You know itís bad when the owner of the resort meets you on your way to breakfast and asks you if you had anything valuable in the car. We hadnít, of course, but it was an ominous start to the day.
After reassuring George that there had been nothing of value in the car, we trooped over to look at it. A small window on the back door had been smashed and the glove box was open. Someone had broken in. Apparently this is a rare occurrence, but it happened all the same. The same group had also broken in to the Resort office and stolen a cash box, which was empty. They left, ignoring all of the computer equipment which was also kept there. The local constabulary was summoned, but would not arrive until sometime in the afternoon.
Another resort owner arrived at Rum Point and the full story began to unfold. A total of four resorts had been hit the previous evening. Four cars were broken into and the sum total haul for the thieves long night of work was a single pair of running shoes that a guest had left on the porch overnight. A bicycle was missing, but turned up the next day. Nothing else of value was taken.
As one of the victims we were able to commiserate with the other resort owners on the circumstances of the night and thus gain a bit of a unique perspective on life in Rural Belize. We would certainly not let this event stop us from going back. Anyway, since there was nothing more to be done about it, we went back to the dining room and had breakfast.
George had one of the local Guatemalan workmen come to patch up the window. I would have just cut a piece of cardboard roughly to fit and used copious amounts of tape to stick it all in place. This gentleman, however, was a real craftsman. He painstakingly removed the broken glass and cut a replacement out of wood that fit the void exactly. It was a real pleasure to watch someone who took such care over an obviously temporary repair.
Today was the day we had planned to drive to Southern Belize. We packed up the days necessities and prepared to get underway. I tried to put the key in the ignition and it wouldnít go in. Oh no! The idiot wanna-be car thieves had put a pry bar in the ignition and given it the old heave-ho. It didnít work for them, of course, but it also made it not work for us! We were dead in the water.
We informed George of this sad state of affairs and called the car rental company for advice. After a brief consultation of the exact state of affairs, the said they would put a mechanic on the next flight out to put us right. We couldnít complain about the service.
Back to the hotel Ė what to do. Well, eat, read, and snorkel, of course. We explored the grass beds and small coral heads off the Rum Point dock. The water is extremely shallow and you can just walk quite a ways offshore without getting in over your head. Divers often turn their noses up at grass beds, but the life there is fascinating if you pause to look at it. The visibility, however, was not very good.
We had lunch just up the road at a little roadside café across from the next resort. I had my final try at a hamburger before giving it up for good. Judy had BBQ pork and claimed it was fairly good.
At 2:00 the gendarmes arrived and took a careful statement of what happened. One of the staff remarked that in a country of only 200,000 people, someone would turn in the culprits and they would be brought to justice. The local theory was a gang down from Belize Cityócountry people donít tend to steal from each other.
The mechanic arrived by plane around the same time. The carefully crafted window seal was ripped out and a new piece of glass was put in. The ignition was replaced as well Ė all in about 20 minutes. We kept the ruined ignition as a memento. I bought the mechanic a Belikin and he settled in at the bar to wait for the next plane back.
What to do now? The day was pretty much shot for driving anywhere, although it was certainly an adventure. The resort had some spectacular paintings by a local artistóthe guidebooks all said that her gallery was worth checking out, so we drove up the road to Seine Bight to find it. It was distinctly picturesque, but unfortunately, all they had for sale were smaller pieces that showed none of the artistry of the resort paintings. We decided not to buy one for a souvenir.
Seine Bight is a Garifuna village Ė a smallish minority in Belize (8%), the Garifuna are a people from the Caribbean island of St. Vincent, a mix of African and Carib Indian, with their own language and very distinctive culture. They wear dreadlocks, and donít speak as much English as other residents of this mostly English-speaking but very multi-ethnic country.
It was Thanksgiving, so we drove off to The Inn at Robertís Grove for our Thanksgiving buffet. As we usually do for meals, we arrived before everything was set and ready to go. Robert greeted us at the door and we chatted a bit. I donít recall if Iíve said this before, but all of the resort owners made us feel as if we were part of the family. It must have to do with the tropical air. Not one is in a hurry, there is all the time in the world, no worries. As a special treat, the air was alive with fireflies.
After chatting with Robert we settled in at the bar to nurse a couple of drinks while waiting for the dining room to open. I had a margarita and the bartender kept asking me if it was strong enough even though he had already been more generous with the tequila than anyone else Iíve known!
The next thing we know, the kitchen is bringing out heaping, steaming platters of conch fritters as free appetizers! I donít know if this is a regular thing or a Thanksgiving treat, but itís awesome. The conch fritters are wonderful, but any more and Thanksgiving dinner will be out of the question. With great restraint, we compromise on one more apiece just as the dining room opens. Dinner was spectacular, as we had come to expect of Robert; a true American Thanksgiving with all the trimmings.
Now replete, we drove back to Rum Point for the night. On the
trail back to our room (with flashlights) we surprised a large tarantula
out hunting in the night. I tried to place a coin next to it for
scale before taking a picture, but that only made it scuttle away and earned
a shriek from Judy.