A 10 Day Blur in the Banana Republics of Belize & Honduras.
The last week of March I would wake up to find the sun shining brightly, but the sea was still full of chop. Just thinking about the hostel divers who were crossing the open ocean towards Half-Moon Caye to dive the Blue Hole, made me faintly ill.

ISLANDGIRL was at my door early every day for the past few days, eagerly waiting to talk, for us to make light and laugh about her Men tribulations to help ease her broken heart. BABY'S DADDY d.b.a MANDINGO (Mandingo which is our creole version of a gigolo) had woken up a few mornings ago and told her he was going to work and had simply vanished off the face of the earth. It was only after days of investigating that Islandgirl got enough of a lead to know that he had taken off with an older foreign woman with money or what we call a "Mandingo Sponsor" and left the country.

After days of hearing Islandgirl's tragic tale of deception, I needed a break. I was excited when Sof-Girl emailed me from Roatan. She would joke that she was 'Tinas protege' when she helped me run the hostel there, we are now friends & thats our HISTORY. She, back in Honduras with plans to make a home there was looking for property to buy. When she asked if I would consider selling her the lot I got from G-Rod at Far Flung Heights in Roatan, I agreed

A vacation with the end result being I get some money did not seem like the wrong thing to do. I was eager to close the deal with Sof-Girl so I planned my trip to leave on the earliest flight out. Atlantic Air flies only on Mon/Wed/Fri.

The following day I eased down to the Split Bar for sunset happy hour cocktail and ran into MAYA freshly moved back to the island from First World.

Maya: "Hey, I heard you had gone to Honduras"
Me (not surprised how fast news travels on the coconut wireless)/ "I just decided to go yesterday and I'm leaving tomorrow, want to come?"
Maya: "Hmmmm.....don't tempt me"

The next day Maya & I met up at the noon water taxi to Belize City thinking we had plenty of time to catch our 2:45p.m flight. After all, it oly takes 45 mins to the city and another 15 mins to Int'l and we don't need 2 hours of check in time. There would be no long lines, the little rusty bird only had 24 seats to fill and I was sure most of those would be empty as always.

After taking a little longer time running around the city looking for foreign currency, we arrived at the Int'l airport just short of 2:00 pm to find that the flight had been closed and was getting ready for take off. After raising a stinky fit to the agents about the flight departing ahead of schedule, we were finally allowed to board.

The sky was almost clear and great visibility from our low altitude. A few tiny scattered clouds cast dark shadows resembling caviar on a turquoise green buffet platter below. To top off this delicious scenery, the Reef-Formation highway looked like a bread-stick being the obvious brown corals, with cream cheese topping being the foam of the breaking waves on the reef. Filling up the platter, dozens of little palm islands scattered inside which looked like boiled eggs cut in half, the palm trees being the yoke, the white outer edge, the sandy beaches.

We had the required stops and plane changes in San Pedro Sula & La Ceiba and by then, we had already made friends with the handsome 40 year old single guy on the plane. He is Mr. SpinRider, SpinRider being a company that films interesting bike routes so people around the world would have a nice visual to look at on the screen while they rode their stationary bikes in the gym. He was going to do some filming in Roatan and we essentially told him he was kidnapped by us and he didn't fuss.

As the plane leaned to the side turning to line up with the runway suggesting imminent arrival, you could see the jagged outline of the long narrow hilly island rich with secret beaches, coves & bights surrounded by deep Caribbean trenches reflecting a cobalt blue sea. I immediately recognized the white swash hugging the island as the sunken and unseen reef.

Roatan, a mini metropolis of approximately 75K pop, is unlike Caye Caulker which is a tiny and popular stop for backpackers. Utila takes the title of Backpackers haven in the Bay Islands. The similarity is that all these islands along the Banana Republic's Mayan Riviera still maintain a casual tropical liveliness only found in pirate heritage sites which are still occupied by pirates & interesting eccentric ex-pat drop-outs of a fugitive disposition.

We stayed at Mermaids in West End which is right next to Tina’s Backpackers Hostel, the same Tinas Hostel that I opened last year & that I closed last year when I left. Well my entrepreneurial neighbor rented the building after I left, stole my business name and idea and put up my exact signs that I had taken down and is now operating my business – WITHOUT ME. That’s a court case still waiting to happen, I’m just not ready yet.

The following day I hooked up with Sof-Girl and her mom Tarzan’s Girl who was visiting and with Maya and SpinRider in tow, we rented a mini and squeezed in for some island tours. The next day, Sof-Girl and I had to go to my attorney’s office which happens to be in G-Rods condo project on West Bay Beach. I took the opportunity to surprise my ex G-Rod and we all met up at his beach bar for some drinks.

While sitting there, I got the HORROR of the week, there walking towards us hailing me brightly was IslandGirl's missing Mandingo from Belize with his foreign “Sponsor” in tow. They sat with our growing entourage at our table on the beach.

The “Sponsor” sits down next to me and orders herself a drink and looked at me in the happily brainless way of someone who does not realize disaster is afoot. I was very upset with Mandingo for hurting IslandGirl & what nerve he had to sit at my table with HER as if nothing was the matter! It was his birthday and he was drunk and bouncing around like a caveman at a tea party.

The beach however, was exceedingly splendid – broad, clean, sunny with lazy manageable sized waves rolling in from an almost painfully blue & bright sea. Now this whole week started to look like it was going down funny – funny not in the comical sense – more like when you say something smells funny – stinky, coincidental.

By the end of the week, we lost SpinRider who had grown tired of “small talk” among other reasons . The days were slipping by sipping Margaritas by the beach and nights on the town he was worried that he was never going to be fit to do long bike rides. He needed to get his film done and we were terribly corrupting.

We ran into Mandingo and his Sponsor the following night at karaoke in Coxen Hole and that was the last we saw of them so we lost them mid-week. Just as some left the group, others joined like L.A. girl, who after one too many, took a small flashight and spotted between everyone's legs on the beach one night which left us weirded out. After rounding up the entourage all week & partying day & night in between trying to conclude a real estate transaction, my body finally gave in and I came down with a hard-core flu. Maya said I should be an Event Planner or a Social Coordinator of sorts so that I could have continuous interesting feed for my blog.

I told her that blog Tina has become a legend in her own mind and that not even I can be her everyday, it would kill me. I had arrived back home from a hectic fun week, tired, sick & just about near death says hypercondriac.

Mandingo arrived back on the Caye the same day as I and the ensuing drama that unfolded between He, Islandgirl & the Sponsor is too much for me to write here. After talking to the Sponsor in Roatan, I had called Islandgirl and told her not to worry, he will be back, he's going to be dumped off in Guatemala soon. When Mandingo tried to tell Islandgirl that he only came back for her since he was going to Africa, she told him "I knew you were going to be dumped before you knew!" Coconut Wireless works across Banana Republic borders too, isn't that great?

After all the presents & cash Mandingo brought back, Islandgirl has figured a new strategy to deal with him. She said "I think he needs to go on another trip soon, my baby sure could use the stuff Sponsor afforded us."

We have "pimp my village", "pimp my ride" and now we have "pimp Mandingo". Business opportunities in the Caribbean are always popping up.


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Jenns Theatre said…
Hey Tina! Jenn & Lucas here, previous guests of yours. I love reading your blog! I can't wait to be back in Belize and will be sure to come stay at Tina's the next time we're in Caye Caulker.