Hey Paradise, you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone

Posted on Updated on

Hail, hail, the gang's all here -- at Lobsterfest 2015 Block Party of course. This is what we were doing while our gold cart was getting stolen. I'd post pictures of the cart but I have none. Hey, it was kind of ugly. So I'll just keep posting Lobster fest images here.
Hail, hail, the gang’s all here — at Lobsterfest 2015 Block Party of course. This is what we were doing while our gold cart was getting stolen. I’d post pictures of the cart but I have none. Hey, it was kind of ugly. So I’ll just keep posting Lobster fest images here.

In answer to your first question — hey, it is everybody’s first question: Yes, I did lock the golf cart.

I always lock the golf cart.

Because I don’t want it to get stolen.

It was stolen Saturday night.

And, yes, it was locked.

There was a really really big crowd at Lobsterfest 2015. Really big. But not so big as anyone would notice somebody driving off in my golf cart. OK, no more golf cart mentions in the Lobsterfest photos. It gets old quick, doesn't it? Then find my cart!
There was a really really big crowd at Lobsterfest 2015. Really big. But not so big as anyone would notice somebody driving off in my golf cart. OK, no more golf cart mentions in the Lobsterfest photos. It gets old quick, doesn’t it? Then find my cart!

It is still stolen. Or missing. However you want to phrase it.

To me, if it is still stolen, that means it has been cut up for parts and they are already being redistributed for resale throughout the lovely little town of Placencia, in Southern coastal Belize.

If it is merely missing , then some local swiped it to joy ride home and it is sitting on the side of the road somewhere on the lagoon side of the island.

Or, some drunken gringo got into the cart and drove it back to the resort where he is staying and was too embarrassed to tell anyone and so just left it in the parking lot.

Several hours before the start of the Lobsterfest 2015 Block Party ,  Front Street was clean and empty as restaurants prepped their booths.
Several hours before the start of the Lobsterfest 2015 Block Party , Front Street was clean and empty as restaurants prepped their booths.

These scenarios are among the many I have heard since discovering that the cart was no longer parked in front of the Lions Club in downtown San Pedro at 10 p.m. on Saturday night.

Didn’t that put a damper on an otherwise fun-filled night at the Lobsterfest 2015 Block Party in Central Park and the impromptu Steve & Steve birthday bash at Lola’s Pub.

We  made our way to the police department were the first of many conversations there began like this:

“My golf cart has been stolen.”

“Was it locked?”

“Yes.”

The crowd, elbow to elbow, or lobster tail to lobster tail, turned out to celebrate crustaceans in all their delicious forms.
The crowd, elbow to elbow, or lobster tail to lobster tail, turned out to celebrate crustaceans in all their delicious forms.

The desk officer wrote the specifics down on a blank sheet of paper and then told me to return in the morning to file a formal report.

The specifics?

Specifically, it is about the ugliest golf cart on the island of Ambergris Caye. The roof is falling apart — I was looking for a new one — and is held together with duct tape. Lots and lots of duct tape. (One friend, I’ll call him a wag because he’s full of cart jokes at the moment, suggested the cart was stolen for the duct tape. Possible, but most unlikely.)

A long, arcing crack in the windshield is held together with Frankenstein-like plastic ties . . . and duct tape.

The kids from Panerrifix put on a great steel drum show .... speaking of steal .... just kidding. You can see a short video of the kids performing here.
The kids from Panerrifix put on a great steel drum show …. speaking of steal …. just kidding. You can see a short video of the kids performing here.

It has some faded Moncho’s cart rental logos on the side because that was the original owner. And it is still marked as Cart #59. I mean, if you were stealing a car in the States, would you go after a beat up old Avis or Hertz rental? Hell, no!

And it just looks old and dirty. Because, well, it is.

Who would want to steal something like that when there are some really cool looking carts parked up and down the streets of San Pedro?

Rose and Melanye at Lobsterfest 2015.
Rose and Melanye at Lobsterfest 2015.

I dunno. Was it locked.

Yes, it was locked.

Maybe that was the problem.

The lock was a bit old, a bit rusty and, just maybe, a bit vulnerable. It is a running joke on the island that virtually any golf cart key will start any other golf cart — thus many drunken tourists involved in cases of mistaken identity and grand theft golf cartery. A screw driver will start any cart. A butter knife. A very log and strong finger nail. A . . . well, you get the picture.

Rose with Scott and Jodi of the Palapa Bar.
Rose with Scott and Jodi of the Palapa Bar.

It doesn’t take much to steal a golf cart in San Pedro. Which is why everybody has an opinion on the matter. If their cart hasn’t been stolen. They know somebody’s that has.

Popular neighborhoods in which to “find” your lost cart? San Pedrito, San Mateo, DFC, San Juan. . . .A policeman suggested I bicycle around Escalante, because that is apparently a popular drop off area. Another friend confirmed that Escalante has some obscure “lagoon roads,” beside which a boat can pull right up and receive the stripped parts from a cart, then pull out and head for Placencia.

Now that is market efficiency and organization.

No matter. I cruised around many of these places on my bicycle and came up empty.

Rose with ... um ... with ... um ... oh, whatever.
Rose with … um … with … um … oh, whatever.

Here’s what else I have done:

  • I sat in the police department on Sunday from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. in hopes of filing a stolen vehicle report. I was successfully ignored but told to “be patient” several times. I gave up and left. Upon returning at 2 p.m. a young officer quickly and professionally took my information and typed up a statement which I signed. He even passed on the information to another officer who was heading out the door.
  • I made up small flyers which I handed out to taxi drivers — several people suggested taxis are the most likely to find a missing cart as they drive around. I had mixed success with that. One said my $50 reward for information was “too cheap.” He was laughing so maybe it was a joke. Another asked if, on top of my detailed description,  I had a picture. I know he was kidding.
  • I handed a flyer to Jaime from Bowen & Bowen and asked if he and his colleagues could keep an eye out while running their beverage distribution routes.
  • I gave a flyer to Damon at the toll bridge who said he would carry the information to the transportation department which was meeting last night.
  • I gave a flyer to Jose Jr. at Maria’s Produce stand and he offered to spread the word.
  • I placed an ad in the San Pedro Sun, which comes out on Thursday.
  • I told Martin and his colleagues at Moncho’s Cart Rental, just in case someone reported finding it to them.
  • And I just rode around and around, up and down streets, in and out of neighborhoods, looking very very sad.
Cool toys over by the Jaguar's Temple nightclub early in the evening on Saturday. I think that is its name.
Cool toys over by the Jaguar’s Temple nightclub early in the evening on Saturday. I think that is its name.

I discovered a few things: this island becomes a whole lot bigger when you are looking for something; people are generally nice and ready to offer advice and share their own experiences (once they confirm that I did indeed lock up the cart); there are some very interesting parts of Ambergris Caye of which I know close to nothing.

If the cart is recovered we’ll both be very happy and relieved. More so Rose than me, as she is dependent on the cart to get to and from Pilates very quickly. I’m back on the bicycle more than I have been and that is a good thing, health-wise.

My impulse is to conclude with some thoughtful meditation on possessions, poverty, chance, circumstances, alcohol, the better nature of humans and whatever but, nope. Stealing is stealing, be it a drunken tourist or a young island kid. When I find you, and the cart, I will kick your ass.

After you tell me how you got the cart unlocked.

Post script: Just kidding about the ass-kicking. That is not an option at my age. So, to get us all back in the proper paradisaical frame of mind I leave you with these two photographs of orchids in my neighborhood. In a way, they remind me of the amazing lion fish out in our barrier reef.

Lovely orchids growing in the Tres Cocos neighborhood, just north of San Pedro Town on Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Lovely orchids growing in the Tres Cocos neighborhood, just north of San Pedro Town on Ambergris Caye, Belize.

FullSizeRender (89)

 

My favorite Buddhist story of the moment:

Maybe (Taoist story)

An old farmer had worked his crops for many years.
One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.
“Maybe,” the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.
“Maybe,” replied the old man.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.
“Maybe,” answered the farmer.
The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.
“Maybe,” said the farmer.

Advertisements

13 thoughts on “Hey Paradise, you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone

    Carole Kocian said:
    June 23, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    There is something to be said about owning nothing.

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      June 23, 2015 at 7:52 pm

      There is something to be said for owning fewer things, unless a collective monastic/convent life is your ambition. The trick is to not become possessed by your possessions. The golf cart was a utilitarian thing, enabling us to accomplish tasks that might otherwise be unobtainable. It was not a status symbol or manifestation of ego and its loss leaves me largely emotionless. (The ending of this post was meant in jest, I hope you realize that. I’m 65 years old; kicking anyone’s ass is not an option….)

      Like

        Tom & Kris said:
        June 26, 2015 at 8:03 am

        Hi, Richard. Tom and I own the house with the orchids. We just posted pics of them yesterday on fb, as we’ve waited 4 years for them to bloom. A friend suggested we go to Orchids of Belize, as we’re trying to find the exact name, and there were your pictures. You look familiar. This was a short trip and we’re only here until tomorrow morning, but please stop and say hello as you go by today.

        Like

        robertjhawkins1 responded:
        June 26, 2015 at 1:59 pm

        They are certainly beautiful. I’d sure like to know the name too. Let me know what you find out! I’ll stop by if I get out. Rose and I just returned from Belize City on the water taxi. Knocks me out.

        Like

    Ruthie said:
    June 23, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    Oh my gosh…I love the pix in this post. So many of my sweet buddies.

    Like

    Tom wagner said:
    June 23, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    Some body from Fox News stold
    it The only answer Conservative Republicans!

    Liked by 1 person

    Linda Czestochowski said:
    June 24, 2015 at 7:22 am

    Not to get all zen on you (coz any kind of theft is infuriating!), but I’m a big believer in “fate” and maybe this means that a newer, shinier, better (complete with roof & windshield) golf cart will be zooming towards you shortly. If this were a CSI episode, the whole matter would have been resolved in 44 minutes! You’ve got some awesome sleuthing skills!! Fingers crossed for a happy outcome 🙂

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      June 24, 2015 at 8:08 am

      My favorite Buddhist story of the moment: Maybe (Taoist story)

      An old farmer had worked his crops for many years.
      One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.
      “Maybe,” the farmer replied.
      The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.
      “Maybe,” replied the old man.
      The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.
      “Maybe,” answered the farmer.
      The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.
      “Maybe,” said the farmer.

      Like

    Belize Blog (@SanPedroScoop) said:
    June 24, 2015 at 9:15 am

    But was it locked? I lose things all the freaking time…and it’s like people asking…where’d you see it last. GOOD LORD! IF I KNEW THAT, IT WOULDN’T BE LOST. Hope it turns up…

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      June 24, 2015 at 1:24 pm

      Thanks, Rebecca, at least before the rainy season really gets going!

      Like

    […] the cart that went missing last Saturday night, during Lobsterfest, has reappeared.  A couple of blocks north of where it […]

    Like

    Susan Watts said:
    July 2, 2015 at 8:09 am

    The ass kicking comment made me laugh!! Actually still laughing!!! Glad you found your cart safe, sound and FULL of gas..kind of like the own…ROFLMAO…can’t wait to see you guys in September!!! God is good…glad you have wheels again!

    Like

    […] Rum and beer is also sold but be very careful how much you consume in concert with lobster. You can go crazy and do weird stuff like lose your golf cart for nearly five days — or so I have been told by reputable others. (Here’s one of those sad stories.) […]

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s