Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Location: San Pedro, Belize
Y’know, sometimes I feel like Mister Rogers when I start writing each blog... Almost like I should be throwing a Converse shoe from one hand to the other while singing. It’s a familiar feeling each week. It’s part of my ‘routine’ and it’s something that I look forward to. Even during the weeks that I don’t do anything particularly interesting, I know I can always count on political stupidity or celebutainment to keep the ball rolling. Blogging is a blast.
The next Ann Margaret my ass...
Frightening, but true: What would we do without the zany antics of President Bush or Paris Hilton. This week I’ve been particularly enthralled by the well-trafficked ‘Make Lindsay Lohan Eat’ website. So far the petition has gathered over 25k signatures for Lohan to simply pick up a burger or choke down a milkshake. Maybe if she wasn’t so busy double-fisting the freebie gift bags at various awards shows (which she consequentially makes her assistants sell any excess on Ebay), she’d have more time to get back some of those curves that made her a FEMALE moviestar. Right now she’s more boyish than most of the guys who dance at The Boardwalk in Ft Lauderdale.
This week I’m in Belize, spending time in the beautiful San Pedro and getting reacquainted with scuba diving. I’m on a high right now, as tonight was my first night dive and it was incredible. The current was very strong, making the swim back to the ship a real ass-burner, but well worth the totally different view from daytime. My internet connection is zip here on this small island, so I’m writing a bit each night until I get back (on Saturday) and will then post up once home. Much like my blog on Rio and Carnival, this blog will work sequentially though the whole trip. Let's get ready to roll...
DIA UNO: Are we there yet?
Getting up early isn’t so tough anymore when catching a flight, but sitting on the tarmac at such an ungodly hour is a sin. Plain and simple. Continental was having serious traffic into Houston, so ATC held us in San Antonio for more than an hour. SkyMall filled the time nicely and I found more tacky shit to buy and put in my backyard that I ever imagined. Honestly, who needs a life-sized King Tut outdoor Tiki bar? I’m sure it would really compliment my cross-gartered leg lamp inspired from the film ‘The Christmas Story.’ All I need now is some thick plastic over my couch to complete the white trash look...
I get into Houston. Connect by the skin of my teeth to the gate for Belize (a real Prefontaine moment brought to you lovingly by Terminal B and Terminal E) and find that the flight almost had more crew than passengers. I wonder if this meant I would get two packets of pretzels instead of just one... Dare to dream.
I signed up for that damned Verizon Airphone service that lets you use those horribly overpriced plane phones for cheapo rates (10 cents/min) and I was sort of psyched to try it out on my way over to Belize. I’m sure you can see where this is going... Nope, didn’t work. Something about technical difficulties and it kept disconnecting my call. Shit. Maybe I’ll get lucky on the way back and be able to carefully describe (in great detail) my in-flight drink to a loved one on the ground, all while annoying the living hell out of the guy next to me. If I’m feeling frisky, I may even invite a flight attendant to chime into the conversation and give a personal safety demo.
‘The main doors are now closed, thus making you all a captive audience... Welcome to hell!’
It could happen :)
So I land in Belize City. I was expecting chickens to be running freely thorough the terminal, but was surprised to arrive in a very clean, open and non-sales oriented environment. I then had to get from the Continental flight to a smaller Cessna to fly to San Pedro. No air conditioning and a landing from hell later, I was finally in the beachy Belize we see in those airbrushed travel guides. The island was beautiful, the people very friendly and everything just clicked. Paradise found indeed. Take a look:
Whenever I travel to smaller, island-based communities, I always notice that most of the male population is in good shape, well-toned up and good looking. Is it something in the water? Maybe it’s my slight affectation for brown guys. I’m not really sure, but the amount of good looking guys on this island is pretty decent. Some have that darker, Brazilian look with the bodies to match: Broad shoulders, v-shaped torso, ripped abs and thick legs, while others have a nice well-worked-in-the-sun kind of look that also breeds a slim and muscled body as well.
Impure thoughts galore. Oh yes.
I found a gym on the island! Open air, with a beautiful pool and fully equipped otherwise for a really kickass workout. I always prefer a gym that’s doesn’t bitch about taking off your shirt when you workout, as visually targeting muscle groups as you work them always gives a better workout and faster results. Secondly, it’s somewhat nice looking at yourself in the mirror and watching all of your muscles just pop as you’re lifting. Why work hard if you’re not going to appreciate the result. Does this make me a little egotistic? You bet your sweet ass it does.
In any event, I went shirtless at the gym and was able to keep up on my routine. .... And yes, there was a exhitionibhist side of me that wanted to jerk off on the mirrors while working the dumbbells. Yea, i'm a freak.
A funny thought: Most people go on a beach vacation and return home a darker shade. Since I MysticTan, I’m actually going to come home whiter than when I left, as the tan eventually fades from a rich brown back to white the more I dive. LOL. Being Irish can suck. We may be able to Riverdance, but we sure as hell can’t tan.
DIA DOS: Say Goodnight Gracie...
Yep. It’s dead. I thought of saying a few nice words about how hard she worked in life before they hauled her carcass away, but I didn’t know her well enough. The air conditioning unit in the room gave up the ghost and died. Luckily, the resort was lightening fast in replacing it with a new one that seriously cranked out the cold air.
Oh Trane Compressor, we hardly knew ye
It was so cold that I was almost pissing in cubes. I love it! (PS: I’m a polar bear when I sleep)
Did an afternoon intro dive: Half snorkel, half scuba (Holchen Park/Shark Alley). I had never been diving with large sharks before, so I was a bit nervous, but once in the water they seemed to keep to themselves and were beautiful to watch. My first instructor who I got my open water card from was a very staunch eco-diver who taught me to always dive with respect for your surroundings, so seeing my fellow divers chasing the sharks and eventually catching a nurse shark to hold for a picture seemed wrong to me. We’re visitors in their home. It’s along the same lines with me as a diver going under and bringing back coral or other floor souvenirs. Not cool and really disrespectful.
That night we went on my first night dive. I wasn’t too nervous, other than the fact that the other divers in my group were all very experienced and I worried about my air consumption. I didn’t want to get down, run the tank out and make everyone come up early (as there was only one divemaster). Luckily, I was under about an hour and a half, finished the dive and had a whole 100 psi to spare. LOL. Yeowza... By the skin of my teeth. The dive was fantastic btw.
Chilled out that night. The next day was going to be an R&R day because on Friday am I had to be up at the buttcrack of dawn to dive the Blue Hole (5am-5pm). Went out to the gym. Caught some lunch (I love Belizean stewed chicken now) and trekked out to the North side of San Pedro to check out what the ‘desolate’ side looked like. Getting over there requires a short ferry ride, but the cool thing about it is that it’s hand-pulled across. Once across, the resorts are at a minimum and the private vacation homes get more grandiose. There is actual beach on the North side, as well as various day spas and oceanfront property for sale. It’s really pristine looking and not as busy as the rest of San Pedro: A good day trip for those looking for some isolation, silence and possible nude sunbathing. WHOOHOO! They also have a few nice places to get a beach workout (pullups, dips, pushups, etc) if you’re into really sweating your ass off.
Just remember to put some SPF on the boys downstairs (or jiggly girls, depending on who’s reading). It’s a scorcher out there and the constant breeze is deceiving. I’m sure I burned today.
My hair feels like straw. Yep, I’m near the saltwater. Sadly, the supermarket here looks at me funny when I ask for Aveda products. I think I might shave my head when I get home.
The main thing I’ve noticed here is that all of the locals are incredibly nice. They wave as you drive past, say hello and smile. Often times people ask for short rides when you’re driving through town on the golfcarts (as they’re on foot) and just as to be let off at some point. If you’re ever here in town, pay it forward and give someone a lift. You might just end up having one hell of a conversation and learn something new about San Pedro...
DAY TRECE: The real adventure begins...
Aren't my swim shorts hideous?
The last full day was spent diving the Blue Hole. It was the deepest dive I’ve ever done (160ft) and definitely one of the most interesting, with stalagmites and stalagtites lining the walls as we got deeper. The thermal curtain change on the way down was awesome. I’m glad I wore a shortie on the dive, as the water went from a surface 80 degrees to 67 at the deepest point. Most of us were narcing out at some point in the dive, but everyone on the dive surfaced perfectly and the Blue Hole was a success. Had lunch on a deserted Lighthouse Cay Island, which is known for their boobies.
There’s a cheap joke in there somewhere. *grin*
The next morning, unbeknownst to myself or traveling companions, the government issued a tourist evacuation due to the impending hurricane. Since we didn’t know, we simply packed up our stuff and got out to the airstrip for our Tropic Air flight back to Belize City. Got there to find the airport a mess of people and it seemed that the airline was doing little to nothing to organize the madness. I found out that the airline was trying to get people off of the island asap, but with each of their 3 planes only holding 12 people, it was going to be a sticky process. There were at least 600 people waiting around, some with reservations like us, some not, but in the longrun it didn’t matter, as Tropic Air cancelled everything and made it a ‘first come-first serve’ situation. By that time, stores in the area were boarded up and getting water was impossible. Let me tell you, 6 hours in the Belizean sun sucks. I already had a swollen gland from some saltwater intake on a previous dive and knew I wouldn’t be back home soon enough to curb getting full-out sick.
We finally made a flight out to Belize City and just barely scrapped by into getting onto the last flight back to the states on Continental (to Houston’s IAH). By that time, I was really hot, dizzy, not sweating at all, but kept drinking as much water as I could. I got back into San Antonio at 11pm and headed straight for the ER.
I was running a 104 degree temp. I was dehydrated. My blood pressure was incredibly high. I was diagnosed with heat stroke, which also made the infection in my throat a bigger issue as well. The doc gave me a Z-Pack (high powered Erythromycin) and told me to load up with Pedialite and Tylenol. I figured I was on the road to recovery.
I was wrong.
My fever broke. That was good. The Z-Pack was working, as my glands and throat pain were going away, but my stomach was beginning to feel shitty. I had taken Z-Pack back in college and I had never experienced any side effects. This time, my stomach felt like it was eating itself, eventually getting to a pain point where I could no longer eat or drink anything. When I did, it felt like the area around my diaphragm was being stabbed with needles. I headed back to the ER where they let me know that the Z-Pack had caused an open ulcer on my stomach. So I basically traded one problem for another... Whoo-freaking-hoo.
So, now I’m at home and recovering from this stomach problem. They gave me some prescription-strength Pepcid, along with a pain-pill if needed. I’m on a diet of toast, water and bananas (also known as the Karen Carpenter mealplan) and it’s killing me that I can’t eat anything that’s not as bland as listening to Olivia-Newton John albums. Digital cable has now become my only outlet to the outside world. The anchors on Headline News endlessly amuse me with their overly-orange makeup and dramatic delivery of even the smallest story.
I still refuse to watch Oprah.
I’m not dying. I’m recovering nicely actually. Perception sometimes tends to become reality, but be assured that this was an awesome trip to Belize. For those out there who actually wished me unwell, remember that karma has a long memory and will come back at you tenfold. Your psychosis is only matched by your sad inability to obsess on something worthwhile... I suggest finding a charity.
This week’s EYE CANDY is last (but not least) on the agenda. Enjoy!
As always, the more graphic EC goes up weekly on my yahoo groups site in the archive. Currently, i've got over 300 images to browse. Join up for free to check em' out.
Thanks to my webguru for helping me post up this week and for also taking the time to keep info posts going to my groups site while i was in the hospital. I'm still definitely in recovery-mode, but trying to get my health together soon, as i've got an upcoming trip on the QM through the Balkins on the horizion. That's one trip i want to be well for. Simply put, being sick sucks.
Thanks for waiting for this last edition. I really appreciate the emails and calls about feeling better as well. I'm just hoping that the Doctors pinpoint what's going on. Bloodwork has all come back on the up & up, so they remain hopeful that it's just an ulcer (and not some strange, foreign flu). I do know this for sure: I'm taking it easy.
"If I had my way I'd make health catching instead of disease." ---Robert Ingersoll