Monday, January 05, 2009

Honeymoon: Day 4 (Continued)

Previously on Pickled Beef...
Day 1 & 2 (Key West)
Day 3 (Cozumel)
Day 3 Continued (Cozumel- Maya Ruins)
Day 4 (Belize)

The camp looked like a movie set for a drug smuggling operation. The three buildings on the grounds looked like jungle huts. But they were relatively modern on the inside, with running water and tiled floors. It wasn't intentionally campy. Rather, as if the buildings couldn't make up their minds what to be. It reminded me of that early 80's movie, "Victor Victoria" where Julie Andrews plays a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman. Only, these were huts pretending to be modern buildings pretending to be huts.

The employees of the camp were all business, never smiling as they politely ushered us around. My mind painted them with machine guns and I was startled to find that the image fit just fine. After buying rubber shoes and a tube of bug repellent (Hoop was still scared of Malaria), we stripped down to our bathing suits and waited for the guide. I was instantly self conscious of my tiny bikini. Whether due to our guide's previous warning about piranhas, or because they were equally self conscious, most of the other women opted to stay fully clothed.

After a short trip on the tractor-taxi, we arrived at the beginning of the river and a pile of inner tubes. The water was crystal clear... and freezing, much like the spring fed rivers in central Florida. Hoop and I happily jumped right in. Floating down the river, buffeted by jungle, made all the day's misadventures worth it. My only complaint was that the guide's attendants, who were also on tubes, continuously shoved at the people in the back to make sure the group kept moving. Apparently, Hoop and I are more *cough* dense than some. We were almost always on the tail end.

About halfway down the river, the guide, who was up from us, started pointing at the water and shouting, "There they are! There are the piranhas. Watch your nipples!" Several people took off paddling. I, on the other hand, had unintentionally drifted right into the spot where he'd been pointing. Cautiously, I looked over my float and saw... minnows. I laughed about that for a good twenty minutes. Nipple-biters indeed. Then we hit some miniature rapids. I loved that part, until I scraped my ass on a fallen tree. It was still worth it though.

After floating down the river we stopped to look at some Maya ruins, followed by a meal back at the camp. Our guide tried to convince us that it was iguana we were eating. After the whole piranha incident, no one was inclined to believe him. I'm pretty sure it was chicken. At least, I HOPE it was chicken. After we ate, Hoop and I wandered off to check out the caged jaguar. The poor cat was pacing the enclosure, mouth open and wide eyed. It wasn't like a jaguar at a zoo. You could tell this guy had been caught recently, and he was itching to go back.

Hoop stood so close to the bars, I envisioned the story I would tell our kids one day about how Daddy lost his arm. Fortunately, they called us back to the tractor-taxi. Back on the bus, our guide continued telling us of his culture. In Belize, one of their delicacies is Cashew wine. It's made from the fruit, not the nut. They're soaked out in the sun under a blanket of brown sugar until they ferment. The result is a thick, almost syrupy, orange wine. "Coincidentally", the guide's Mother happened to make the wine and wouldn't you know it, she had made a fresh batch that day!

After a quick stop at the guide's Mother's house (no lie), we were on our way back to the ship with drinks in hand. I wanted to like the wine. I really did. I daydreamed about buying a few bottles for my friends and family back home. My treasure from Central America. Unfortunately, the wine tasted like a mixture of cooking wine and lighter fluid. My eyes watered at the smell of it. Hoop tried not to laugh as I juggled the full cup on my knee the entire way back. He finally took pity on me and snuck it off to the sink in the back. Oh well. Belize was interesting. I'm not sure I would go back though. Not unless they could guarantee monkeys.

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20 Comments:

At 05 January, 2009, Blogger Mary said...

Sounds like a great end to day 4! You shoulda just chugged the lighter fluid. lol

 
At 05 January, 2009, Blogger Chelle Y. said...

The guides mother's house? How funny is that?

Sounds like you had fun!

 
At 05 January, 2009, Blogger fiwa said...

You know, I don't really go in for all that "funny" crap they pull on tourists. I guess my sense of humor is lacking. I'm sorry to hear that about Belize - but the river tubing does sound like fun. I can't wait for the next installment. :)

 
At 05 January, 2009, Blogger Michael Knight Rambo said...

What's the name of those fish that will swim up your urethra and they're made of barbwire or something so it's impossible to pull them out?
Those you got to watch out for.

 
At 05 January, 2009, Blogger Janet said...

glad the piranha minnows didn't get you!

 
At 05 January, 2009, Blogger Gin said...

Rats! I always wanted to go to Belize to snorkel. Sounds like kind of an icky place tho. Well, except for the river float...that could be fun. But we do that here...so no need to travel for it. Nipple biting pirana minnows!! Wahahahahaha

 
At 05 January, 2009, Blogger Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

I like cashews, but this cashew wine sounds like, to paraphrase Monty Python, something that would clear out the sluices at both ends.....

 
At 05 January, 2009, OpenID Mike said...

Sorry about the wine. I've never really liked wine since I drank a bunch and found myself in the Navy the next day. Recently, I tried some grownup drinks like Scotch. Umm... I'll stick with the fru-fru ones that taste good.

 
At 05 January, 2009, Blogger Pamer said...

tiny bikini eh???

this sounds like such a great honeymoon...i'm on the edge of my seat with each new installment

 
At 05 January, 2009, Blogger Jay said...

I think it sounds like a really great adventure.

 
At 06 January, 2009, Blogger YellowRose said...

I always thought I wanted to go to Belize...not so much now. LOL Cashew wine??

 
At 06 January, 2009, Blogger Chris said...

Ok, I know it's from the fruit, not the nut, but... my mental image of the wine is sort of like tahini... ew.

 
At 06 January, 2009, Blogger Knight said...

I can't stop twitching from the idea of little fish seeking out human nipples to bite. It's like a horror movie. Maybe the monkeys in Belize are nocturnal?

 
At 06 January, 2009, Blogger Hilary said...

Sounds like an adventure.. not so sure it's one that I'd want. Pseudo piranhas and wine aside, I wouldn't be able to stop thinking about that poor caged feline.

Looking forward to the next part.:)

 
At 06 January, 2009, Blogger meno said...

It's amazing what us humans can find to make into alcohol.

Quite the description of your day. Sounds positively Tropic Thunder.

 
At 06 January, 2009, Blogger Reb said...

Cashew wine? The concept sounds interesting, but, um?

Poor kitty, I am sure he was destined for a zoo though. Sounds like you had an interesting trip. Can't wait to read more.

 
At 06 January, 2009, Blogger Aunt Jackie said...

Your honeymoon adventures are wonderful... great read! Wish I'd been there. Of course it would've ruined your honeymoon if I was. Hahahaha. :0 Who takes their Aunt Jackie on a honeymoon?? lol j/k

 
At 06 January, 2009, Blogger Chatty said...

First off - definitely get a monkey guarantee before going again. Crucial!

Secondly - caged jaguar. Hate it!

Cashew wine? And the fruit, not the nut? Bizarre. Lighter fluid thrown in for flavor, maybe?

Finally, what Mike said. I quote:
"Sorry about the wine. I've never really liked wine since I drank a bunch and found myself in the Navy the next day."

Mike, truly - I haven't stopped laughing. That comment MADE my day. Possibly my week.

Oh, and my "word verification" for this comment is "cosiboat". Something else I'm sure the guards/guides would disapprove of - along with "dense" Tink and Hoop floating in the back all the time and having to be nudged ; )

 
At 06 January, 2009, Blogger Woman in a Window said...

I think this must be your new life's job: permanent honeymooning and writing about it. (That first paragraph especially was totally brilliant!)

 
At 06 January, 2009, OpenID kcinnova said...

I'm sitting here smiling over everyone's comments ...and the piranha minnows). Floating down the jungle river sounds awesome, but I just lost my desire for a glass of wine.
I'll just stay here in my confused house and live vicariously through you. Pictures????

 

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