After that excellent night’s sleep, we were ready to head out to the Cayes, specifically Caye Caulker: the most laid back place on the planet. A forty-five minute ride on the water taxi dropped us off at the pier where we were disembarked with locals, tourists, backpackers, hippies or some combination thereof. I had looked up the address of the guest house in which we were to stay, but all it said was “General Delivery.” Oooooookay. That’s not a whole lot to go on. Upon further investigation, I realized that ALL the listings said “General Delivery.” This was going to be interesting.
A kind soul – one of many, many we would meet – asked if we needed some help. We told him where we were staying and he replied, “Oh! I know that place. Okay,” he said, turning toward the town and pointing, “…you see those two girls standing there? Turn left at them. Then head all the way to the end of the street and hang a right. Take your first left. It’s beside the Catholic church.” All of a sudden “General Delivery” made a lot more sense: there are no street signs on this island.
We dropped off our stuff, changed and headed out to find some lunch. We popped into Rose’s Bar & Grill for what would be the first of many delicious, fresh, ridiculously portioned meals we’d have on our travels. I ordered the shrimp ceviche; J had a chicken quesadilla with just-made tortillas..and, naturally, a couple of Belikins. We watched the world amble by, ate, drank and felt all stress melt into the sand floor.
When we were done, we asked the bartender where we could go for a swim. “The north shore,” he responded. “That’s where everyone goes.” When asked for directions, he kind of laughed and said, “Oh…just up that way,” and added a vague hand wave in the general direction of behind us. Note to self: adjust expectations of “directions.”
We didn’t have much trouble finding it since…well, there’s basically one main strip that runs along the sea and the north shore is, y’know, at the north end. Along the way, we spotted a woman selling some lovely necklaces and things and then, beside her stall…we saw it. The sandbox-sized basket filled with blankets and puppies. One-month old PUPPIES. Ack! “J, we have to stop!!” “I know we do.” Fleas and rabies be damned, I was going to play with those puppies.
After the necessary puppy stop, we popped into a tour company to book a snorkel trip to Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley, then finally arrived at the north shore. Sure enough, the little beach was filled with tourists and locals alike enjoying the late-afternoon sun, the water and the beach bar, The Lazy Lizard. The water was cool, clear, salty and exactly what we needed.
Once the sun went down, we decided to head back to our place, have a shower, read for a bit and then head out for dinner. Now, bathrooms in Caye Caulker are a little different. For one, you are not to put toilet paper in the toilet. That was a first. Secondly, the water is heated by an extension on the shower head. This in and of itself is okay. What threw me were the three wires sticking out of the top of the shower head. Now, I may be a little rusty on my grade school science, but I’m fairly certain that exposed wires + water = ZAP. They really ought to have provided some grounding shower shoes.
We both survived the shower and headed out to a little place down the street for dinner. Family-run, you’d walk up to the guy at the barbeque, pick your protein (crab, shrimp, fish, steak…), he’d toss it on the grill and you’d have a seat. The lovely waitress brought over the complimentary rum punch (four kinds of rum and some sorta mix. As if the mix is the important part) and took our order for the side dishes. J chose the shrimp skewer with veg, I chose the fish skewer with veg that turned out to be the most delicious grouper I could have imagined. Plump, juicy, cooked perfectly with just salt, pepper and butter. Would that we could eat like that every night!
Bellies full, we wandered back along The Road. The smell of the sea, the harvest moon, the sound of the waves…paradise. You could see why all the ex-pats had chosen to live there. Who wouldn’t?