Placencia has a beach near its pier, and we spent quite a few days lounging down there enjoying the water, which is calmer in that area. We even saw dolphins there one day. There were always plenty of children about - mostly local - and watching them was quite entertaining. It's obvious that these kids have grown up as comfortable in water as they are on land. They play together with great joy, and I only once saw one of them upset. He got his foot caught in the dock climbing up from the water, and it scared him. His friends all stopped to help and Aaron stepped in and helped lift him to untangle his limb. In no time, he was running down the pier and leaping into the water again.
Unfortunately, I had a bit of a setback in Placencia when I came down with strep last Friday. I had noticed the telltale white spots on my tonsils the evening before, so I headed down to the Community Health Center at 8 a.m. to address the issue. Belize has socialized medicine, and I was told it should only cost me a donation to be seen there... however, the doctor wasn't working that day.
Not wanting to wait until Monday, or potentially who knows when, I sought out a private doctor who services the area and was able to score an appointment for the afternoon. I had to take a cab, as Dr. Alexis was located just outside the village, but it only cost me US $5 each way. Dr. Alexis, who is originally from Varadero Beach in Cuba (where I actually visited in 2001), provided a very thorough exam. He appeared to be running all facets of the office solo, managing patient flow, answering calls, running tests, and dispensing medications. He saw me promptly at my appointment time and shook his head when he looked in my mouth. I had the ick.
I don't currently have health insurance, and I've said that I'm probably better off (barring a major illness or catastrophe) here in Belize than in the U.S. I was not proven wrong in this interaction. Dr. Alexis performed an exam, a minor lab test, dispensed two prescription medications to me, and sent me on my way for a total of US $70. I think we all know that would have been far pricier at home.
Feeling puny has definitely had a bit of an impact on my level of activity over the last week, but Placencia has been a great place to recuperate and prepare for more adventures. Nearly mended, I'm looking forward to moving on to Punta Gorda tomorrow, departing on the Hokey Pokey water taxi at 10 a.m.