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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

La Caja: Part Four

Step Four: Send La Caja (cont.).

We get to the dock early and ensure we have seats on the boat.  We are the first to arrive with some time to kill.  Nicole is making new best friends with Lupita, the lady running the store.  Of course the ice breaker is tequila.  There are a couple of different and new brands on the shelf that need thorough explanations.  Everything is taken into consideration: The type, the color, the bottle, comparisons and contrasts to other tequilas known to both Nicole and Lupita.  I get a beer.

The tequilas are choice.  So much so, Nicole heads back in to share a shot.  In the meantime more people are filtering in and the water taxi from Belize arrives.  I chat with people coming and going.  A family of four from California living and working in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.  A couple from Alaska heading to Belize.  The usual idol chat-chit.  

The time comes and boarding procedures begin.   The police roll up in a jeep, about six of them and one canine.   Everyone's luggage and cargo is lined up on the sidewalk.  Everyone places their carry on's in a line in front of us.  The dog paces back and forth along the line of luggage, cargo and carry-ons. 

With nothing raising alarms we pile in with our box and tequila for the couple of hour long boat ride to Belize border crossing.  Did you know they speak English in Belize?  It didn't make sense until I saw the Queen's face on the currency.

We settle in at the resort for a couple of nights.  We typically don't do the resort scene, as they always seem so confining and attempt to do everything possible to keep you and your money on the property.  Like most, this one is just far enough outside of San Pedro that no one would think to walk.  Golf carts and bicycles are for rent though.  Golf carts are the primary means of travel in San Pedro.  Need to go town and get some groceries?  Golf cart.   Want to find a restaurant to eat at for the evening?  Golf cart.  Want to go to the water taxi? Golf cart.

I wander over to the only bar and restaurant at the resort and collect my free rum punch and watch me some NFL.  The games go long and I am making new friends.  Suzette and Neil from Canada.  Robert and Tyson who work the bar and Diron, (a.k.a. "Spider"), is the chef.  

There really isn't a menu.  Just a chalkboard in the corner with six different ways to prepare lobster, but Diron is more than happy to accommodate offering suggestions for just about everything.  I decide on a chicken curry of sorts and it is delicious.  

Robert, ensures no one's cup is empty and Tyson is able to provide a book to read.  At the moment I am wondering if all my impulses to scratch are left over from Celestún or if I am getting new ones.  Robert offers the bar's mosquito repellent which claims it contains 100% DEET.  In the beginning I was frugally applying the stuff thinking 100% should go a long way.  By the end I am taking a shower in the stuff, covering not only my bare skin but my shoes, shorts, hat, you name it, it is covered in DEET.  It is a good first evening, but I drank too much and I have a box to send.

The next morning it doesn't look good for sending la caja or staying just the two nights.  Monty is still exacting his revenge on both of us, I am chasing a goma as they say here (got a hangover), and Nicole has a full on chest cold.  

Yet another morning, things are better.   I venture out to breakfast at the only bar and restaurant and eat my food in my own little five mile stare.  Then Neil walks up with a coconut hat where the hull of the coconut is shucked in such a way it looks like he has dreadlocks that point straight up.  I don't even recognize him at first. 

We catch up and he asks if I want to meet Jesus.  I really want to get this box off of our hands, but man who doesn't want to meet Jesus?  Jesus is the creator of the coconut Regge hat.  Neil bumped into him while exploring the area in his golf cart.  He has arranged to have coconut water and rum courtesy of Jesus.  So it is set, we leave at four thirty to meet Jesus.  

The rest of the afternoon a group of six of us (Nicole and I and four Canadians) wonder around the resort.  The Canadians coozy their beers and check out the beach.  Suzette floats around the pool and bar.  The afternoon is wearing on and I am loosing interest.  Why are we meeting Jesus again?  Neil reminds me: coconut water and rum.  The afternoon is listless and endless, I think I am going to the room.  What about Jesus?  Oh right, why are we seeing him again?  This time Nicole jogs my memory.

The time finally comes to meet Jesus.  Five of us pile into the golf cart and head further out of town to meet Jesus.  We arrive and it is just a hovel with no signs of life.  Neil tells me he always does one stupid thing every vacation, and for this vacation this is it.  

Neil hikes around the hovel and finds Jesus.  Neil brings Jesus out for introductions.  Jesus is a 5 foot Belizian with dark leathered skin.  He looks wirey and well into his fifties.  Jesus proceeds to give us a tour.  First stop is his uncle.  The uncle offers no response and is absolutely lifeless sleeping upright in a chair.  I suspect alcohol.  Jesus points out grey iguanas as we go to the back of the property and Jesus pulls back some leafs and points; "Monos".  Jesus keeps pointing up in the branches, but he is the only one who sees the monkeys.  Jesus must have picked up on our incredulity and keeps the tour moving with a natural tattoo.  Yup, he pulls some leaves off a tree and starts rubbing the sap on Neil's arm.  He uses several leaves and takes his time to finish his masterpiece.  Upon completion he tells Neil not to rub it if it itches or burns - he has a coconut face on his arm.  I don't see anything but if Jesus says there is a coconut face on Neil's arm so there must be a coconut face on Neil's arm.

The smoke and mirrors tour continues as Jesus points to the roof of the only building on the property, a single room building, and claims there are green iguana's up there.  Neil climbs a fallen down antenna to view the corrugated steel roof to the hovel.  Nothing is up there.  As Neil descends the antenna, Jesus moves on with the show and has another of his coconut masterpieces on: Roman gladiator helmet.   Jesus does a quick stand up routine with a pair of scissors as he lightly trims his helmet.  Why are we here again?

Right, we all pile back into the golf cart, including Jesus, and head further down the road.  Jesus directs us right up to the walls of another resort area and says "Be quite, I will be right back" and darts around the corner.

Minutes later, Jesus quickly paces back to the golf cart with an arm load of coconuts.  I really doubt there happened to be a silent coconut stand at the resort, but hey we all have coconuts and head back up the road stopping at the beach.  

Jesus collects a couple of other coconuts found on the beach and takes his machete and starts shredding the first coconut.  The blade oscillating up and down results in the first coconut face mug with handle and everything.   Jesus has produced six in a matter of minutes, just enough time for Jim and Nicole to negotiate a few wooden wares from a beach entrepreneur.  Neil continuing on with his adventure decides to try his hand with a machete and manages a mug with both hands still intact.  He takes a bit longer and when he performs the final lop off of the top the coconut is empty - no water.

Everyone with their coconut mixes a concoction of rum and coconut water.  This is why we came to see Jesus.

We head back to Jesus' hut and he points out a few other interesting tidbits around his place.  It looks like there may be the beginnings or more likely the remains of some landscaping.  As we leave Jesus explains to Neil that "That is why I am fixing the place up so nice, I am going to start having cook outs".

We have a couple of more idol days of recovering co-mingling with the Canadians.  Neil's 'tattoo' looks like a feces drawing on his arms, and no it will not wash off.  The last day Neil takes Nicole and I into San Pedro in the golf cart.  We quickly find the post office, it is open, and they send post cards and packages.   However, our box has a bunch of print hidden by tape and pieces of paper.  After all it is just some random box a store clerk handed us.  This post office only sends boxes without all the print and no, of course not, they do not sell boxes.  They pointed us in a couple of directions to find a box and suggest tearing the box apart and folding it inside out as an alternative.  

We were not looking for another scavenger hunt.  We tear open the box from its layers of tape, empty the contents on the sidewalk, pull the box apart at the seam and get to taping.  We are almost out of tape, but this box is gone.

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