Last week I started on this story which I am sure is absolutely unique in style, simplicity and also the warmth of the San Pedro folks twenty five years ago. You may read the entire adventure by purchasing your book at Ambergris Today. Special price for students at Designing Solutions or Jose Luis Zapata Photography.
It soon became chilly and the travelers covered up some with blankets. A gust of wind woke up the tired passengers momentarily, as the Elsa P. leaned to its right side and a little sprinkle of cold salt water sprayed over the tired sleepy passengers, but pretty soon, they were fast asleep once again. Only Tio Pil remained awake at the rudder sipping on some hot tea. Even his assistant, Don Joe Alamilla, curled up snugly between some sacks of coconuts and snored comfortably.
The first rays of sunrise caught them when they were about five miles from Belize City. At this time the passengers got up and ate the light breakfast that they had brought for the trip. Rosa had brought some flour tortillas with corned beef and offered a bite to the woman and children beside her. Another one had Johnny cakes, with refried beans and some Dutch cheese. He too offered some and they all drank their water from their water bottles. Tio Pil drank some more hot tea that he had brought in his thermos, and so did Albertito drink some hot milk with cocoa chocolate from a thermos. The men went to the bow of the boat and relieved themselves without any shame and without any offence for this was a natural custom. Poor Rosa had to go behind the sail and stooped down to urinate. There was no toilet facility on board the Elsa P, which was a cargo boat, so the passengers had to lose all shame and did what they had to do. However, all passengers were used to this and respected each other. Usually ladies went in pairs and covered themselves with their wide dresses or towels. The men simply and politely turned their faces in the other direction.
Next the passengers started putting on their shoes to get ready to arrive at the metropolis. Some of them were actually fighting to put on their shoes for their toes were too wide open and not comfortable by any means in those unused shoes.
“Este pinche zapato” (this wretched shoe), said one of the men. “It hurts.”
“The shoes don’t hurt, amigo. Your feet hurt. You should train those ugly toes by locking them in at times.” Everybody laughed at him trying to put on a size nine Bata shoes around five toes that were spread out like the masts in a shrimp boat. The problem with Sanpedranos was that they never wore shoes because of the very soft almost powdery sand on all the streets, and consequently their toes were all spread out and untrained for shoes, sort of like a rural girl trying to put on high heels. The closest Sanpedranos came to wearing shoes were the diving fins, but those were usually worn wide and were made of rubber.
The island folks would be all too excited to see who would be the first to spot a moving car or vehicle. As they neared the fort where the lighthouse is located, their enthusiasm increased as they admired the zooming cars.
- by Angel Nuñez, Columnist