if you want to learn a lot about someone, check through the songs on his or her iPod. Matt has Denise Williams’ “Let’s Hear it for The Boy” on his iPod. That tells me more than I need to know.

8:30 p.m. – When you’re lost in the rain in Juarez and it’s Easter time, too…or if you’re in Corozal and it’s Monday and you have a King’s Share of fresh nacho chips, rum and diet coke, and Bob Dylan…

I’ve taken over as the DJ. Welcome to Music 101, my good friends in Belize. Here’s Elvis Costello & The Attraction’s “Brilliant Mistake.

9:51 p.m. – I’m becoming a fan of rum and coke. Never liked it before.

10:47 - Another Peace Corps volunteer - Kyle - joined the party and provided me with one heck of a story, to be told here at a later time... (that's what those professional media types call a "tease.")
TLBR will be taking the weekend off because it's Mother's Day weekend and I'm Union. No double-time and a half and another day off for the blogging world.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
  Day Five - Belize Blog
April 20

8:30 a.m. – Another solid six hours of sleep and I’m back on the beach, catching the last few moments and scenes of the Mayan Riviera.

Today, we’re heading out of Mexico and into Belize, where the bulk of the trip will take place. I’ll be able to set up base at Matty’s place in Corozal, and branch out from there. Best of all, no more lugging Clifford the Big Red Bag around.

I have a whole lot of nothing planned for the next two days or so, and it looks like there will be a mid-week trip out to the Cayes (a.k.a. Keys). Matt will be at a Peace Corps conference, so I’ll have the choice of going back inland to meet him or staying on the islands.

So far, the whole trip has been compartmentalized (if that’s not a word, it is now). Different towns, different parts of town, different parts of Mexico, different expectations. Belize will be yet another different locale. But the highlight? English is the primary language. They speak the English. I speak the English. You like a the juice? The juice is good, eh?

Another major highlight: Matt has ESPN non-deportes and a hammock on his porch. I brought six books with me. Have yet to really crack into any of them.

12:09 p.m – The noon-time bus to Chetumal, Mexico (the border town to BZE) was nine minutes late and smells like piss.

This piss-smelling trip should take 2+ hours.

The movie on the trip is “Fearless,” starring Jet Li, who begins the movie as a Chinese rice farmer who turns into an ass-kicking Chinese rice farmer. Compelling and rich.

1:23 p.m. – Just took a catnap, woke up, and yep – still smells like piss.

2:16 p.m. – The piss smell has temporarily been replaced by the smell of someone eating a banana (that shit is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s) and the equally as nauseating “Invincible,” starring Marky Mark.

3:47 p.m. – We lucked out and was able to find a Corozal express bus. Matty says it saves us some planes, trains and automobiles to get to the border (actually, it saves us waiting for a cab then waiting for another cab). I think it’s just good luck bestowed upon us due to my sunny disposition on life.

4:15 p.m. – The bus driver informed us that we will be taking a minor pitstop. He needs to eat. I could stand to eat too. And what better place than Restaurant Mike? I looked in my Zagat’s guide and, well, ok, I’m lying. But I’m quite sure it’ll be the Smith & Wollensky’s of Chetumal.

5:22 p.m. – My main man Mike did up the charcoal-grilled pork just right. Tender, spicy, and lean. We met a very nice couple from Canada on the bus and they joined us for dinner. Two nurses from Vancouver, they were fantastic folks who had just come from Havana. They showed us their photos and to say “I’m jealous” would be the understatement of the trip so far.

I need to get there.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
(more from April 19...forgot to cut and paste this...)

10:41 p.m. – Trying to do some quick, Full Moon math. Which number is higher: the number of miles I’ve walked or beers I’ve consumed? It’s probably 6-2-and-even.

Trying to muster up a second wind, but after a day with about 12 beers consumed and 12 miles walked, that’s becoming awfully difficult.

11:15 p.m – I think I’m not up to five yawns in the last five minutes.

12:24 a.m. – Still at the Full Moon party and – quite frankly – I feel crippled by my lack of Spanish. Seriously, it feels like one of those silent retreats. Would that make me the Dalai Lama? (big hitter, the Lama)

Allow me to paint the picture of this place. Beachside hotel/resort/with bar. It’s a round building, with an upstairs, a deck, and a downstairs. Tons of people everywhere, techno music, and short of two dogs that got angry with each other after a full inventory of smelling each other’s dog parts, everyone is in a good mood.

Quite frankly, this could never work in the U.S. People would fighting at the bar, talking too loud, pissing in the sand, and just making all-around asses of themselves.

And the worst part about the Berlin Wall of language? There’s a hippie chick sitting with her other hippie friends and they’re all playing drums. And I’d like to ask them: why the shampoo did you bring a drum to Full Moon beach techno party? I think it is “Quando esta stupido? Taco.”

12:42 a.m. – Ok, I’m still baffled as to why you bring the drum…but at least you can play it. Why do you also bring your emaciated dog? Why do you not feed your dog? Shampoo this, time to go home. And I’m not friggin’ walking…
  Days Three & Four - Belize Blog
April 18

12:29 p.m. – After a relatively early wakeup after a relatively late evening, we ran out for some coffee and then checked out of the Presidente. A very nice spot, thanks to the good folks at Priceline.com.

We caught a city bus (autobus centro?) to downtown Cancun. If you’ve been there, you’ll know the difference between the Hotel Zone and the Downtown area.

Hotel zone = Florida. Downtown = Grand Concourse.

There were no chickens on the bus, but there was a elderly man playing the accordion (see left). Matty tells me the song is Senorita Linda, a famous, um, accordion song.

1:09 p.m. – At a Mexican (no shit) restaurant a few blocks from the bus station (estacion autobus). What did you expect, Panda Express? The cantina has a telenovella on – El Diablo y Los Guapos (the Devil and the Handsome). It’s really good, despite being in a language I’m not so good in. Compelling and rich.

Once again, Ron’s coming. It’s the Enchilada breakfast. We do it every day.

2:05 p.m. – We’re on the bus to Tulum. Matt looked and me and summed up exactly what I’ve been thinking since I woke up: “I’m a catastrophe.” But we’re vertical and moving.

Now, the urban legend about Mexican buses is that they’re notoriously cold. I’m in pants and a long sleeve, but it doesn’t seem bad, regardless. But we were rolling First Class. The second class buses are meat lockers.

4:06 p.m. – I think the bus just hit a guy. I was napping and then we came to an abrupt halt, sat there for close to an hour, and the police were all around.

6:03 p.m. – Arrived in Tulum and, unlike the hotel zone in Cancun – and even the Cancun centro area – Tulum is very, um, Mexico. The accommodations we procured at the Hotel Familiar Maya are quite different than the InterContinental. Hell, any place that’s about $17.50 USD (for two people) is what it is. It did have cable, though.

The plans for the night was feeding and rest. Rather than going Mexican again, we found an intriguing Italian place on Blvd. Tulum. Nero di Sole was outstanding. I’d put it on par with any Italian joint I’ve been to in the states. Homemade pasta, wood-grilled oven. Went with a thin crust pizza and a pasta dish. Plus a few Sols and it ended up just under $20 USD.

8:30 p.m. – Welcome to being officially old. It’s ESPN Deportes, reading, and snoring. In that order. Need to have rest for the Mayan Riviera.

April 19

5:45 a.m. – WTF am I doing up? I am refreshed, though, I’m not dead. I feel happy. I think I’ll go for a walk.

6:30 a.m. – I’m walking. To where, at the crack of dawn in Tulum, Mexico, I haven’t a clue. I’ll know when I get there.

7:37 a.m. – Still walking. It’s been an hour. The sun has come out and, walking next to the freshly laid asphalt on Boca Paila Road, it’s beginning to get warm. I needed to, um, make a pot…so I stopped at this gorgeous resort hotel/spa. The giant steel gates didn’t look particularly friendly, but they were open.

Since I don’t share the same, um, demographic as some of the locals, many of the hotel staffers just assumed that I was a hotel guest out for a leisurely stroll.

I was. Except, I’m a guest of the Hotel Familiar Maya – of the $17 quid a night Hotel Familiar Maya family. This place looked like it was $17 for a bottle of water.

Que es el bano? Gracias.

8:01 a.m. – I walked from the Hotel Familiar Maya to Luna Maya, our accommodations for the night. The literal translation is from Hotel to Moon (Maya). It’s a long way from our hotel to the moon. The walk was only slightly shorter.

I’m now sitting on a beach chair, with the sun blaring down on me and my cup of coffee. I feel like Thoreau, except not surrounded by trees in Central Mass. I’m on the Mayan shampooing Riviera, with a breathtaking seascape. You know those wave machines that were all the rave in the late 1990’s? They were like 200 clams at Sharper Image or Brookstone. Forget that, just sleep with your windows open out here.

8:19 a.m. – The average adult male body is made up of 60% water. Yet still, we sit here in awe of the beauty, majesty, and power of something that makes up the majority of our being. That was your TLBR moment of zen, brought to you by a bunch of realtors in Tulum.

9:58 a.m. – You know what sucks about walking for an hour-plus to get somewhere? You have to walk an hour-plus back. Plus, at this time of day, it’s just short of London Broil on the Boca Paila. I stopped at the midway bodega and got a bottle of agua. I’m not even sure my body held onto it.

11:05 a.m. – The restaurant attached to the Hotel Familiar Maya was playing Robbie Williams’ “The Ego Has Landed,” perhaps because they thought the gringos would enjoy it. This gringo did.

Matt continued to converse in Spanish with the waiter and I continued to try to follow along. I’m getting better. However, call it a miracle of convenience, I tend to order very similar dishes.

I like enchiladas verde. A lot. And I like beer. And I can order them, no problem. So welcome back to the enchilada breakfast. We do it everyday.

By the way, I walked about 6 shampooing miles today. When we get to Luna Maya, my tukkis is going to be parked in one of the seaside hammocks, with a copy of The Economist and Sports Illustrated to digest.

During my “Stop…hammock time,” it was also, coincidentally, Happy Hour. So while I’d gently be rocking to and fro, reading about everything from Mario Chalmers to the effect that bio-fuels are having on the price of wheat, I was sampling several different Mexican cervezas: Modelo, Leon, Victoria, Sol. All tasty, all 2-for-1, at about two bucks apiece.

I skipped lunch, on account of the enchilada breakfast, so enjoyed a granola bar and a nap in a hammock, and Jay-Z on the iPod. In fact, I felt like Jay-Z.

7:55 p.m. – Ok, the internal daily pedometer is up to about 10 miles. Matty and I walked down the other end of the Tulum Riviera, in search of some ruins. We didn’t get to the ruins, they were closed (it was kind of like Florida being closed, to be honest).

We did, however, find a beachfront palapa that served beer. It was open. And not a total surprise to you, I’m sure. An interesting crowd, there were us two U.S. folk, the two local bartenders, two female patrons from Montreal, and an English bloke trying waaaaaaay too hard.

The bartenders spoke Spanish, the girls followed along but chatted among themselves in French. The limey spoke the Queen’s English. We speak our kind of talk.

The girls were manning the iPod, playing their favorite tunes, and had some great choices: Manu Chou, Janis Joplin (even thought I find her terribly overrated), Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, and the Beatles.

Tonight, there’s a Full Moon party, on account of the Full Moon (go figure).

10:32 p.m. – Just saw the first official SFA of the trip. And in case you’re wondering, SFA= Stupid *expletive deleted* American.

He didn’t even try to speak Spanish when ordering four Corona and then gave the Spanish-speaking bartender and his female friend who tried to interpret shit for not speaking English.

Hey d-bag, remember that little thing you had to do at the airport? You know, with your passport and the guy in the uniform asking you how long you’d be in Mexico and what the purpose of your trip was? Remember that?

Well that process is called “immigration.” And when you go through said process, it means you’re in a different shampooing country. In some countries, you can go there, walk up to the bar, and order four beers – Molsons, Guinnesses (or is it Guinnii?), Boag’s, etc. Some countries, you might have to learn three or four words to get a Peroni, Sapporo, or Kronenbourg.

The Full Moon party is at a place called Ohm. Ohm is in Mexico. So guess what, idiot, they don’t speak shampooing English or even shampooing idiot English. Make the effort. (This is also the first happenstance of what has been referred to as “an international bitterness situation.”)

10:41 p.m. – Trying to do some quick, Full Moon match. Which number is higher: the number of miles I’ve walked or beers I’ve consumed? It’s probably 6-2-and-even.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
  Day Two - Belize Blog
April 17

8 a.m. – Wake up, sun rise, and I’m nice and rested. Matty arrived around 3 a.m. and while I did wake up to say hello, I returned to my puddle of drool on the pillow. Clicked on the TV and tuned into a Mexican cartoon channel. It was a little strange seeing Daffy Duck, yet hearing a dubbed voice in Spanish (without a lisp). But, ironically enough, the role of Speedy Gonzalez was not dubbed. I believe he is a national hero.

9:38 a.m. – “Any party favors, guys?” Consider that the second offer of drugs for the day for las gringos.

9:52 a.m. – Breakfast time. Coffee…and chicken enchiladas. I am going to get used to this.

10:23 a.m. – Seriously, these are the best enchiladas verde I’ve ever eaten. And it’s phenomenal coffee. “No, Ron’s coming. It’s the enchilada breakfast. We do it every month.”

11:27 a.m. – Just saw the inspiration for Tony Montana’s house.

12:29 p.m. – Just past noontime…which means it’s prime time for a Hurricane (aka – the beginning of the end). But shampoo it. We’ve walked about 3.5-4 miles this a.m., so consider it hydration. Plus, I get to cross off another Patty O’s off the list.

On the TV screens, they were playing the live U2 Elevation tour DVD. Next door, at one of those soulless American chain restaurants – Applebee’s, Bubba Gump’s, whatever – Billy Ocean’s Caribbean Queen was audible. So far, DJ’s in Cancun get an A+ in my book.

12:55 p.m. – Lucky Star by Madonna. 4.0 GPA.

1:11 p.m. – Matt and I have just solved pretty much all of the world’s problems and answered the questions that, for most of eternity, have been enigmas. You’re welcome.

Now, I’ve been trying to think in Spanish, yet I keep reverting to my training in French. After Hurricane #2, if I start picking up Arabic, call the authorities.

Matt, by virtue of where he is and what he is doing speaks Spanish pretty well. It’s a far cry from our college days when, trying to speak with a beautiful, supermodel-esque female from Ecuador, we hit a brick wall of language. But he now makes every effort to speak the local tongue and I think it’s probably a good idea if I try to as well.

Here, since it’s touristy, they speak some English. But hell, if you’re in another country, make an effort. It’s only proper.

2 p.m. – David, the waiter, thought it would be a good idea to send the attractive hostess out to sit with us. She didn’t speak English, I don’t speak Spanish. That was fruitful.

2:07 p.m. – Matt returns from the bathroom. He speaks Spanish. She speaks Spanish. I now have a zero Q rating.

2:47 p.m. – Senor Froggs next. I needed to relieve myself, so we stopped into this bastion of tourism. And, well, we probably needed to have a drink. So we did: two small garbage cans filled with Sol. I’m going to be fluent in something by the end of these, I reckon.

2:57 p.m. – Seriously, these beers are the size of Michigan. Donde esta la piscine? O guess what, I talk Spanish good now.

3:24 p.m. – Jimmy Cliff’s “The Harder they Come” on the airwaves (prophetic?) and another great conversation with Matty. Any remaining world problems/mysteries were taken care of.

8:01 p.m. – Took a dip in the ocean, pool, and pond (pond would be good for you…). Then finished in the whirlpool. Hace frio, but nice nonetheless.

Since our desayuno was liquid, we needed a proper dinner. So we headed to the Taco Factory for…you guessed it. I took 7.6 seconds to find my poison: pastor style pork tacos. I put on a little too much of the green pepper sauce. I think it could fuel a small New Hampshire town. It was a little hot. And by a little, I mean saying the F word repeatedly.

9:45 p.m. – Senor Froggs, and we skip the line. Rolling right along, we thought it was karaoke night. It was not. The bar smelled like puke and 18 year old sin. Quick departure.

11:22 p.m. – Landed at La Ciudad. Ordered two Corona’s, got four. Cue up the inner Chris Tucker: Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?

Apparently we’re VIP. I tried to explain to them who I was, and more in the reverse fashion: no, I’m just a gringo in a gray t-shirt. I guess that qualifies. I’m more curious to see who they’re rejecting.

12:08 a.m. – Please stop playing “Bring ‘Em Out.” Forever. Please play more Kanye. Thanks.

12:44 a.m. – Sleepy time for me. Taxi, please. And just a taxi. No whores, coke, or splitting aces.
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? http://tlbr.blogspot.com/2006/04/opening-day-then-and-now.html

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…
Thursday, May 01, 2008
  Univision - Television for People with One Eye

Busy transcribing the notebook, so apologies for the delay in putting stuff up. In the meantime, feel free to click on the above video to see what kind of television I've been watching the last few...

A daily - or every-other-day - account of all there is in my head
that's dying to get out, via my fingers.
(I vow to attack this endeavor with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind.)

05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 / 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 / 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 / 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 / 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 / 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 / 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 / 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 / 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 / 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 / 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 / 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 / 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 / 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 / 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 / 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 / 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 / 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 / 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 / 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 / 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 / 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 / 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 / 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 / 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 / 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 / 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 / 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 / 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 / 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 / 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 / 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 / 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 / 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 / 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 / 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 / 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 / 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 / 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 / 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 / 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 / 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 / 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 / 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 / 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 / 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 / 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 / 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 / 04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010 / 05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010 / 06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010 / 07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010 / 08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010 / 05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011 / 09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011 /

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