I think I outdid myself this year.
In 2014 during that special monthlong holiday known as Rose’s Birthday Season (it ends Sept. 7, more or less … ) I gave my wife an especially thoughtful gift — new fenders for her bicycle!
I hear you snickering. But let me tell you something, diamonds are not a girl’s best friend when you are pedaling a bicycle through water-filled, truck-eating potholes during the rainy season in Belize.
Good fenders are!
Last year, during Rose’s Birthday Season, there was no concrete road in front of our home but they were building one and the heavy equipment cut deep tracks into the rain sodden road, tracks which filled, merged and were deep and wide enough to sustain whole ecological systems, if not the Loch Ness Monster.
OK, this year we have the road. I do not know where the rain is but we could sure use some of it now.
Last year we were rookies. You could tell by the “skunk stripe” up the back of our clothes when roads were wet — which if memory served seemed to be, like, always,
Major respect to San Pedranos who cycle, mostly bicycles without fenders, and manage to keep their clothing clean. I have followed behind some on our then-muddy main road north of the bridge and it is clear a lifetime relying on two-wheel transportation has taught them well.
San Pedranos possess intuitive physics. They know the correct speed at which to pedal through wet streets, hitting that centrifugal sweet-spot which spells the difference between a rooster tail of mud up your back and a harmless spray cascading to the ground. Go slow. But steady. Let gravity do its job.
Me, being a gringo, pay for my penchant for speed with a healthy splatter on the back of shirts and shorts. There was nothing like pedaling to Wine De Vine on a Friday night — and not discovering until we returned home the gray stripe up and down the back of my white (what was I thinking?) shirt.
True story. You thought island living was all Paradise and no pain?
Between last Birthday Season and this one, we bought a golf cart. Timing was such that it did not qualify as a birthday gift, more of a necessity. With the arrival of the concrete road north of the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge, and the increase in yoga and Pilates classes that Rose was teaching, a bicycle just wasn’t enough. Plus a heart operation kept me off the bicycle for a couple of months.
Our cart is known throughout the island as Moncho’s 59.
Partially because that is what it says on the side of the cart, “Moncho’s 59.” And partially because it was probably the ugliest cart in continuous operation. The windshield is cracked and stitched together like a Frankenstein monster. The top was badly cracked and held together with duct tape, which tends to loosen in the heat and flap like silver banners in the breeze.
All that descriptive stuff came in handy when I thought the cart was stolen during the apex of Lobster Festival.
To this day, our friends and some complete strangers remind me of the Great Golf Cart Brain Fart of 2015. No really, to this day. Just today, someone said …..)
But never mind that.
The point is, ugly no more.
Well, not as ugly.
For her birthday this year, I got Rose a new roof for Moncho 59!
Well, come on … a little applause?
It actually isn’t new. It was sitting atop an old cart in the spare parts section of a great little local repair shop.
For $400 BZE the guys swapped it out — and reinforced the aluminum frame.
When I told her it was part of our birthday season celebration, Rose rolled her eyes a bit, which after all these years I know means that I am just adorable and she is so grateful for the little kindnesses that I bestow upon her.
Well, maybe she’ll think that when it starts raining.
If it starts raining.