It was all sort of surreal, really. But I think I clued in when:
I noticed what sort of hotel we were staying in. Just as a disclaimer, we paid $63. But apparently it was the sort of hotel where they could charge $525/night. Marble bathroom. Hot water. Two armchairs and a sofa. Can I go back? Please?
And the help brought us new towels every night formed in the shape of little critters.
Or maybe it got to feeling really foreign when we got off the ship and the writing on the wall was no longer clear:
Or when we opened the Snickers:
Went looking for ice cream:
Or noticed the WalMart parking lot had just four stalls
Transportation was interesting. Spent lots of time on what the cruise ship refers to as a "tender". This is a speed boat that rivals the roughest of rides at any amusement park I've ever been to, and lasts a good thirty minutes or so, each way. Just enough time for the locals to pawn off all their merchandise on the captive audience. My favorite was this hand cranked ferry:
Which we got to on this bus. Well, okay, it wasn't this bus. It was the other, other bus that came and rescued us from the Belizian roadside. It was while we were sitting there that we bought the confection the Belize try to pass off as American made Snickers. And met two missionaries who had driven to Belize in their Ford truck from Beautiful British Columbia, Canada. Seriously. They had the license plates to prove it. I think they said it took them two weeks and $1500 worth of gas.
We also realized that it's a strictly North American quirk to actually discard broken down vehicles and boats. Down there, they just turn them into ovens or spare bedrooms. And apparently when a ship runs aground, the Hondurans just leave it–strip down the windows maybe and tout it as a photo opportunity to tourists. We saw several of these.
Security was a little tighter than we were accustomed to. The Mexicans go about it by embedding glass into their courtyard walls.
In Belize, we wondered what our tour guides were hunting. As Marty observed, a simple pistol would be sufficient to take your average disgruntled tourist out. These guys were packing guns bigger than me. Their coats read something like "Tourist Security Personel"
The animals were friendly though. In Cozumel there were more iguanas than there are mice in Moses. And they were all out, sunning themselves like we didn't even exist.
Honduran monkeys were even friendlier than Mexican iguanas. Actually, this part reminded me a lot of my average workweek.
Right after they tried to eat our hats/sunglasses, they went straight for the pockets. Had our American money faster than you can say "trained pickpocket".
Not that you can blame them. These people were poor. When I walked around the abandoned Mayan sites in Cozumel, it reminded me of home. Canadian home–Cardston, specifically. You could imagine the arge streets, broad plazas, leading up to the house of worship which had been surrounded by homes and gardens.
I wonder how the Mayans would feel about the countryside now. We're driving past mile after mile of hovels only to find out this is how the middle class lives. You can't even reach the poor neighborhoods except by foot.
I wasn't brazen enough to take pictures. We passed mile after mile of leaning structures in Belize and Roatan. Homes we couldn't tell if they were going up or had been coming down for decades–and still, the endless clothes lines and small faces peeking out of doors attested to the reality that people actually lived there. Garbage piled everywhere you looked–people sitting and laying in it in their courtyards and doorways. Cooking in the alleys and under rusty corrogated metal sheets leaned together to make shelter.
In Roatan, I snuck a picture of a comparatively clean settlement below us during our canopy zipline tour.
Which, in an of itself was testament to the fact that no, Toto, we're definitely not in Kansas anymore. How else could you not only get me up on a platform above the jungle canopy, but
also convince me to jump off and ride upside down?
Just call me Jane.
The trip brought out all sorts of abnormal behavior.
M, posing for pictures. No kidding. I didn't even have to photoshop him in.
And not just any picture . . .
The paparazzi really come out when this happens.
Me, wearing shorts. AND getting wet. All of my own free will. Ask my kids–as a rule I stay on shore and take pictures.
That's new, too. Me being in photos. Judging from the photographic record, I haven't existed, actually, until now. My kids look at their scrapbooks and go, Mom, why weren't you at my birthday?
I feel like I'm sliding off my chair. Like I'm still riding nine foot swells. Shouldn't I be used to solid ground yet? Must find dramamine. Or something. Someone stop the world,seeing as I can't get off, and it's really, really, making me sick.