Awaking and moving gingerly, J and I packed up our stuff and prepared to head off to San Pedro, an island roughly 10 minutes from Caye Caulker. We had enough time to grab breakfast (now that we had a firm grasp on how long things take to happen on the Caye) after buying our ticket for the water taxi. We decided to stop in at a place right on the beach so we could stare happily at the sea while we ate. As plans go, this is one I would like to repeat daily. Jay ordered huevos rancheros; I ordered fruit with yogurt and granola. The fruit was, as expected, fresh and delicious. The “granola” was much more like benito flakes than actual granola but I suppose that’s what I get for ordering something so Western. J asked for hot sauce, as usual, and what came out was this teeny little plastic container filled with bright orange sauce. Having learned his lesson from the previous night, he tried a little first and found it even hotter than that one. When the waiter came back to see if everything was alright, J remarked, “Oh yeah, but damn is that ever hot,” pointing to the sauce. “OH yeah…no carrots, no nothin’ in THERE! Puuuuuuuuuuure habanero, my friend.”
Once the smoke stopped coming out of J’s ears, we sauntered over to the pier to catch the taxi. Hanging out on the pier, looking nearly as burnt as I was, were the two Canadians we met on our snorkel trip the day before. (Like I keep saying, this place is small!) Amazingly, the water taxi arrived on time and all four of us were off on the short jaunt to San Pedro under beautiful, clear skies.
Hopping into a cab, it was clear that San Pedro was significantly busier than Caye Caulker. Firstly, there are cabs. Secondly, there are street signs. Pfft. MODERNITY. I was actually blown away at how crowded and busy it seemed; but, really, that was simply a comparative observation. San Pedro is still small, just a lot more bustling. The tourists seemed to stand out more, but perhaps that was because one finds more families and fewer backpackers. Regardless, our cabbie was quite helpful (and we’d see him the next day at the water taxi. Go figure.), mentioning that yes, Jambel Jerk Pit would be a great place to hit, “if you want SPICY food. Really spicy food.” He dropped us off at our B&B, Changes In Latitude, and we were happy to see a small, shaded courtyard with lounge chairs, hammocks and little games to play. The co-owner, an American ex-pat, greeted us warmly and offered us a beer. Yes, please! It’s been…hours! Then she caught site of my back which was a lovely shade of “burnt to hell.” (Coming soon to Crayola!) “Ohmigoodnes! Can I ask…is that incredibly painful?” Stifling the urge to go full-on snark, I responded, “Yeeeah. It hurts quite a bit.” “Well, we grow aloe here on the property. I can chop some up for you. It’ll help a lot!” I wanted to throw myself down on the ground and kiss her feet, but my back hurt too much.
Lunch was definitely in order once we got settled and we asked the guy who worked the property where he would recommend. His face lit up: “George’s. It’s great Belize food.” We got standard Belize directions (“that way, a little ways, past the thing, but before the stuff”) and off we went. Our new friend had not led us astray: the food was home-cooked happiness. George was running the place by himself that day, taking orders, cooking, tallying bills all with a big, easy smile on his face. J got the red snapper plate with rice and beans and the best plantain he said he’d ever had; I had the bbq-smoked pork sandwich that absolutely hit the spot. Sweet, smoky goodness. Regulars looked on and grinned as we “oohed” and “mmmmed” our way through lunch.
Since I was still pretty achy, we had a very low-key afternoon, hanging out in the courtyard, reading and enjoying ourselves. When dinner time rolled around, we took up a friend on her suggestion to go to Elvi”s Kitchen for dinner: a staple restaurant that’s been around forever, boasting some of the best meals in town. The sand floor doesn’t hurt.
We both ordered the Belizean coconut curry shrimp and though it took a while to arrive – quelle surprise! – Elvi’s lived up to its reputation. Creamy, rich, spicy…all the things you’d want. I’d go back in a heartbeat and would recommend the place to anyone who’s planning to go to San Pedro. We rolled ourselves outta there around 9:30 and, as we were walking back to the B&B, the owners of a coffee shop across the street began to yell over to us that they were giving away free shots. This is my kinda coffee shop. We actually weren’t going to stop, but a group of American skydivers were there and told us that we couldn’t miss out on this but that we should avoid the clear shot at the end. So into the store we went and sure enough, the first three shots were thoroughly delicious. In fact, I would like some immediately, please. Now, I heeded the skydivers’ advice and forewent the clear shot which turned out to be a good plan: it was basically alcoholic cane sugar. The look on J’s face was priceless. I wish I’d taken a picture.
Bolstered by the free, random alcohol (is there a better kind, I wonder) we wandered in search of a drink on the beach. We were directed to Ramon’s, the least Mayan “Mayan” resort on the planet. No matter: big comfy chairs faced the beach and the Belikin was for sale. We stayed long past the bar’s close, no staff coming to kick us out. The day began as it ended: enjoying some quality time with my husband, beachside, metres from the sea. Paradise, part two.