Flip Flop Flying

Belize, day 6: Punta Gorda

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There was this big party, right. Loads of pristine shiny glasses. Waiters in crisp white shirts. Tiny bits of delicious food on huge silver plates. At the end of the hall, there was a big iron-framed service elevator. It was stuck. People were yelling from inside. I grabbed a crowbar and pried open the door. I shouted out, “Could someone help me with this door please?” Nobody even turned a head. I held the door open on my own as eight or nine people eased themselves out of the elevator car. None of them said thank you. They just went and talked to the other people as if nothing had happened. No one said thank you or any kind of acknowledgement. That is what woke me up. Nobody said thank you. And the howler monkeys were at it again.

I never sleep as soundly as I sleep here at Hickatee. Crappy dream aside, it was a wonderful night’s sleep. I opened the shutters and it was delightful sunny day.

I chatted with the pleasant German couple at the next table over breakfast. They live in Berlin. Reflexively, I said “oh, I used to live in Berlin,” but then, not wanting to speak in my patchy, half-forgotten German, I told them I was just there for a year or so, in 2001. I had to remember this half-lie constantly for the rest of the conversation. Things I knew from later experience were suddenly, “a friend told me that [x]” or “I was visiting a friend in [some later year].” They were dead nice, though, and as they checked out and headed north, made a point of giving me their email address and telling me that if I ever visited again and needed a place to stay, to get in touch. How nice is that?

I did some drawing. Got my small notebook and a pencil out and drew a few of the plants in the garden. In my head, there and then, it was the plan for the day: coat my self in bug spray and spend the afternoon drawing plants, like I was some 18th century explorer or something hear on the business of the Crown. Sir Craig Robinson, tropical illustrator the His Majesty. This plant, native to southern end of the Caribbean coast of British Honduras, has no name, thus will be called, Craigus Robinsonium. Biggus Dickus. He has a wife, you know…

That plan, though went tits up when I noticed fire ants nipping at my ankles. Little bastards were all over my sock. I took my shoe and sock off and there was about ten of them all up in my feet’s business. I regrouped, soldiered on–I am British after all– and had a wander around the garden again, but kept finding reasons to put my notebook away. I liked the idea of spending my time drawing, but I didn’t actually wanna do it.

The owner of the cottages, Ian, and I had a chat about the garden. He studied plants and stuff, but he wasn’t a landscape gardener or designer or anything. He’s done a wonderful job of highlighting what’s out there in the rest of the jungle. It’s like, in Mexico City, we have people who get onto the subway with a portable CD player attached to a speaker in a backpack, and the first song on the bootleg compilation they are selling has a few seconds of each song, which they play to entice you into giving them 10 pesos for a CD-R. The garden at Hickatee Cottages is like that first song: a bit of everything from the local jungle.

I’m quite we all have typos at we make fairly regularly. I was never taught to type and considering how much time I spend at a computer, it’s ridiculous really that I only use a couple of fingers on each hand. I tend to make the same errors when typing on an iPad. The worst of them, because it affects a lot of words, is that for some reason, when hitting the T and H, I don’t seem to do it write, and they go un-typed. So “that” becomes “at,” and “the” becomes “e,” “with” becomes “WI” (autocorrected as capital letters, so I assume, with iPads being American, that’s the abbreviation for Wisconsin, not Women’s Institute.) Not sure why that happens, cos I never seem to have problems if I type a T or H in other situations. Only together.

Who invented all the fun collective nouns? I hope it was just someone being playful. Someone who thought, damn, the English language is malleable as hell, let’s stretch the shit out of it, and came up with murder of crows or a closer of cats. The Internet is obviously ace, but sometimes, it’s just a little bit too easy to close a discussion with tap tap tap: well, here’s the factual reason. I kinda miss the days when a question like “who invented all the fun collective nouns?” could provoke a few minutes of discussion.

I tried to relax. I lay on the couch in my room in my underwear reading a book. I put the book on my chest, and started up and out of the window. The odd hummingbird hummed by. Tiny little things, not much bigger than an adult thumb. I could feel the relaxing there. Just out of reach. You know like when you wanna sleep, and you start drifting off, and then something–a noise on the street, perhaps–snaps you awake again, and the drifting disappears from your brain and you feel properly awake again? Kinda like that.

As the sun fell, and the sky got darker, the jungle grows louder with every incremental darkening of the sky. Like someone has their hand on the hifi volume dial and is trying to move it a continually and slowly as possible up to ten. If, like me, you have a touch of tinnitus, the jungle sound is so helpful for sleeping. Instead of spending money developing arse implants, couldn’t doctors have spent their time sorting out tinnitus?

Before dinner, I had a chat with a couple from Manchester. Good people. In their early fifties. They’re hear on holiday celebrating their 25th anniversary. I did the mathematics: 25 years… Manchester… And yes, they met amongst all the Haçienda stuff. It was lovely to be sat in the Belizean jungle discussing acid house, the changes in English football culture, travel, and left wing British politics.

Written by Craig

October 27th, 2014 at 7:26 am

Posted in Travel

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