Of all the different ways to say that a country is strange. The illusion that it is some sort of magical, different or casually aloof piece of land is truly the way of passing it over; not giving it a second, third or fourth thought. The city is one of the most dastardly places I’ve ever stepped foot in. Belize City used to be the capital until an enormous hurricane swamped it some time back. I admit that which one eludes me, as many have hit the area and I am currently trying to detox myself from the google. If you care that much let me say that many upon many have hit the area within the last half century and they have all left their mark. Anyhow, the City of Belize gave me one grim reminder of a trip I had made to another caved city a couple years prior. It reminded me of walking in Detroit, as in it was a skin crawling kind of atmosphere. In the daytime. When the sun was out and masses and armies of people, I checked my pockets at every corner we turned. Strange to visit here after all the rumour and ‘be careful’s that preceded the touchdown of Mexico City. It was alive though. This is one thing I cannot, and will not debate about the city. My god was it a teeming pisspot of everything and everyone. Being a passenger, half asleep, through the countryside to get there from Mexcio didn’t do much to prepare you for that scene. I don’t mean to make it sound like the worst place in the world, because it wasn’t, that honour for me will always be somewhere in or around the Bible belt of the United States, but I was not ready for it. Luckily there wasn’t much time spent in the cluttering metropolis. After wandering for only a short while in one direction, it was back to the dock to catch the boat to the Cayes, (pronounced keeys), to pay back a girl that helped us cross the border from Mexico and, of course, buy some cigarettes. We walked into the nearest shop and I asked for the cheapest cigarettes the lady had. The woman threw ‘Colonials’ on the counter top in front of me, charging me 3.50 American. Let me say this, of all my travels Colonials are the greatest, cheapest cigarettes I’ve ever had the pleasure of burning into my lungs. I smoked quite a bit of them in the country, much to my and my girl’s chagrin, because isn’t Belize one of the most expensive countries to find yourself in if you’re trying to pinch pennies? I just couldn’t help myself, to be honest. It was like smoking tobacco laced with a Werther’s Original. It is nearly impossible, to save money here, especially where we were heading, Caye Caulker, an island so small and fragile that a hurricane, (the same I mentioned earlier, perhaps one or two others) literally split it in two about twenty years ago. At least that’s what we were told.
But honestly, what a juicy mix of beauty and trash all in one little place. We stayed at a hostel with 86 cats, (not an exaggeration or a typo), a handful of dogs, one owner from New York and her insane boyfriend from Panama. The caye is a ways away from that beehive of a city on the mainland, but it is its own little breeding ground of all things dastardly, in its own right. I mean this as an obscene and sincere compliment. The sunsets were stunning, the sea life literally surrounding you, and at times you had to remind yourself that you were in the middle of the ocean, pretty damn far away from anything resembling a sliver of actual first world civilization. If memory serves right, I don’t think I wore shoes the entire time on the caye. Locals smoked weed and rode their bikes up and down the dirt streets. We had what some may call an spectacularly insane night with the crazy man from Panama. I murdered a live lobster, knee deep in the Caribbean water, with a lightning bolt of a a machete. My girlfriend and I went snorkeling while quite hungover and it was still a glorious experience, although we were both very ready to get off the boat by the time it was over. The crooks and beggars were there, as they always seem to be, but Belize, as is its true difference to the rest of the region, brought the brooked smiles and sideways motives to a low simmer that made you feel at home as they searched your pockets. Take it Easy, Go Slow, is what they said, always easy and at the end it was more than easy to leave the caye. The shipwreck of souls there like to keep it, and I for one don’t mind. Wonderful, beautiful place, but Belize is bigger and much more bizarre than some think. There were more adventures to be had on the mainland. Nobody really dares to check it out for some reason. But if you’re crazy enough, why not take a chance? You’ll leave with fantastic memories and a marvelous tan.