A man paddles north in a kayak so brilliantly green that it matches the water beneath him.
A young Belizean in a sideways red ball cap, a basketball jersey and white baggy Gekko shorts, his hands clutching a small throw net, pursues a school of feeding snapper close to shore.
A woman in the shade of the palm trees watches her dog chase crabs and lizards.
Several cinnamon hummingbirds hover over the blades of a yucca plant.
A people-packed water taxi speeds north while an empty one heads south. A tugboat pushes north the biggest barge I’ve ever seen, laden with sand and vehicles.
An endless band of bicyclists pass by on the hard-sand trail.
Beside me is Haruki Murakami’s “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage,” demanding to be reread, if only to dispel the wet and weighty disappointment. Did I miss something? Was it the distraction of returning to Belize and moving that robbed me of the usual euphoria I feel when wrapping up one of Murakami’s novels?
But I am also torn between finishing Jo Nesbo’s “Headhunter” which, despite the great title, is not a Harry Hole crime thriller, and launching into Kevin Fedarko’s “The Emerald Mile,” about the fastest ride ever through the Grand Canyon (and much more). Or, maybe, Thich Nhat Hanh’s meditation manual “The Miracle of Mindfulness.”
Oh, look, another bird, surely a great tail grackle, black as coal with very long tail feathers. It looks like a small turkey-in-training when it turns its back to the wind.
Can you guess what I am doing?
If you answered waiting for Belize Telemedia Ltd. to come install WiFi in our new home (more on that later), you would be correct.
I was told that they would arrive on Monday or Tuesday. The guys called Monday afternoon to say they were finishing another job first.
Then. Nothing. Today is Thursday.
It is no big deal. As you can see, I have plenty to do while waiting.
Oh, look. Another bird. One with colors. I’m fairly sure it is a Mexicana Bananaquit, thanks to a lovely illustration by Dana Gardner in H. Lee Jones’ “Birds pf Belize.”
I imagine Gardner, Jones & Hawkins will identify quite a few birds over the coming indefinite period of waiting.
I hope I don’t sound impatient, antsy, agitated or put out – all of which could be synonymous with being an American abroad, I suppose. Aside from the fear of going out to eat moments before the installers show up, I am quite happy to sit. And wait. And count birds. And boats. And people.
Indeed, the absence of the Internet is a good thing. I spend way too much time watching people do amazing things with melted chocolate while riding bicycles, or ritually pouring icy water on top of their heads in the name of a terrible affliction, or – wow – is that the cutest puppy video you have ever seen in your life????
Way too much time. Way, way too much.
In fact, while back in the States, Rose and I discussed turning off the Internet two days a week. We would go out and do something else, like bicycle around looking for people pouring ice water on their heads or do amazing things in real time with chocolate while cycling. Or, hey, will you just look at that cute puppy on Barrier Reef Drive!
Or snorkeling. Or maybe just talking to real people. In real time.
Well, we talked about it. We’ll see.
Meanwhile, while I’m waiting, now seems like a good time to bring you up to date.
After six weeks in transit, we returned to Ambergris Caye two weeks ago and this week, we moved into a waterfront condo development called The Cloisters. It took all of two full trips in a golf cart borrowed from our friends Ed and Shirley. Later, Rose and I hand-carried the few remaining items, as we are quite literally moving just across the road.
I know what some of you are thinking: Aren’t Bob and Rose supposed to be moving to the south end of the island? And the rest of you are thinking: Aren’t Bob and Rose supposed to be moving to San Ignacio?
The answer to both questions is: Yes.
The explanation is, well, things change. What’s the saying? Life happens while you are making plans.
The longer we stay on Ambergris Caye the harder it becomes to think about moving to the mainland. So we modified our goal a bit and decided to simply try the south end of San Pedro for six months to a year.
Then, this place in The Cloisters became available. Like so many things here, we found it by word of mouth. It wasn’t even on the market. It didn’t take but a few e-mails between the owners before we’d worked out an arrangement that works well for all of us.
And so this will be our home for the next year. Simple as that.
We have great friends here, north of the bridge. In fact, we now have great friends all over the island. So, living north or south seems less and less important. The goal is not to run around Belize looking for the best deal, either renting or buying. The goal is to settle in, become a part of Belize. Maybe the right home will come along and maybe we’ll just keep renting. Maybe here on the island and maybe on the mainland or maybe on some idyllic caye out beyond the barrier reef.
I think Buddha said that only when you stop pursuing something will you be able to catch it.
Like my WiFi guys. I stopped wondering about when they would arrive days ago and started paying attention to the world around me, and it is an amazing world, filled with so much more than you can see in a pretty photo or a postcard.
They will arrive when they arrive.
And they did. And they installed the WiFi and it worked beautifully.
For less than 24 hours … because sometime early this afternoon I think I fried the wiring inside the router.
But that is another story for another day.
Right now, I need to call BTL and see if they make house calls on weekends. And find a bar with WiFi so I can tell you all this stuff.