Saturday, January 19, 2008

You Betta' Belize It!

It should be first and foremost noted that the Belizians have a special way of marketing their brand into multiple slogans. I think "unbelizeable" is a close second to the title I have given this piece. In fact, they even sell T-shirts that simultaneously ask and tell you where the country is.

Marking our 10 year reunion from our student voyage in Fall 1998, a group of friends joined me for four days on the reunion voyage to Belize -- Ishai Setton, Sarah Krancic, and Heather Chotvacs. Other cohorts from our college days were also on the ship, which made for a rocking good time. Especially given Shannon's story about a grandmother she inherited on a previous voyage. I wish she could chime in to tell you the story, but I can tell you that I was laughing and crying -- and that it involved a family paying her $500 against her will to look after her.

Thankfully, my workload was a bit less, so I was actually able to spend some time with them on the ship. Ishai's feature The Big Bad Swim was screened in the union, along with some other alumni filmmakers' projects, so I'm giving a shout out for those that have never seen it. It's big. And it's bad. Netflix it!

Anyhow. We spent most of our time sunning on the deck and frolicing around in the intense winds. We all managed to miss the community college lecture on parasites, though I did catch a few minutes of the "Marrying cousins" debate. Apparently, the belief that marrying cousins can lead to bad things is an American myth. Who knew?

On another note, Ish and Sarah participated in the Sea Olympics, giving the blue team a last place finish in the mashed potato sculpture contest, but Heather brought us a rather strong finish in both the limbo contest and the squat walk. Themes like "people drowning behind the ship" were not what the mashed potato judges were looking for. If only they could've made that clear from the get go. Oh well. I guess it goes without saying since Ish and I spent all of our time shooting the SeaWatch news as students, it came as no surprise to the shipboard community that our sporting team came in last.

For our day in Belize, we decided to head up to Ambergis Caye for some snorkeling and 4x4 golf cart adventure. After figuring out how to put the key in the ignition, Ish lead us around the Caye, taking us past various homes and children in colorful moving cages, until we finally hit a dead end and had to turn around. Our quest for local food led us to a window in a woman's home, where we then parked in front of another restaurant, Big Daddy's, to eat our homemade meal. We were only given one fork, so Sarah and I ate rice and beans with our hands, which took me back to our trip a few years ago to the Dixie Stampede at Dollywood.

There were a lot of sharks on our snorkel trip, which was no surprise since the snorkel master was feeding them. This made Ishai slightly nervous, causing him to step in a large puddle in the street hours later at the mere thought of salt water. Towards the end of the day, we thought nothing could beat our afternoon in Ambergis, until we jumped in a cab in Belize City and asked the driver to take us to "Old Belize." Ishai heard from another passenger that it was the safe and good place to go (As opposed to all of the scary places filled with slime and heathens). I think we were all picturing an old town with cobblestone streets and quaint storefronts a la old Jerusalem. However, we were all equally surprised when we turned into the vacant shipyard and ended up in front of a large wooden sign. Not for a district nor an old village, but for a one-stop tourist stop with a museum, gift shop, and closed water park. I would say it was a bust, except for the fact that the Mr. P's Cashew Wine Ish purchased from the gift shop would keep us up into the wee hours of the night. Whether or not it is made for human consumption, we will never know. Just as we will never know what was on top of the pistachio pudding. But there are some things in life meant to keep you wondering ....

Sarah's Photos
Ishai's Photos
My Photos

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Ishai seems to have a problem with purchasing wine. Remember the bottle of the appropriately-titled "Red Wine" (complete with screw-off cap) that he purchased at that gas station in Jamaica? I still have it, and it takes a place of honor on the top shelf of my wine fridge. In fact, I have offered it to guests at my house, and surprisingly, nobody has tried it yet.
Please, please, please tell me that you purchased the mesh short-shorts with the "unbeliezable" logo! They would look so good on your ass!
It was sad to hear about your mashed potato sculpture finishing last. They didn't like my idea about showing "Titanic" on the ship. I guess they don't have a sense of humor.
Please say hello to Ishai and Sarah for me. Let Sarah know that I made a trip to Boomland last summer, and found a firework the size of a car battery called Uncle Sam's Answer. I miss you, and I wish I could spend some UnBeliezable time with you.