Travel Missteps is an every-other week series on how sometimes part of the journey is making mistakes and getting lost.
“Yo Mamma! Go slow. They ain’t gonna leave you.” I had heard that Belize’s islands unofficial motto was “Go Slow”. I had been warned that if I rushed I would be told to slow down. But I didn’t expect that to be my first greeting in Belize while waiting for my water ferry to Caye Caulker. You see my group had been split up, and our van arrived an hour later than the other half of the group. When we finally made it to the dock I was told the boat was leaving in 2 minutes, so I was running around, going to the bathroom, buying snacks, etc. And my rushing around was noticed by every local. Hails of “Go slow” and “Slowly mamma” followed me.
As someone who frequently moves quickly, going slow is hard to get use to. But on my second day on the island I both embraced the “Go Slow” and completely disrupted it.
I had slept in, had a wonderful breakfast, and then took a leisurely stroll for some shopping. I ended up at the Split, hung out a bit, and then made my way back the way I came. I would stop here and there to get some ice cream, or sit by the waves. I ended up finding a hammock over the ocean at a restaurant And I ordered a drink and some lunch and then spent a few hours enjoying the ocean waves, reading a book, and napping in the hammock. It was a perfect day!
But after a while I wandered back to the hotel to find that my stellar GAdventures Guide was putting together a Scavenger Hunt via golf carts. Caye Caulker doesn’t have any cars on the islands. You get around via feet, bike, or golf cart. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do the hunt, and I certainly didn’t want to drive. But it turns out you had to have your drivers license on you, and I was one of 3 people on the tour who had it…and we had enough people for three teams, so I got auto-elected to be one of the drivers.
So we split into teams, and explained what a Scavenger Hunt/Treasure Hunt was to those who hadn’t done it before. And then we took off. I was a little weary at first, as the island’s three streets (Named Front Street, Middle Street, and Back Street…no joke) are marked by rocks and pot holes. But then the competitive atmosphere took over…and it was full speed ahead. Each of the three teams took off in different directions, although we would sometimes spy each other at cross streets. It was exhilarating but I couldn’t find the horn so I had to shout “BEEP BEEP” when we needed people to get out of the way.
The items that I remember we had to find:
- A photo of a frigate bird
- A Belikin beer cap
- A t-shirt that has “Belize” on it
- Something Orange
- A flower
- A coconut
- A handful of Sand
- A photo of one of the two trucks on the island
- A photo of the cemetery
- A photo of the team doing a pyramid
- A photo of a local celebrity (Wish Willy)
- A photo of someone making a sand angle
And…my team won! I would definitely recommend renting a golf cart on the island. While it can take a half hour or so to walk from one end of the island to the other it was amazing to zoom from one and to the other in seconds. And if the locals told me to “Go Slow”…I must have been zooming too fast to hear them.