On our return visit Nick invited us to his 5 year old gandaughter Nellie's birthday party. We expected to be among many at the party but to our surprise we were the only non-family members invited. Being central America of course nothing is on time. After waiting an hour to be picked up (grampa runs a cab), we figured it was not going to happen, so with great disappointment we rode our bikes into town. There we found Nick and his kids hurrying to pick us up! Nick had been busy preparing the BBQ chicken and lost track of time. Losing your sense of time is easy to do on Caye Caulker and one of the many things that endear us to the island. This is also one of the cultural differences which Americans must learn to cope with in order to fully enjoy living in Belize.
The party was a great celebration of youth and endeared us to Nick's family. We enjoyed their home cooking and bountiful hospitality. Sundown was near when we arrived which is time for the mosquitos to come out. Nick invited us into his home to get away from the bugs. A typical Belizian home is simple and quite inadequate by American standards (another adjustment we must make in order to be happy in Belize). The kitchen, which doubles as dining room and living room is small. I would guess it was about 10X12. In it was a refrigerator and stove and a small pantry cupboard, and a shelf with a stereo and tv. The kitchen sink is outside. We moved some tables and plastic lawn chairs into the room so that everyone could gather to eat. As guests Barb and I were seated centrally, given the only silverware, the best plastic chairs, and served first (before the birthday girl)! Dinner was delicious with BBQ chicken, beans served cold out of the can, cole slaw, and flour tortillas. Everyone else ate their meal with their hands. That worked fine for them, but thankfully we were given the opportunity to use silverware. Dessert was chocolate birthday cake.
After dinner we sat and watched WWE wrestling on tv. It was funny to watch them root for their favorite wrestler. They were shocked to hear that the whole show was put-on and the program is actually produced in a town near us in CT. It seemed we had just told them that there was no Santa, but that didn't spoil their fun!
On several occasions throughout the remainder of our stay we spent much time with the girls just relaxing in the ocean on hot days, simply enjoying fruit on our porch, or picking the local "coco plums", a sport reserved for children and birds. Several days were spent in the water at an establishment named the lazy lizard at "the split". A local man was observing our activity. When i engaged him in conversation he was wondering what we were doing there. I explained the girls belonged to a friend of ours (he knew exactly who) and we were entertaining them for the day. You have to love a small town where everyone is watching out for each other.
We spent the week taking time to be with the girls doing things that their parents are too busy to do because they are constantly working to support their family. The family loved our interest in them. We have been invited to visit their hometown of Toledo next summer to meet the rest of the clan. On our last day Nick, Nellie, Gabby and Brian saw us off to the airport where hugs and tears were shared. We will miss you!
What an unusual vacation that only came about by taking the time to be kids again! This was a very enjoyable experience for us. As our plans for retirement progress we will return to this little island to discover more of what life here in Belize has to offer.