It was just one of those days, you know? When the sun melted the searing white sand into fine crystal glass beads that the natives picked up and made into bracelets to sell to the tourists.
Yeah, it was that kind of hot.
So hot you saw your breath, only it was steam.
So hot, the iguanas were complaining.
So hot, the sorgassum dried up into dust as soon as it hit the shore and blew away.
It never gets that hot on Ambergris Caye. At least as far as I know.
Especially today. I mean it was warm, but the ever present breeze smoothed over the spiky edges and made it quite palatable. In fact the steady wind from the north was bring in some very muscular rain clouds and around mid-afternoon, it simply poured. For about a half-hour.
Then the sun came out and everything was beautiful again.
I rode my bicycle into San Pedro Town, this morning to pay some bills. First, the WiFi bill ($150 BZD) at Belize Telemedia Ltd. then up middle street to Atlantic Bank to pay the electric bill ($231 BZD). I briefly met a very busy Belizean walking into the bank. I couldn’t help but comment that he had a huge ring of keys with which he was locking up his bicycle.
Actually, I said: “Gee, that’s a lot of keys. You must own half of San Pedro.”
He smiled and said he does own a lot of rentals.
Sometimes I fear I come off as a real wise ass.
He actually was in a great hurry and was thrilled that there was nobody in line. At 11 a.m. On a Tuesday.
“Lots to do, lots to do, and not enough time to do it all” he said, about as agitated as the rabbit in “Alice in Wonderland.”
“You sound very un-Belizean,” I told him with a smile.
“That’s true, but these are busy times. You have to make the money when you can,” he replied politely and patiently.
That is so true. This is the time when everyone must make their nut, because the crowds will go away and take their money with them at the end of the season. Stress is no stranger in Paradise.
Facing an open path to the tellers, I think we both felt lucky.
I also felt very very dizzy. I blame it on the fact that Atlantic Bank and BTL are probably two of the coldest walk-in freezers on the island and if you’ve been cycling between them, the temperature change is a total body shock.
After the bank, I grabbed a quart of fresh orange juice and made my way to a bench in Central Park. That did the trick.
Of course I cycled home on Boca del Rio, the only major hard-packed sand road left on the island. It is quiet and simply beautiful this time of year. Docks, boats, blue water, palm trees, sea birds, mangroves, dive shops and beach bars — just the right combo of each.
No surprise that I often stop and take photos, only to discover later — “Hey, that’s the same photo I’ve taken before!”
So this time, I asked myself — and don’t ask me why — what if I shot some iPod photos through the Polaroid lens of my sunglasses?
I know. Crazy huh? All you have to do is snap an image, hit the edit button and you have a dozen different tints and moods and themes to choose from. Hipster creativity: selecting a button to change an image.
Shooting through the lens of a pair of state trooper sunglasses just seems so much more … oh, I don’t know … silly?
So I did it. Some pictures I shot through the front of the lens. Some I shot through the back of the lens. (I don’t know which is which, or if it even matters.) Some I shot with ear stems and my thumb in them — but you don’t get to see those …..
It was oddly nostalgic. Back to my early days in the newspaper business when I ran around with a 35mm SLR camera and a box full of lens filters, some that pulled the sky into your heart, some that blew away shadows, some that did mysterious things that I never figured out.
These just kind of blew me away. Not as art but as a different window with a fresh view into a familiar world.
We are forever rediscovering Belize, often in unexpected ways.
And I love that.