Backpackers, Burnouts and Bare Feet on Caye Caulker

Having fallen asleep last Saturday night instead of posting another poll to figure out what to do with my remaining two days, I took the initiative and decided to go straight to the island of Caye Caulker, 45 minutes Northeast of Belize City, for some sun, snorkeling and relaxation.

Caye Caulker’s main industry used to be lobster fishing. Now it is an awkward mutation of a beach town in the same way all tourist beach communities are in run down countries. As outsiders discover the natural beauty of the place, locals slowly evolve to cater to what they think the tourists want or what the tourists think a beach town should be like. The resulting frankenstein is as generic and soul-less as top 40 radio. Crappy reggae music, crappy hotel rooms, cheap sugary rum drinks, unlimited crappy weed, Bob Marley, dreadlocks, terrible art, friendship bracelets, shell necklaces, hair braiding, henna tattoos, backpackers, burnouts and bare feet.

That being said, I still had a great time. I rented an Apocalypse Now-esque hotel room – slatted windows, ceiling fan, torn thin sheets on a cheap foam mattress falling through saggy slats and a ripped hammock on the balcony. Every morning I got up around 7 and walked down to Bamboozle (a beach bar lined with bamboo that serves booze) for breakfast and techno music. Some people think 7am is too early for techno remixes of Adele – those people are cowards. In Central America, they have techno remixes for every pop song you’ve ever heard and they aren’t afraid to crank serious beats at all hours of the day. Did you know that any song ever written will fit seamlessly into an extended LMFAO/PSY megamix? It’s a fact.

My number one reason for coming to Caye Caulker was snorkeling. Everybody I spoke to said you see more wildlife snorkeling off Caye Caulker than anywhere else in the area. The drunken Aussie chick who brought her lover to my top bunk in Nicaragua was emphatic about how amazing it is that you get to hug sharks and I’d be an idiot to go anywhere else. She was correct. I high fived sharks, chased a bunch of fish around, interrupted a sea turtles lunch, and, as you’ll see in the video, finally solved the mystery of what the underside of a stingray looks like.

After snorkeling for a day, I had another whole day to do nothing but drink beer and walk around and watch the burnouts yell about stuff. I think living on an island makes you a little crazy – and you have to be a little crazy to move to a place like this – so there’s a whole lot of crazy. Caye Caulker DockAt lunch, my falafel was interrupted by a leathery older white guy riding his beach cruiser up the the coco-loco coconut seller, screaming, “STAY OUT OF MY FUCKING HOUSE!!! STAY THE FUCK OUT OF MY HOUSE!!!” and then riding off. On my last night, I overheard the crew staying downstairs in the shared room of my hotel get into a fight. One 50yr old leathery fellow, one 30 something redneck and his chubby girlfriend, one tall black dude who was always playing games on his phone and one angry looking white guy who kept trying to get me to join them for rum. I’d been avoiding these guys – there was definitely something off about them… they never left the hotel and had a glaze that came from something more than just booze or weed… they looked like they could snap at any moment – and on my last night they did. I think they were arguing about a lighter. All I heard was one swearing he will fuck the other one waaaay up. Then they’d become friends again. Then it was back to threats, then one vomited, then they all laughed, then they stopped using words but kept making sounds.

In a way it was the perfect last night. I was happy to leave in the morning (after my techno-Bamboozle breakfast of course) but I didn’t have the feeling I’d overstayed my welcome. I walked around Belize City for a few hours before heading to the airport for my flight back to LA. I still have a few more stories for about the trip – and more pictures and videos to post – so stay tuned…

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