there’s johnny: belize, pt 1

August 21, 2017

The breeze is cool and for a moment chases the hot, sticky humidity away. I almost forgot what humidity is like after all these years in LA.  I’m staring out at a lagoon; the view from my back terrace. I am in Belize, on the peninsula called Placentia, the southeastern tip of the country. My first day was more challenging than I expected, but I wouldn’t say bad. A lot had to do with my exhaustion from taking 3 flights traveling through the night. Little upset with myself how quickly I become angry or frustrated at airports these days. Then again, maybe that’s airports these days. IMG_0899 The third and final flight was a six seater plane. It was as hot and humid as the Belize City Airport, where we waited on lines in a windowless, airless, wood walled room in order to pass through customs. It was like a decompression chamber adjusting you to tropical climate. My stomach leapt into my throat as we jostled and bounced in that tiny six seater plane. I’ve never been so aware I was in the air. In the air in a small metal contraption. And I don’t understand physics. I was not a big fan of the experience. IMG_1097At one point buttons flashed and chimed in the cockpit. The 8 year old girl, who they sat in the co-pilot seat to fit us all on, spun around to her mother, eyes wide in terror. The pilot, ever so nonchalant, pressed a button or two and lights and noises ceased. The views outside the window were spectacular.  I worked on my breathing.

The Belize Ocean Club is smaller, and seems more geared towards couples than I expected. But really, what did I know to expect? I think I just defer to movie depictions of resorts since I have never been. Visions of Cocktail crossed with Forgetting Sarah Marshall probably sums up my expectations. Not to disparage. The Belize Ocean Club greeted me with a Latitude Adjustment, (Coconut rum, vodka, fresh pineapple, orange and watermelon juice and blue Curacao) for which I was immensely grateful. I have a large, one bedroom apartment; open and bright with ceiling fans casually turning for breeze and ambience.  There is a back terrace where I can look out at the lagoon. To the right of my room is the main office and dinning room. The building is all wood, open and welcoming. You’re greeted with warmth by the front desk and the activities booking station. A short walk on wooden planks and gravel past the occasional iguana. Across the street, (the one street in Placencia), is the route to the other side of the resort. IMG_0902There is a nice pool with outdoor swim up bar, ocean, kayak & paddle board rentals and some of the friendliest staff you could ever imagine. It’s August, offseason and the resort is sparsely populated. I don’t always know what to do with myself. It’s been about fourteen years since I had a vacation that was longer then a three day weekend or a trip back home to NY to visit family, so this is wildly overdue. Here for relaxation and adventure. I’m just not sure I do the former.

Overwhelmed at first, nerves creeping in, I took care of myself the best I could. Action. I took out a kayak and paddled and paddled for almost 2 hours. I wasn’t even in my swimsuit yet, sneakers tied with shoelaces hanging around my neck. It was just impulse. Hoping I could trick myself into tranquility on the water, a place I’ve always found it. Believing physical activity would help slow my brain. I take in the peninsula from the sea; boutique resorts, spaced out with empty lots, and some construction. I try to go far. I try to go fast. I try to tire myself out. I feel strong and no amount of rowing seems to slow me down. Next, I check out the pool; the swim up bar. I order a Banana Mama (light rum, lime juice, banana puree, sprinkled nutmeg). My arms are crossed on the edge of the pool as my body floats. I hold my face up to the sun and only move to sip my drink. Brain still moving. In the afternoon, post pool, I fall asleep on the couch in my room. The sleepless night, sun and rum caught up with me. I woke up, hot and dazed. I get my dinner in the form of room service. I devour possibly the best red snapper and pineapple slaw I have ever eaten. Then I strolled to the beach and sat in the dark on the sand gazing out at the water. In the darkness some animal terrified me by making a slow approach to my side. But my reaction sent it racing under the pier, and I still have no idea what it was. I signed up for zip-lining in the AM. It turns out it may be my only chance to go. Hoping it will shock me out of my head and into this adventure. The bed is rather comfortable but like usual, not much sleep for me.

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