Lazy Daze in Hopkins, Belize
The dog's head slowly bobs up and down under its own weight. His eyes are shut and he is asleep but still managing to hold himself upright, at least for now. He is almost menacing. Wrinkled forehead and crooked jaw with the odd tooth sticking out from under his boxy nose. All the appearance of a guard dog but without the willingness or effort to do more than look our way and occasionally move in to see if we have an interest in patting him on the head. He lies lazily in front of us watching over the chickens as they scamper about for seeds and other bits of food from the sand. The only sounds are those of the wind rustling the palms above us and the gentle crashing of waves into the shore. Between us and the bus a woman hangs clothes on the line to dry as her son looks on from the crooked steps to their home. We look up occasionally as two roosters decide to square off, as a boat with fisherman trolls along in front of the horizon or as the inquisitive chicken wanders our way and throws sand on our feet. This is the lazy day we’ve come to know in Hopkins Village. The waves aren’t large enough to surf and the reef is too far offshore for us to snorkel without the help of a boat...an expense we cant justify in our budget. Instead we lazily watch the day pass as we write and nap and consider our next destination. The perfect recuperation from our long drive as part of the rally. We have plugged into the sounds of the sea jen says, and are recharging our souls.
We strolled through town yesterday. Not in a hurry to get anywhere, but knowing that the north end of the beach hosts a bar with a volleyball net and a rumor of bbq. We move from side to side along the street seeking shelter from the sun bearing down on us but always cooled from the constant wind coming in from offshore. We arrive at the bar and recline in a few empty hammocks. There is a small crowd of families and couples and three young tourists are sunbathing in bikinis and trying to ignore the cold breeze. After maybe 20 minutes someone comes out to take our order and we happily accept a rum and coke. We weren’t in a hurry and probably could have lounged until sunset without wanting for anything. As the crowd grows we ask for a volleyball and try to coax a small group into a pickup game.
No display of skillsets on this beach but a fun time by all. As the game devolves and the crowd separates back to their cocktails i ask a young girl what she’s making in the sand and we debate whether a sand volcano logically needs to have a caldera. My attempts at helping by sticking my finger in the top of her sculpture brings a quick retaliation from her and her allies, and chase ensues. We spend the next half an hour running around the beach with them stealing my hat or pulling down my sunglasses and run away screaming and laughing hysterically, supposedly terrified of my blue eyes. They are adorable and i am exhausted, so after a few failed attempts at playing dead i head to the ocean to escape their capture and cool off. They follow and try to drag me (dead or not) out to sea.
Sadly the frolicking ends only after one of the robbers grabs my sunglasses and the lens flies out into the murky water. We spend the next 20 minutes hoping that the sea will deliver it onto shore and walking back and forth trying to spot it in as the shallow water meets the beach. No such luck, and my sunglasses have been added to the list of casualties on our trip. The list is growing and it's the expensive items that hurt as we know we don’t have the means to replace them. The favorite sunglasses, the iPad that cracked in a short fall and our DSL camera that seems to not find or hold a sharp focus. All in, a surprisingly short list given our travels i guess...
By the time i give up on the chances of the sea returning the lens we are starving. We walk back toward the southern end of town looking for food but don’t spot anything before reaching the bus and make our own snacks. Luckily the bar next to us is opening and we are drawn over by the promise of fish and chips. While we await our food we move to the bar to get in better earshot of the debate going on among a few expats that live here. They tediously discuss taxation, education and sustainable development and we are reminded that these issues exist even in paradise. We enjoy the company, i love the debate (and we both love the rum) but sadly our group fails to solve any of the world's problems.
My train of thought is being torn away as the little boy from the steps and is now under my chair and playing monster. He rocks my chair from below trying to regain my attention and doesn't think my writing is a worthwhile venture when theres playing to be done. Only moments ago he and two friends were walking around single file with a small pvc pipe threaded between their legs. Apparently they are starting a taxi business, and for only $1bze I can straddle the pipe and walk around with them to the other side of the sandy lot. Gifted entrepreneurs these boys, but Im out of change and the taxi departs without me.
The wind is turning cooler and the plastic chairs next to us are beginning to blow over. It feels like we might have a repeat of the intermittent storms that rocked the bus last night and blew rain sideways through the open popout windows.
As i look to my right jen’s eyes are growing heavy and her head is beginning to nod as the dog’s was doing moments ago. He has now toppled over and stretching out in the sand, maybe a sign that we should do the same... its a long time until midnight and New Years and all this relaxing is hard work.