Tourist Trap – Belize City, Belize

Tuesday morning I woke quite early to the sound of the captain over the intercom system out in the hallway. I deciphered something about tenders heading into Belize City and then stopped listening. I know this drill all too well. When you go into a port on a cruise ship, there are two options. One is driving right up to the port and passengers debarking off a gangway. The other option is getting onto little speed boats called tenders that shuttle you into the dock.

The thing with the tenders is that there is usually quite a long queue of impatient passengers waiting get onto them. I know better than to subject myself to the whining and complaining comments of “this is taking For EVER!” and “I`m am going to miss my tour if they don`t hurry up!”. I choose to wait it out and have a leisurely morning then catch a ride later when the crowds have died down.

This sunny Tuesday I met up with Chandra, Jess, Kate and Jenn for lunch before heading out. By the end of lunch we had lost Kate to a sore tummy and now we were 4 as we boarded the tender. There were only a few other people onboard and I guessed that they were crew on their day off. We observed the spectacular shade of melon that the water resembled.

We had only just left the ship and were not even half way to the port before it started to sprinkle. The air was so moist and warm that it didn`t matter much to get a little wet. The intense sun beat down evaporating any droplets almost on contact. We enjoyed the boat skipping over the waves creating a frothy white fish tale in its wake.

Upon arrival in Belize City, I realized that we were not going to be experiencing the “real” Belize that I had visited a few years ago. The well guarded and heavily reinforced cruise ship tourist zone was cut off from the rest of the town. A maze of shops, tour desks and restaurants all boasting “unique and authentic” wares at inflated prices. I know what things here should be worth and things were marked up at least 30-40 percent. I didn`t really expect otherwise.

I knew I didn`t have time to go into the real town as I had to have a conference call with Luc. I searched out a phone which was a much more difficult task than I had anticipated. Then I attempted to get through but came up unsuccessful all six times. Exasperated and getting more anxious considered my options to get a hold of Luc who would be awaiting my call up in Canada. How could it be so hard to make a simple phone call? How had I forgotten the challenge of telecommunication is one of the joys of traveling?

Eventually after a tireless search, I located a phone card which let me call for a dollar a minute. We had a quick meeting and agreed to reconvene when things were less costly. I was very relieved to have such an understanding boss who is so flexible with such things.

My friends looked around at the soap carvings and wooden souvenirs before heading back to the tender station. We got there just in time before the big downpour which began just as we pushed off the dock. I had a few cookies in my bag that I had saved from lunch so we all savored a Cookie Time moment on our ride back.

Grateful for experience.

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