Pulpology: Mark & Sonia's Intercontinental Absurdities!

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Re: Wanderfood Wednesday: Epicurean despot (by mark at 5/09 2:16 PM)
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18 September 2007
Home again, home again, jiggety-jig
So long, Central America, and thanks for all the fish... and sharks... and turtles... and lobsters...

I knew I was officially back in the States when I paid nearly two whole dollars for a pack of gum. Yikes!

My day started out with an early departure from Tina's Backpacker Hostel, where I was only too happy to leave behind my butthead bunkmates who insisted on drinking till all hours (which I have no problem with) and then noisily coming back to the room and flipping on all the lights and having a loud drunken conversation (which I especially have a problem with when I am scheduled to depart early the next morning). I was grumpy and groggy when I slung my pack on for the last time and trudged out to the dock. So it was a pleasant surprise when I ran into Russell, my divemaster buddy from the Blue Hole trip, who was at the end of the dock with a full dive boat awaiting a spare BCD. He offered me a lovely cup of coffee and we had a quick chat before he sailed off to face the Blue Hole and I hopped into the ferry to Belize City.

The rest of my journey was straightforward enough: nice breezy ferry trip to the BC dock, few blocks' walk to the bus station through beautiful (not!) downtown Belize City, hop a bus heading north and ask to stop near the airport, quick taxi ride the remaining 2.5 miles into the actual airport, and wait around for the American Airlines counter to open. I cashed my last traveler's check to pay the gringo fee -- ehm, excuse me, departure tax -- and my flight to Miami left on time and with no drama whatsoever.

It was a nice feeling to return to American soil... until I had to face the horror of the Miami airport. Ten weeks of turbo-chill were handily undone in less than an hour as I was fed through the ugly meat grinder of Passport Control, Baggage Claim, Customs, re-entry through Security, and a mad dash to my gate on the complete opposite side of the airport. Sweaty and exhausted, I somehow managed to make it to my final flight and crammed into a plane full of inside-the-Beltway types with their cell phones glued to their ears and Blackberries clicking away madly. I have to admit that I fit right in, as I was so excited to have my cellie working again that I promptly texted and called a whole bunch of people in the spare five minutes before the flight took off. Which actually turned into a spare hour because -- get this, I couldn't make this s**t up if I tried -- the plane had a SCREW LOOSE. How apropos.

So, I'm back, glad to be home and reconnected with my sweetie, and am looking forward to seeing friends and family in the coming weeks. This week will be a maelstrom of family shenanigans in preparation for Dave and Meghan's wedding in DC on Saturday, followed closely by Drew and Carlisle's wedding in San Francisco on Oct 6, and then a trip out to see Edward & Heidi's B&B in Oregon. No rest for the wicked! I have loads and loads of site updates to do, so watch for more juicy tidbits coming as soon as I can carve out some time. And feel free to queue up for some time on my social schedule, as I would love to catch up with everyone in person!

In the meantime, I'm enjoying some of the simple pleasures of being back in civilization, including:

* internet that doesn't cost $7 an hour!
* a clean kitchen I don't have to share with a dozen other grubby backpackers!
* fluffy towels!
* water that can be drunk right from the tap (and it's hot on demand, too!)
* school buses that actually have school children on board as passengers! and no mounds of luggage perched precariously on top, either!

I'm sure these small fascinations will wear off soon, so I'm reveling in them while I can. Life is good!

Posted by soniaz at 12:00 AM | Link | 0 comments

16 September 2007
Totally chillaxed
A week of louging and diving in Caulker
Hard to believe this trip is coming to a close in two days! It's been an amazing ten weeks, and you can expect more musings from me in the coming weeks as I grapple with returning to civilization, two family weddings, and trying to get the house sold so we can do more travel next year.

divemaster Mike en route to Blue HoleIn the meantime, though, I've spent my last week chilling and doing a few dives on Caye Caulker, which has been a nice way to end the trip. Unfortunately the diving has been super-expensive here, and honestly not quite as good as the diving on Utila. But I did splurge and do a daytrip out to the Blue Hole, which was absolutely amazing and the deepest dive I've done yet. It also included two more dives around Half Moon Caye and Long Caye, and some lovely rum punch on the boat ride back. Nice!

another day in the hammock at Tina'sBesides diving I've been spending my days lounging in the hammocks by the dock at Tina's Backpacker Hostel. The hostel is, well, a grungy hostel, but the folks here are friendly and we've had some fun exploring the handful of bars on the island. The most popular one, Oceanview, is a karaoke bar, to my great and undying chagrin. But with enough rum almost anything is tolerable, even large groups of caterwauling Dutch tourists belting out "Piano Man."

Catch up withya when I return to civilization!
Posted by soniaz at 12:00 AM | Link | 0 comments

10 September 2007
A week of celebrations, home and abroad

Woo-hoo, I made it to Caye Caulker and so far there appear to be no major storms in sight! Knock on driftwood! I'm going to be chilling here for the rest of my trip, as I try to mentally prepare for re-entry into life inside the Beltway.

Internet access is atrociously expensive here -- worst yet, I think! -- so don't expect to hear much from me in the next week. However, it is a week full of festive occasions so I wanted to give some shout-outs all at once..

Happy Birthday to

* Bruce (Monday)

* David (Tuesday)

* Paulie-paul (Wednesday)

* Clara (Thursday)

* Edward (Friday)

Happy Happy Joy Joy to all, and I shall be raising a rum-based beverage in your honor each eve this week! I hope you appreciate how I suffer for you people! ;)

Today is also Belize's National Day, which is really a warm-up for their big Independence Day celebrations later this month. Have no idea what kinds of festivities will abound, but I'll be sure to keep my eyes open for anything interesting.

Posted by soniaz at 12:00 AM | Link | 0 comments