BELIZE (CBSDFW.COM) – 10. On Christmas vacation I learned a couple things: Belize is a gorgeous place, and the remote, northern-most country in Central America (not too far south of Cancun). Also, if you take Continental Airlines it’s possible to be forced into 7 – that’s seven – flights to get there and back.
9. Because it is protected by the world’s second-largest barrier reef, Belize’s water is a crystal-clear green and calm, with no waves crashing onto its pristine white-sand beaches. Perfect for snorkeling and scuba.
8. I stayed on the island known as Ambergris Caye, a 15-minute puddle-jumper flight from Belize City. I’ll be honest, in the main town of San Pedro the breathtaking Caribbean Ocean views are somewhat neutralized by the abject poverty and looming crime. It’s a scenic, scary place.
7. San Pedro is like Land of the Lost. No cars, everyone travels via bicycle or golf cart. All the music is from the ‘80s. Staples are rice and beans, washed down with either rum punch or Belikin beer. And our “ya know” communication crutch is their “yeah mon.” As in “If you wander too far, yeah mon, you’ll encounter sharks and, yeah mon, then they’ll encounter you, yeah mon.”
6. One day there was a funeral down the middle of the main street. The casket was delivered not by hearse but rather flatbed truck with mud flaps emblazoned with – swear – “Supreme Corp. Cleburne, Texas.”
5. If you don’t like stray dogs, aggressive mosquitos or being forced to be patient, Belize probably isn’t for you. There’s deliberate. There’s slow. There’s glacial. And even a pace or two more delayed there’s Belize time. Yeah … mon.
4. On our way boating to a day of zip-lining and exploring ancient caves via river tubes, we got lost. At sea. In dense fog. A little unnerving to look in all four directions in the middle of the ocean and see the exact same gray landscape of nothingness. A cell phone and a compass saved us.
3. If you’re ever in Houston’s Intercontinental Airport, do NOT eat at Cat Cora’s restaurant near Gate E10. I ordered “Oatmeal with bananas and honey” and I got a bowl of something that looked like placenta mush. No bananas. Minimal honey. Only something that resembled slimy, patterned whale blubber. Oh yeah, and it was served cold. Same as the wheat toast.
2. So Continental pulls the old “sorry, we oversold the flight” trick. With no volunteer takers on the offer for a $500 flight voucher, guess who was “selected” as a non-volunteer lucky bastard to not get a seat on the flight from Houston to Belize? Yep. But, get this, the compensation was a check – written on the spot – for $1,300. One for me and one for my girlfriend. That’s $2,600, which helped pay for the trip. But, of course, the trade-off was being re-routed through El Salvador for a night and arriving in Belize 24 hours later than planned. Unbelievably frustrating at the time, but in retrospect I think I’d accept that deal on every vacation.
1. Immediately upon re-entry to Dallas, I spent the evening hosting a UFC-watching party at Baby Dolls. And after watching Brock Lesnar get his brains beaten, I happened upon a Waffle House at 3 a.m. and who came stumbling in? That’s right, Lamar Odom. Sans Khloe. Home sweet home.