Saturday, March 06, 2010 10:38 AM
Boogie in Belize - Part 1
A few weekends ago, the Kinnon clan decided last minute to take an impromptu trip to San Pedro, Belize. The impetus for this trip was the Boogie in Belize, an annual gathering of skydivers from all over the world who take to the sky over Ambergris Caye to hurl themselves out of perfectly good airplanes and plummet to earth. Our good pal Mitch was to participate in this exciting event and had convinced Rob's sister, Jill, to join in. Certainly, we could not miss out on the fun, so, Friday morning, we all jammed into the Expedition and made our way south to Belize.
In the family truckster!
The drive down was uneventful, as expected. We met up with our driver on the Chetumal side and parked in a local family's yard for the weekend, an arrangement made for us by our preferred transfer guy, Henry Menzies. All was going along smoothly until we hit customs. Turns out "Mother and Father of the Year" Kinnon had neglected to renew their darling childrens' passports. They had expired in.....wait for it.... November. Whoops! How did we miss that? Well, a few mea culpas, a discussion with a nice border officer, some name dropping, forms filled out and $100 deposit later we were across the border and on our way to the airstrip. "No problem, mon!" Did I mention I love Belize.
Crop circles? No, Orchid Bay!
The flight across to the island was lovely and we had gotten a screaming good deal by booking through Pedro's Inn. A few minutes later we were back on the ground and inside the shiny new San Pedro terminal. While certainly an improvement over the what was there before, I found myself missing the old clapboard TropicAir shack. Ah well, that's progress for you.
The new San Pedro terminal
Now that IS an improvement.
Usually, when we travel to the island, we stay in a condo at Paradise Villas that is owned by a family from our hometown. They run a free eye clinic for the poor families on the island every year and because of that we like to give them our business. This time, we had just two nights to spend, so we booked some rooms at Pedro's Inn, a budget friendly hotel just south of town. They had carts arranged and ready to go, so we tossed our bags in the rooms and settled in at the bar for our fist Belikins and One Barrels. Mitch, before moving to Playa, spent almost 8 months living on the island and we all share a similar group of friends. It was nice for all of us to be back together and hanging out.
Pedro's Hotel and Inn
Mitch and Peter
The kids playing Wii
Tacogirl and Mitch
Me and Tacoboy!
Our host and innkeeper, Peter was of course, there to greet us, Cindy kept us well lubricated at the bar and The Tacos both showed up ready to party! San Pedro is one of the few places where I truly feel like I can take a break and relax and this weekend was to be no exception. We drank our fill at Pedro's then headed into town for a short stop at Cori's new bar Lola. I played a few rounds of Jenga on the bar and retired early with the kids, abandoning all hope for the crew I left behind.
The next day, some of us rose earlier than others, wandering downstairs to share a morning coffee with Cindy in the office. The status of the tandem jumps was still up in the air due to low cloud cover so, as our ragged group finally emerged, we headed off to breakfast at Estel's.
Estel's on the beach
Daddy and Birdie!
Too bad about the view.
For those of you new to "Life's Beach", Estel's is our idea of heaven on earth. Breakfast served all day in a ramshackle building on the beach. Charles, the owner, served up heaping platters of eggs, sausage, grits and fry jacks to a steady crowd from sunrise to late afternoon. While we have had excellent breakfasts in many other joints on the island, we now return time and time again to Estel's. It feels right, it tastes right and it makes us happy. The kids made friends on the beach while we finished our meals still uncertain about the skydiving events for the day. We decided to go up island, past the split and wait for further updates at a place called The Palapa Bar. It was situated at the end of a pier within a shot distance from the drop zone and from there we would be able to watch the solo jumpers scheduled to go that day.
Little drummer boys
Bouncing around in the carts
The Palapa Bar
We spent the rest of the day, floating in inner tubes, sipping on adult beverages and watching the kids play on the dock. The nice owners, Jody and Scott, made sure we were well stocked with cold drinks and delicious conch fritters and we happily frittered away the day, watching group after group plummet to earth and disappear beyond the palm trees just south of us. The highlight of the day: a pod of dolphins passing just a few feet from our floats, trolling the shoreline for fish just inside the reef. It was a wonderful day, although the girls did not get to make their jump, and we went away sun soaked and sleepy. After stopping in for a quick visit with Paul and Cindy, we enjoyed a nice meal at El Patio and went straight back home to bed. I guess we're not as young as we used to be.