In my last blog, Aaron and I had just arrived in the sleepy town of Punta Gorda (a.k.a. "PG"). PG didn't get much more exciting, with the exception of the enthusiastic storms that felt like they might carry us away to Oz each night.
My main takes on PG were that people were generally really friendly, often intoxicated, and seemed to want to give us things.
Our first experience with the generosity of locals was at the market. Gomier, a super nice guy and owner of a PG vegetarian and vegan restaurant, began talking to us about some of the produce. During the exchange, one of the vendors gave us some fruit to try. It wasn't my favorite, but Gomier was certainly a nice guy and I appreciated his hospitality.
It didn't matter if it was 10 a.m. or 7 p.m., it wasn't uncommon to encounter people who had clearly been sipping (chugging?) some rum or a few Belikin beers. One afternoon, we encountered a man who told us he went by "Taz," "The Devil," or the "Tasmanian Devil." Taz was enjoying some beers, and wanted to buy us some, too. We politely declined, but listened to him talk about his escapades around Belize and the U.S. for around the next 30-45 minutes. He apparently really liked us, because he pledged to protect us from harm from anyone around town. While nice, this was an unnecessary gesture, as we've yet to have an unkind word uttered to us by anyone in all of Belize.
We finally agreed to let Taz buy us a seaweed drink from the guy on the corner. I was a little leery, but the thick off-white concoction was actually pretty good. It was slightly sweet and tasted of nutmeg. He and his friend were adamant that it "cools the body" and that it's "good for you, it's from the sea!" True or not, I'd sip one again.
A man who told us that his name was "Bug" stumbled along beside us one day, asking where we were from and about our travels in Belize. He was insistent upon giving us some conch shells, and we gratefully accepted his gesture of hospitality.
We also renewed our tourist visa while in PG. They had an immigration office there, and as our first month in Belize was coming to a close, we were due to take care of this bit of bureaucracy. If you are in the country for an extended period of time, you must get your passport stamped every 30 days and pay a $25US fee. It was hard to believe that almost a month had already passed since we descended upon this tiny Central American country.
While the residents were kind, our time in PG had two big strikes against it. Although the town is bordered by the Caribbean Sea, there isn't a bit of real beach to speak of, and we really missed the option to enjoy a cool dip in the water. Secondly, the apartment we rented was miserably hot and humid. We rented an air conditioning unit, but it generally only made about a two degree difference, and it was almost impossible to sleep or motivate ourselves to do much of anything because of it. Yes, I suppose we are a little spoiled.
Unable to take the heat any longer, we decided to cut our time in PG short and booked a flight to San Pedro. I'm still glad that we got to experience Belize's southernmost town and its hospitable people, though.