A Travellerspoint blog

Bye, bye ya'll

Last (or maybe next to last) Post

sunny 78 °F

Tuesday, 12/14/10 - Wednesday, 12/15/10. As a going away treat last night, I went to a really nice restaurant on the beach. It was called Rico’s. White tablecloths and all. My appetizer was tasty conch fritters which I had never had before. I can’t describe the flavor other than seafood but the texture of conch reminded me of calamari. I ordered the BBQ chicken. The sauce was different, but delicious. All in all the meal was excellent.

It was the first time I had walked home on the beach in the dark. It was very serene and gave me time to reflect on my time here, which I have enjoyed for the most part.

San Pedro is not a quiet little island anymore unless you travel over the bridge to the north end. There is constant traffic of golf carts, minivan taxis, cars and delivery vehicles. Since most of the roads do not have sidewalks, you have to be careful walking. Amazingly, not many pedestrian accidents occur.

This is a tourist town, for sure, but what would make it a better one is if the powers that be would exercise some authority and enact some dog barking laws. They are all over, especially south of town, and several bark 24-7. It is annoying and irritating. I finally wrote an email to one such person who promised to look into it. Unfortunately, too late for me.

I am not in the habit of revisiting places I have already been but if I was; I would not return to Ambergris Caye. I prefer quieter surroundings where I can move into the hustle and bustle at my discretion.

I leave for California tomorrow. This is the last blog entry for this journey, however, check back in a couple weeks as I will post some pictures. I don’t know if I will be able to blog about my Peace Corps experience in Mexico (starting in March), but I’ll let you know.
I wish everyone a very, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

THE END

Posted by Jan Foster 13:47 Archived in Belize Comments (1)

Exit Fees in Latin America

Tourists Pay for Improvements

sunny 79 °F

Saturday, 12/11/10 - Monday, 12/13/10. Yesterday, I was invited for breakfast at the “Change in Latitude” Bed and Breakfast by new owners, Jeanne (pronounced Jan) and Ken. They are from Alberta Canada and decided, after several trips to Ambergris Caye, to make this their permanent home. However, they are a little too young to retire, so hence the purchase of the B&B. We had cinnamon French toast which was to die for. I took them my recipe for shrimp cheviche which I had gotten in Ecuador in exchange.

Sunday is a quiet, family day in Belize so most of the stores were closed. I watched the Cowboys game last night in the bar. Good game, but unfortunately they lost. There was guy from Texas there, so we both cheered them on.

I was checking on the exit fee for Belize this weekend. It is also called a departure tax. I had never heard of it before travelling in Latin America. And, in my research, I don’t believe the US charges foreigners one when they leave. However, I paid $44.30 to leave Ecuador, $20 to leave Panama and I’ll be paying $39.25 when I leave Belize. It’s just another way to get money out of tourists. I’m not sure if it applies in any European countries and some airlines do include it in the cost of your ticket. In addition, this usually only applies to air travel. If you enter a country by bus or boat, it isn’t charged. I guess they figure if you can afford to fly, you can afford to pay to leave the country. I’m told they use the funds to improve the infrastructure to make it more attractive for visitors. I don’t agree that the tourists should be the ones to finance projects that will draw more visitors.

Three more days then I head out to California for Christmas with my favorite cousin, Karen. She is more like a sister to me and we have shared Christmas together many times before. We enjoy each other’s company and always have a great time together. I’m looking forward to coming “home” after all these months of travel.

Posted by Jan Foster 05:44 Archived in Belize Comments (0)

Getting to Know You

The People I've Met

sunny 81 °F

Tuesday, 12/7/10… Friday, 12/10/2010. The last several days have been spent walking the beach, lazing by the pool, checking out the gift shops and eating in the local restaurants. After my bike ride to the north, I had to rest my leg so I haven’t done much walking.

One of the ladies here is leaving today, so last night several of us went to a restaurant called the Blue Iguana and splurged on Surf and Turf. The lobster was great, the steak just so so. Before heading to the restaurant, we stopped at the Change in Latitude B & B to pick up one of the girls. We met and talked to the new owners who are from Canada. Nice folks who are in love with the Belizean lifestyle. They invited me to come by on Sunday morning for a French toast breakfast. My mouth is already watering.

The people are what I especially have enjoyed on this trip. The ones you get to know a little are so nice. It doesn’t matter what nationality. The office manager at my hotel, Megan, is from England. The English have a reputation for being reserved and stuffy. Megan is anything but. I have met people from Argentina, Canada, England, Holland, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Belize, Germany, Italy, Scotland, Wales, and countless others I’m sure. They have all been pleasant and friendly.

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Walking along the Beach

It’s also been fun meeting all the people from the States. Alaska, Massachusetts, California, Florida, Texas, Wisconsin, Kansas, Missouri. Those are the ones I can think of right off the top of my head. We sure are a nation of travelers.

When I started out on this trip, the people back home, I’m sure, thought I was brave. I have found out I am not. There are lots of women who have struck out to visit other countries on their own. We just share a love of travel and meeting different kinds of people.

As my trip winds down and I prepare to return to the States, I want to say how grateful I am to all of those I have met along the way. Your stories have entertained me, your lives have inspired me, and your joy has infected me. Thank you for giving me wonderful memories.

Posted by Jan Foster 07:16 Archived in Belize Comments (1)

Bicycle Trip

Riding for the mature woman

sunny 80 °F

Sunday, 12/5/10-Monday, 12/6/10. How long has it been since you’ve taken a long bicycle ride? Well, I just did it.

I rented a bike for the day with the intention of riding to the northern end Ambergris Caye. That is where there is a channel between Belize and Mexico.

Because it had been so long since I rode a bike, I was weaving all over the place. I had no sense of balance or coordination. Riding in town, I was afraid I would either run over a pedestrian or crash into a car or golf cart. But I made it out of town without incident.

On the north side of San Pedro town there is a toll bridge. Can you believe it? It cost me $2 Belize ($1 US) to buy a round trip ticket to cross the bridge.

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Palapa Bar

Then I was on my way on the hard sand packed and rutted road. This is a very nice area with expensive and beautiful homes – I guess it’s where the rich people have their vacation places. I shortly reached the Palapa over the water bar and grill where Anna at the Deli had suggested that I eat lunch. It was way too early for lunch, so I decided to continue on. I was riding on the beach where there was a hard sandy trail.
I decided to give myself a time limit, so I rode until 11:30. I had not reached my goal, nor could I see it as the beach curved to the left when the time came. But I needed to turn around. I stopped for some water and when I got back on the bike, the front tire was flat. I walked along the beach until I saw a bike rental sign and asked them if I could use their tire pump.

Shortly thereafter, my handlebars suddenly slipped down, and I fell off the bike into a muddy area. I was ok, but my pants got dirty.
I rode a little further. By now I was getting really tired. I stopped to rest often and when I got back on the bike one time, my back tire was now flat. I stopped at a fishing lodge where they had a compressor and the nice gentleman there aired up both tires.

I was half dead by the time I finally reached the bar and grill. I decided I had used up enough calories to order the ½ pounder hamburger. To balance it, I had cole slaw instead of French fries and I ate it all. This lunch stop gave me a second wind and I made it back to the hotel without further incident.

It was worth it.

Posted by Jan Foster 12:15 Archived in Belize Comments (1)

Life in Belize

A real life Paradise

sunny 75 °F

Friday, 12/3/10-Sunday, 12/5/10. OK, to be honest, I have mixed feelings about San Pedro, Belize. I think I would have appreciated it much more if I had come here 20-40 years ago. Not to say that this place is for young people only. There are lots of people my age here. I think what I am trying to say is that there isn’t much to do here unless you are into snorkeling, sailing, fishing or windsurfing; all of which are terribly expensive. Maybe it’s the fact that I am on a limited budget and there is a lack of inexpensive entertainment here that’s bugging me. Actually, there is a lack of anything inexpensive here.

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Ramon's (very expensive) Resort

This is the first country I have been to where English is the spoken language. Wouldn’t a movie theater be nice? Instead I have to watch TV in my room.

Even the taxis are costly, so I walk everywhere. Now I know I need the exercise, but my poor body is sore and I have been forcing it to get me around for the last three days. Tomorrow I am going to rent a bike. It is $10US a day, so that is affordable. I have walked all over the island and I want to go across the bridge and see what’s on the north end. I hear it’s nice.

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Beach

I have already settled into a quasi routine. In the morning I go to Mathieu’s Deli for a loaf of apple cinnamon bread which I devour while I’m there. Anna and Günter are wonderful and love to talk about the island. Then I walk around a while and check out the stores and crafts. I come home and put my bathing suit on and laze around the pool. Then in the afternoon, sometimes take a nap, then go look for something inexpensive to eat and walk along the beach.

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Anna at the Deli

Today was different in that a local resort has a BBQ on Sundays from 12-2:30 only. I skipped breakfast and headed to lunch early. I had BBQ ribs, which is boneless and shaped like bacon, but it was oh so good. I bought sandwich fixings at the grocery store, so I am set for a light dinner for the remaining 10 days.

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BBQ and Music

Tomorrow, I will hit the deli on my way north on the bike and probably have a late lunch on the north end.
It’s beautiful here and probably romantic if you have a significant other. The couples seem happy.

Posted by Jan Foster 06:05 Archived in Belize Comments (0)

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