This is Belize: Chew on this ‘Shark Tank’

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Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle . . .
Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle . . .

For a fleeting moment as I drove east on Caribena Street in San Pedro, Belize, I had a blinding flashback to an old lost friend, Monkey Bob.

Some of you may remember our earliest travel companion in Belize. He went where we went and never complained. Until he mysteriously disappeared without so much as a “See ya!”

Looking at this sad excuse for a primate, I could almost see an older, disheveled , more-alcoholic Monkey Bob behind those blood-shot eyes.

But no. It was not our Bob.

This is our lost and lamented travel companion, Monkey Bob, atop the Blue Tang Inn in San Pedro in 2013. You can seen the kind of chap that he was then and how I might have mistaken the Drunken Monkey for dear old Bob. You can see that, can't you?
This is our lost and lamented travel companion, Monkey Bob, atop the Blue Tang Inn in San Pedro in 2013. You can seen the kind of chap that he was then and how I might have mistaken the Drunken Monkey for dear old Bob. You can see that, can’t you?

I stopped anyway. I don’t know why. I’ve seen characters like this around town before. Sleeping it off in wheelbarrows. Hungover in the shade of a palm tree. Weaving down the road with a half-filled soda bottle of high octane home brew.

It was January 2 already, for Cripes sake. Had he been partying like it was still 2015 all this time?

Naturally I needed to take a picture.

That’s when James popped up.

The little man with angelic eyes looked up at me and said, “You going to take a picture?”

“Sure,” is said, holding up my trusty Apple iPod.

“Then put some money in the cup,” said the eight-year-old, only slightly hardening that sweet little smile.

“Money?” I asked, incredulously but a bit stupidly, as his directions had been crystal clear.

“Uh huh, in the cup. He pointed to an empty plastic rum punch glass in front of the drunken monkey.

Was it worth it, I wondered? Aw, yeah. What the hell. The kids an entrepreneur. He’ll probably be mayor of San Pedro some day and will remember me as a welsher if I shoot and run.

So I took a pic and dropped 60 cents into the cup and hopped back into my golf cart.

I swear I heard James let out a scornful “Meh!” as he looked into the cup.

By the time I got home, my good friend Adam Feldman had already posted the exact same picture on his Facebook page. There will be more, I assure you. I noticed that James varies the pose of his drunken monkey from time to time.

I bet Adam gave the kid a buck. “Yes, we gave him a donation for his work of art!!! Nothing like creativity matched with entrepreneurship,” said Adam. No wonder James acted like I was some cheap piker.

James will be mayor some day. At the very least, he’ll own half of San Pedro.

I can’t wait for his presentation when school reopens: “What I did on my Christmas vacation ….”

This is Belize.

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Editor’s note: “This is Belize” is an occasional series within the “Bound for Belize” blog. It highlights the sometimes goofy, quirky, strange, frustrating, bewildering, heartwarming or sweet things that happen to us and which put a light on the Belizean outlook and spirit.
The title comes from a 20-year resident of Belize and long-time friend, Steve Thompson. When things happen here that are beyond Steve’s control or comprehension, he simply sighs and utters, mantra like, “This is Belize.” And he finds acceptance within, while warding off cynicism.
If you have experiences/stories that might leave you whispering “This is Belize,” send them to me so we can share! My e-mail is

6 thoughts on “This is Belize: Chew on this ‘Shark Tank’

    Susan said:
    January 2, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    You could start an Island search for Monkey Bob…kinda like a Where’s Waldo game! But you’re going to have to come up with more than 60 cents for prize money!


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      January 3, 2016 at 3:18 pm

      I do recommend that everyone travel with a Monkey Bob, or similar talisman. They make good company, offer great comfort and are intriguing additions to otherwise ordinary photos.


    Jack said:
    January 2, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    That could easily be “Monkey Bob’s Uncle Bob” I’m sure most of us have a Uncle Bob of sorts in the family! Great pic!


    SLT said:
    January 3, 2016 at 11:52 am

    My TIB is apparently in the public domain now. Oh well, you are welcome to it Bob. Nice piece, by the way.


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