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Boyfriends and birds

31 Jan

Boyfriends and birds

In Belize, I have many boyfriends. It helps to have a boyfriend when you’re traveling alone, because men like to say hello. Hey, Snow White in Belize City. Look at those red lips in Caye Caulker. My favorite: You like to read, huh? in Cayo. (At least this time, unlike last, I was not propositioned by a teenage boy. “Ay, mami,” he’d said while cruising by on his bike. “Yes,” I thought. “I’m old enough to be your mommy.”)

In almost every conversation, a man asks where my husband is. No husband? Boyfriend, then? Yes, boyfriend, I say. Depending on who’s asking, he’s either waiting for me in the States or back at the guest house. Sometimes he is a scientist, other times he’s an artist; these details shift for no reason at all. He is always possessive of me, though, and I can’t be gone too long or he worries about where I am. Of course, no such gent exists — and if he did, he would certainly not be the kind of stifling person I’d date — but my “boyfriend” helps steer the conversation away from whether a drink can be purchased for me tonight. (more…)

Pretty much everywhere, it’s gonna be hot

15 Jan

Pretty much everywhere, it’s gonna be hot

In just over a week, I’ll set the alarm for 2:30am and be on my way to Belize again. Last time, I didn’t get to see everything that I wanted to see thanks to a tropical depression. (That’s what you get when you travel during hurricane season.)

This time, I plan to snorkel and swim with nurse sharks. I hope, with the same greedy desire that children have in toy stores, to see a sea turtle or two. It is so wonderful to go somewhere and be close to animals you’ve encountered only in pages or behind glass windows.

As before, I am paranoid about being attacked by botflies and snakes, both of which are probably plotting against me with the help of their jellyfish colluders. Oh, and there’s some sort of disease that you can get from swallowing snail-tainted river water. Need to watch out for that. Then there are the fire ants, some of which crawled up my pant leg and bit the back of my thighs about seven times; it took almost a year for the scars to fade. See, relaxing!

I haven’t told Louis that I’m coming yet; part of me wants to surprise him by calling him from San Ignacio. “What are you doing for dinner tonight, Louis?” I could ask. But he works so much — and I mean really works because he’s a rancher — that I imagine he’s busy most of the time, and it would be more polite to give advance notice. Or maybe I will go help him herd goats again.

All of this is an elaborate setup to highlight the best thing I found today while researching the trip. The website for Crystal Belize is proudly garish, yet oddly charming in the innocently showy way that Belizean advertising favors. Were I to rent a car, I’d skip Avis and go with these guys all the way.

Whenever I breathe out

21 Oct

I stayed at work late last night, mostly to avoid the crowded rush hour trains, but also because I knew I’d just go home and sit in bed. (Or on the couch. Same thing.) The thought of spending an hour traveling just to do that was exhausting (consider all the crutching it would require, the fear of hobbling home alone down dark streets). Tossing financial prudence to the side, I wedged myself into the back seat of a cab and sighed. (more…)