We are well into packing for our 12th trip to Belize, even though our departure is not until March 9th. Between all the things we want to bring to our cabana and the items our neighbors, Chris and Sue Harris, have requested, we can easily fill our combined allotment of 4 checked bags and 4 carry on bags. The suitcases get packed to the maximum allowable weight by Dennis, my packing guru spouse. Chris and Sue have a small fishing resort (Steppingstones -- http://www.steppingstonesbelize.com/) just up the beach from us. This pristine, isolated stretch of beach is north of the Monkey River and Black Creek. Not so very long ago, a small community called Englishtown was located there. The only remaining signs of the former Englishtown inhabitants are the occasional mango and cashew trees that have since been swallowed up by jungle. Chris and Sue, fittingly enough since they are Brits, have resurrected the name "Englishtown". Our place anchors the south end of Englishtown. When we arrive the human population will increase from 6 to 8.
Flashback to the year 1998 -- stepping out of the airplane cabin onto the stairs to deplane, we inhaled our first of the warm, humid Belizean air and knew we had found our place. Hard to believe that the Phillip Goldston International Airport could be the setting for such a cosmic revelation, but there you have it. Our first stop was Ambergris Cay by water taxi; we even went so far as to listen to a timeshare spiel (thanks, but no thanks). From there we went flew to Placencia to stay at the Singing Sands resort near Maya Beach. In spite of a painful scorpion encounter (Wilma) and a touch of Montezuma's revenge (Dennis), we were trying to appear oh-so-casual as we eavesdropped at the bar when a realtor for a future (now realized) development was giving the Singing Sands owners the latest news on prices and sales leads. Prices seemed pretty high for lots barely above sea level with only a vague promise of "pipe water" and electricity coming along in the future. The time for a bargain purchase is clearly past when the lot prices are calculated in dollars per oceanfront foot.
Given the changes in airline schedules, it sometimes takes us a little longer to reach our destination these days than it has in the past. Our trip this time has us leaving from Rochester, MN through Chicago and overnighting in Miami on day 1. Day 2 is Miami to Belize City to Placencia airstrip on Maya Island Air and then on to S. Englishtown by private boat. Just as we have been shopping and been the recipients of eBay purchases for the Harrises, they have been shopping for us -- food and provisions, wall tiles for the kitchen, etc. This will be yet another working vacation for us and I can hardly wait.