Friday, February 22, 2008

2nd trip to San Ignacio in November

I have just been going through my computer and found something I wrote whilst I was in San Ignacio in November - a long but interesting read for me! Thought I might as well share it.

"Well, trips to San Ignacio are as much fun as they are exhausting.
This is my 2nd trip out so far in 6 weeks. I have a hire car, a Ford Explorer this time, and it hasn’t broken down so far – I’m thrilled.

I’m still staying at the brothel in Santa Elena, which is a hoot. The first time I turned up there, the girls were all giving me wide eyed looks, but now I think they’ve got used to me. They must think I don’t realize where I am. The upside of staying there is when I do go down to the bar, strange men buy me beers! This makes the girls giggle uncontrollably, especially when I stand up and say “Goodnight and thanks for the beers guys”. All of this in Spanish of course, I have yet to meet anyone at the “hotel” that speaks English, whether staff or customers.

The first night I stayed there, I must admit I was horrified/worried/angry – pick whichever! I had arrived much later than anticipated due to my hire truck breaking down in Belmopan, it was dark, I had just driven the most terrifying 60 minutes of my life (even that bus ride through the Atlas mountains wasn’t as scary as driving near San Ignacio at night, with a piece of s**t truck that’s headlights wouldn’t even scare a rabbit they’re so weak), I thought my “hotel” was in San Ignacio so I go round and round and round again. I finally give up and ask someone, and someone else….. after about 10 people who have never heard of my “hotel” I finally find someone that does. And he laughs and points me in the right direction. The “hotel” is not in San Ignacio at all, but in Santa Elena, the town before San Ignacio. Down some back roads. I get there and try to unclench my jaw from the preceding terror. Then I realize that the bar is playing music – great you may think. However, those of you that have traveled anywhere round Central America know that if you walk into a bar full of men, with Mexican “big cowboy hat” music playing at decibels that would drown out a jumbo jet, you’re in a brothel. And that was exactly what a very stressed and tired me walked into. So what else could I do? I had a beer and practiced my flirting in Spanish.

So, now on my second trip and getting used to driving around Cayo, I am doing my own personal culinary tour!

Yesterday at brunch time I had wound up in Spanish Lookout because I wanted to speak to Mr Heinrich from Western Dairies. I hadn’t had any breakfast and it was about 11.30.
The Dairy has an ice-cream parlour to the side of it, which has a drive-in! How cool is that? So, I realize that this place also has coffee and wireless internet.
I walk into the ice cream parlour and realise that 1) all the girls look exactly the same 2) they’re all speaking some form of German to each other. As I walk up to the counter, there is much giggling and nudging going on from the girls. I can only assume that I am the focal point of their mirth seeing as I’m the only person in there. And yes, I must seem odd as I’m in Spanish Lookout, I’m not blond, I don’t have blue eyes, I don’t have acne, I don’t have hair in a ponytail that reaches my knees and I don’t speak whatever form of Germanic language they speak!
So, I ask for a cup of coffee, simple enough. The young lady pours me a small bucket of coffee and pushes it towards me. I wait, looking at her, with a handful of change, expecting her to provide me with a price so that I can buy my coffee. After a while (remember, I am alone in the whole place) I ask, “um, how much do I owe you?”, and she replies “coffee is free”. I’m gobsmacked. I wasn’t expecting that answer and I now feel really guilty because all I really want to do is sit down in a booth and take advantage of the WD wireless connection. I sort of mumble that I’ll be back in a while and buy something. I run to the car, and try to drink as much coffee as I can to get out of there asap but there’s at least 4 gallons of the stuff and it’s piping hot. I give in, grab the laptop and walk in and buy a sandwich. 2 dollars. That’s 50p. That’s ridiculous. So, I’m expecting what I would call a “British Rail” sandwich, some horrible yuk wedged between 2 pieces of rancid bread.
It was gorgeous! Smoked sausage with nice cheese and loads of salad. I settle into my booth at the drive-thru ice cream parlour and wonder where the hell I have ended up yet again. For those of you that have read “Children of the Corn”, you know exactly where I am.
Anyway, if for whatever reason you end up in Spanish Lookout, go to the drive-thru – it’s all yummy and the experience is well worth it. Oh and I also got carried away and had yogurt, then an ice-cream……..with Hot Mama’s sweet pepper sauce on it!

After doing what I do all day, that evening I was really pooped and wanted to treat myself. I had seen that morning in San Ignacio that there was a restaurant I hadn’t seen before called Amore Mio, and it had home made ravioli – oh yes!
So, I sat myself at a romantic table outside and had a glass of house white, very nice, a little sweet for my taste but I like a very crisp dry white. I ordered ravioli prosciutto and loved it – they put a little tomato, olive oil, fresh basil and fresh parmesan on top for me. It was gorgeous. Washed down with the house red (OK, so I had a second glass of that) which was very decent indeed.
So, to Fabio and Simonetta, keep up the good work, it was delicious. Guys, those of you out there that have a serious “manly” appetite, I suggest an appetizer first. The ravioli was just enough for me.
Price: 3 glasses of wine, ravioli and tiramisu = 47 Belize (21 of that was wine….I told you it was a hard day!)

This morning I drove around like a nutcase and was very close to the border with Guatemala. I was in Benque to begin with and visited the Mopan River Resort which entails a little boat road across the river. It’s a lovely little place and I met the new owners, who were busy cutting down a coconut tree that was leaning on a cabana! Risky business.

Then I had the backbreaking task of driving up to Black Rock Resort – a grueling 6-mile crawl along logging track, orange groves, past cows, through waterfalls and up a serious slippery slope, all the while trying very hard not to think about skidding and falling down the sheer drop to the fast-flowing river (hum theme to “Indiana Jones” here).
It’s breathtakingly beautiful once you’re there. So much so I decided to have lunch. I had beef burritos which set me back a whole 10 Belize dollars, and the lime juice was lovely. At least it stopped raining this morning, and even though my drive up there was terrifying (met a big lorry on way up – thank you to whoever is up there watching over me, it was at one of the 2 points in the 6 miles where 2 vehicles can pass), it was sunny and gorgeous.

I popped in to see Lydie who makes Rubadub soap to grab a few cases to take back to San Pedro, she is just so much fun and makes awesome soap. I shall write more about her and her soap at a later date.

So tonight, the girl who was a vegetarian for 15 years was craving a big rare steak. No better place I reckoned than the San Ignacio hotel (very posh indeed) where their restaurant is called “Running W steak house”. Running W are one of the meat producers in Belize, so I thought I would give it a try. All the people in the tables surrounding me are wearing all their lovliest clothes, couples are holding hands and staring at each other (bucket please) and then there’s me, grubby from being Indiana Jones all day, living in a brothel, hungry and thirsty with no other company than my laptop. I pick a very very romantic table outside, candlelit with flowers… it’s actually very lovely here. And wolf down a Lighthouse beer and start frantically typing this.
I order a blue filet mignon with baked potato, veggies, bacon and mushrooms. It’s delicious and I’m stuffed.
And now I’m bankrupt: dinner and 2 beers set me back a whole 37.60 Belize dollars (or about 9 pounds) _

Now, I shall drive back to Santa Elena in the dark (getting less terrifying the more I drink – ONLY JOKING), and depending on the crowd, I might have another beer at the “hotel”....."

More travelling stories coming! And hopefully I shall post some pictures of San Ignacio too.

1 comment:

marie speed said...

I need more of that soap! My friend lives in Placencia and I bought some there and I need more! How can I get it? Do yo have a contact?