Yesterday we took our second day trip off-island for some shopping and a change of pace.  On our hike into town to the ferry, we were offered a ride in a golf cart at Reef Village, which we gladly accepted since we were running a bit late (as usual), and were having to keep up a very brisk pace in order to make the 10am ferry.  The driver turned out to be Dale, who owns the Funky Monkey restaurant/bar at the Cloister's, along with his wife.  Since he is from Ohio, he and Barry had something in common (aside from living in San Pedro!) and were able to have a nice chat.  We were very appreciative for the ride, as it got us to the ferry dock 20 minutes early instead of barely on time.

This time, instead of the large ferry we were on on our first trip to Belize City, we were on a much smaller boat; I guess the 10am leaving time is not as popular as the 11:30 we took last time.  
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Wished I'd remembered a book for our wait for the ferry!
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The skies looked threatening, but we never got more than a brief sprinkle all day.
The trip over was uneventful, and soon we were in the city.  This time we knew exactly where to go, so we didn't look or feel as clueless as on our first trip over.  Some of you may remember my trepidation about our first visit to Belize City, but I felt more relaxed this time.  Yes, there were still a few beggars and the ubiquitous taxi drivers offering us their services, but there did seem to be more police presence and security guards around, so I never felt threatened.  I still had no desire to spend any extra time there than it took to buy groceries at Brodie's (10% off on Fridays!) and several items in Hop Sing bicycle shop for Barry as you don't dare dawdle anywhere because of the panhandlers.  As a result, we were back at the ferry terminal quite early to buy tickets for Caye Caulker (which is a stop right on the way back to San Pedro), and eat the snack bars we'd brought along.
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Big boat, little boat. We took the little boat on each leg except from Caye Caulker back to San Pedro.
We caught the 1pm ferry over to Caye Caulker, and as usual, it looked like rain.  It always seems to be raining when we go to Caye Caulker or just make a quick stop on the ferry, but this time it did not rain on our parade.  Yay!  

We love Caye Caulker.  It is the way they tell us San Pedro used to be, with all sand steets, almost no vehicles, and very little traffic.  Sure, there were a couple of golf-cart taxis and the ubiquitous bottle truck (here all sodas and beers come in recyclable bottles that are returned for deposit, just like in the old days in the US), but most of the vehicles were bicycles, along with folks just walking in bare feet or sandals.
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Ferry we took
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Barry on the ferry...has a certain ring to it, no?
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Caye Caulker. Not much traffic!
Our mission here was to visit Debbie Cooper's gallery for some artwork, as we had seen her work online and thought it would be perfect for our condo.  It's colorful, with tropical themes, and reasonably priced to boot.  We met Debbie there and picked out a few pieces.  We bought two of her framed prints, including our favorite bicycle by palm tree scene.  She told us that the frames, which are wooden and painted in bright colors, are made by local Mennonites, of which there is a relatively large population in Belize.  The larger print of two toucans will be shipped to us via Tropic Air next week as she did not have the appropriate-sized frame in stock.  We also chose a small canvas from another artist, showing sailboats and palm trees.  I just loved the soothing blue and green colors on that one.  We still need a few more things for the walls, but this is a good start.  It was a lot of fun to meet Debbie and see her cute shop.
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Found it!
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I bought the sailboat and palm trees canvas to the left of the credit card sign!
By the time we finished shopping, it was about 2:30, and we were starved, so we stopped in at a local restaurant called Bambooze for a bite of lunch.  I loved this place because it was open air, and the chairs were swings! Such a unique concept, and transported me back to my childhood love of swing sets.  We had delicious grilled fish sandwiches with mango-lime sauce and a couple of drinks.
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Yes, I'm a kid at heart. This was FUN!
After lunch we walked around a bit before catching our 3:45 ferry back to San Pedro.  Unfortunately, we were lugging heavy backpacks full of groceries, so we weren't able to go as far as we would have liked.  We'll just have to go back!
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The "Convenient Store" LOL!
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Very different traffic scene from San Pedro
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It would be fun to ride a bike on these roads. No potholes!
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'Nuff said...
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It's the bottle truck, but not much else on these roads....sweet!
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Love the Caribbean colors!
The ferry from Caye Caulker was the bigger boat like we'd been on before and was packed with passengers who were coming from Belize City.  Poor Barry drew the short straw and was stuck sitting on the unpadded bench in the middle, as there were no more seats around the perimeter.  Thankfully this was the shorter leg of the trip. 
 
Since the ferry was 10 minutes late leaving Caye Caulker, we were cutting it very close to make the 4:30 pm northbound water taxi in San Pedro, and then the ticket clerk did not have change for a $50 BZD (equivalent to $25 US), so I had to charge the tickets.  We were the last people on the VERY crowded taxi boat (and the first off at the Grand Caribe dock), with full backpacks and our art work, so that was not very comfortable, and we were very happy to be back home.  Paisley was happy too, as she'd somehow gotten the door to her kennel closed behind her (and didn't realize she could just push it open, as it wasn't locked) so was "stuck" in there when we arrived after our day away.  Hopefully she hadn't been in there for too long without water, but she seemed no worse for the wear!
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Waiting for the ferry back to San Pedro
Sabrina
11/6/2011 12:50:40 am

Caye Caulker looks like a nice, quiet place.

~~_/)~~
Sabrina

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