Monday, June 29, 2009

Eighteen Random Things I Learned on Vacation in Belize

1) The mosquitoes, heat, and rain were all grossly exaggerated. The dirt roads, sand fleas, and humidity were not.
2) The national animal of Belize is the tapir. If you've ever seen a tapir, this should tell you a lot about Belize.
3) Conch has a texture like shredded tire tread. All the curry sauce in the world will not change that.
4) When someone tells you that you can walk through the water on the left or swim on the right, he's only talking to the tall. People my height will quickly discover that you will swim either way.
5) Spider monkeys don't look like spiders, nor do howler monkeys howl. It sounds more like the death moan of a toad, and it carries for a long way.
6) The Prime Minister of Belize just drives around in a regular car, and everyone knows what it looks like. This should also tell you a lot about Belize.
7) When you console your insomnia by going outside at five AM to watch the sunrise, you will, sadly, have missed it by a good half hour.
8) The fact that neither tarantulas nor scorpions are poisonous doesn't make them any less creepy.
9) You know a country's friendly when the little Guatemalan girls stop peddling their banana cakes and politely ask for a piece of your chocolate instead. And for the record, Guatemalan chocolate is just cocoa and sugar mashed together in a cake.
10) A Long Island Iced Tea contains a crapload of alcohol. That's a technical term, or at least it is after you've drank one.
11) You don't want to know how many spiders are really out in the jungle, especially when you spot them by their little glowing eyes. Imagine all the stars in the sky laid out at your feet. Now put eight long legs on each of them. Yech.
12) Raw chewing gum is nasty. Unless you like crumbly fermented bits. In that case you'll find it delightful.
13) A nurse shark doesn't feel at all like the touch and feel books. It's more like sandpaper.
14) Your transfer driver might look like a seventy-nine year old retiree, but he could also be a decorated officer and former vice-mayor. Again, this should tell you a lot about Belize.
15) When they tell you to continue your hike in your socks so as to preserve the countless Mayan artifacts lying all around you, they're actually serious. You can also count on never wearing that pair of socks again.
16) You apparently don't throw toilet paper into any toilet, flush or not, in Guatemala. There's a trash can for that. And whatever you do, don't look in that trash can.
17) There are also a lot less standards for safety in the third world. You might climb to the top of an enormous ancient Mayan temple to discover that there's a narrow three foot ledge without any bars or wires to keep you from falling to your death. This is information that might be useful to a person scared of heights, preferably before she climbs all the way to the top.
18) You always know you're in for an adventure when the guide brings a machete.


feistywon said...

Good one! Did you really have a Long Island ice tea? If so, I'd give good money to see a tape of that. Even for me, those are strong and my tolerance is a wee bit higher than yours!

Diana said...

I did indeed. I was looking for something with a lot of bang for my bucks. What I got was a evening of head spinning and a shower courtesy of B, who couldn't quite figure out what to do with me when I proclaimed, loudly, that there was no earthly way I could bathe myself. I guess in ten years of marriage I've probably earned a shower.