Day 4 - Wednesday 10/28/15
Belize is so, so very warm.
After exploring Roatan and getting a little tipsy with a local, today’s goals are really quite low; get our passports stamped and just chill. Of course, this requires a little more effort since Belize is the first (and only) port to require a tender. What’s a tender? The water is too shallow at the shore of Belize so small commuter boats are needed to taxi us over. Those boats are tenders. You could either get a ticket for a tender and get to shore early, or just wait until all the early risers are off and take one of the extras later in the morning. We’re the lazy kind this trip.
Finally hitching a ride just before new, in the distance are at least two other visible cruise ships. Belize is clearly a popular destination. Sandwiched by a Carnival and Royal Caribbean, 30 of us cram in the small tender and aim it towards the island noise.
The first thing noticeable by anyone with sweat glands is that it’s so very hot out. The humidity is everglades thick and our shirts are damp before we even get to land. Once there, it’s kind of like a higher class of spring break. Shopping and drinking is the way of it this close to the shore. Further inland is history, culture, and beautiful sites, but today we only have the time and energy for a few beers and slow wifi.
We found a small, quieter bar in the middle of an unkempt garden. Two buckets of beers between the four of us, and it’s time to go. The heat is so oppressive that it’s difficult to enjoy just sitting there and people watching. I mean, after five minutes the bucket of ice housing our beers is a small pool of water.
After a brief few moments of wifi (just long enough to order a vinyl pressing of Army of Darkness from Mondo and check my email - priorities), we decide to make the trip back to the boat for heat/alcohol-induced naps. The week is starting to catch up to us; tanks are a little less full to start the day and fuel being spent faster in the sun. Energy is a high commodity on this kind of vacation. Just over half way through the week and the wan of if is starting to catch up.
Of course, when we get tired, we get irritated with one another, which is to be expected with family. I bicker with my sister on occasion, but it lasts moments and then we’re making fart jokes like four-year-olds. Sometimes we’re quick to snap, but it never seems to stick for too long.
We end the day with dinner and drinks with our cruise compatriots. A wanting to rally is expressed, but just doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Everyone seems to be in need of a little re-charge.
We have dinner in the Versailles dining hall with our friends; Anna, Nelson, Kat, Eddie, and Ron - all great characters. The clichés are real and we’ve made great cruise friends.
After dinner, some of the group take in a stage show, a musical journey depicting one couple’s love story, told through the lyrics of Burt Bacharach (I can’t make that up). I decide to skip in lieu of some time to read and/or write. I wander around the boat a bit, looking for a place to sit with my computer. No such luck at this hour due to all the entertainers and drinkers in every corner. After 40 minutes of tooling about, looking for the right spot, I finally just ran into my family coming out of the show. An unsuccessful search for some solace resulted in finding loved ones. Message received.
We have a cocktail or two together and call it a night.
Day 5 - Thursday 10/29/15.
Costa Maya bound, bitches!
… Is it possible that it’s even more humid and hot than yesterday? Yes. The answer is a shitty yes.
Costa Maya is a quick jaunt off the boat. We’re steaming up and really just wanted to stick close to the boat. The four of us (Mom, Dad, Sunni, and I) disembark and wait for the little shuttle that takes us down the pier. I know, you hear the word pier and you think, “you can’t walk that?” The pier to shore is a roughly three or four football field long journey with no respite from the burning sun.
We enter the port area and it’s really just a tourist’s bazaar; jewelry, hats, drinks, and sugar skulls of all sizes and color (Now in NFL teams!). After getting our passports stamped, we walk around for a little and take care of souvenirs. We’ve been oscillating between drinking and sweating for the last four days, so good purchasing decisions are harder to come by. You’re dehydrated, pickled, or both… when that’s the case, the old man fedora and the unofficial Chicago Bears Luchardora mask seem like solid purchases.
My sister is adamant about getting wifi so she can download a new book to her Nook. I imagine its something to do with supernatural love stories (I still personally blame her for Twilight). We find a tourist trap with wifi for $10, which isn’t bad if you consider we’ll get about $30 worth of drinks. Nope, a ten spot on top of purchases and only for one device - too late to turn back now. My email will have to wait while she figures out how to purchase and download a book.
In the heat with nothing but my yard of frozen mixed drink to keep me cold, we try to get this darn book to her iPad. The struggle is real.
After the Nook ordeal, we make it back to the boat with our purchases and sweat soaked clothes. Being out in the sun really takes it out of you, faster than any work out. Due to this, naps are in order.
We rise early enough to get ready for our dinner reservations, which are at Le Bistro, the small French restaurant next to the wine cellar on the Deck 6 of the boat. It’s so tucked away that we walked by it multiple times earlier than week and never noticed it. After my father and I being sent back to the room to put on pants (silly dress codes), I enjoyed an amazing meal of muscles and lamb, also tasting the contents of other plates at the table. As much as food is really narrowed in on as an amenity of cruises, it should be said that the quality is there. Sure, there is a place to get pre-frozen pizza at 2AM if that’s your thing, but the quality is all around as well.
The wait staff interrupted the elderly couple sitting next to us, serenading them with a sweet celebratory song. Everyone in the restaurant breaks attention from their plates and shine towards the man and woman. It’s their 58th wedding anniversary tonight and the man presumably asked the staff to make note of it for his wife, who appeared in more deteriorating health than he. Upon completion of the song, the old man gets up from his chair and plants a long kiss on his wife. It was the kind of kiss delivered in parts, interrupted by smiles to one another, communicating, “can you believe this,” with only looks and smirks.
You’d have to be heartless not to smile.
Having already seen the best thing we would’ve all day, the evening was put to an end in similar fashion as the prior - a cocktail and call it a night.