I can’t quite put my wrinkled old finger on just what it was about this place that I found so enjoyable, although I did try, but I managed to spend a little time here meditating while my Bride macheted a path into the surrounding jungle in an effort to placate her inner botanist…

Thank God for the kids with the pedi-cabs!!!

Okay, folks, this Update is getting a bit unwieldy right now so we’ve decided to break it up into 2 parts.  Part 2 will include Freeport and Nassau in the Bahamas.  See you there!  Hugs, Chuck and Kalyn

This guy truly was remarkable as he delivered a tower of drinks on his head while carrying several more in his hands!  He did, however, require a little help getting them onto the table once he reached his destination…

Many of the ports we visited during our 2 weeks at sea were also on the itinerary of other Carnival vessels as well as those of competing lines.  Unlike our preferred mode of travel aboard sailing schooners between out of the way islands unreachable by these behemoths, all of the ports we visited were either annoyingly crowded or excruciatingly jammed twixt sea and sky with a bunch of whiney sniveling tourists…kinda like us!

Word of my continuous complaining and endless demands upon the room service crew for clean towels, ice and French-fries soon reached the Captain’s ear (Both Captain and crew were Italian. YIKES!!) and we found ourselves relocated to a different ocean view cabin where we shared a bathroom with the engine crew… 

And each evening when we returned to our meager confines we would be greeted not by our share of the days plunder but, instead, one of these peculiar creatures…

We were treated to a brief stopover at the church which Marco and his family attend and also where he was married…

Our guy must get a kickback for his efforts as he made a beeline for this place immediately after picking us up at the dock.  Mahogany Bay is the name of the upscale port area of Roatan and is replete with all the tourist traps you will see throughout the Caribbean, including both Diamonds International and Colombian Emeralds International as well as a few interesting watering holes such as Fat Tuesday…

Iguanas are pretty much everywhere on Cozumel and we have been told that some folks actually consider them a delicacy.  Marco claims they “taste like chicken” but we’re not certain if he was just saying that for our benefit.

Several monuments have been erected along the main ocean front boulevard honoring the Mayan people who actually discovered and colonized Cozumel many hundreds of years ago…

After a fruitless search for a captain and crew of such low morality and desperate nature who would have us as shipmates, we put aside pistol and blade and settled for a more civilized mode of transportation across the southern seas…

Lemming-like, we fell into step with the rest of the “boat people” and made our way back to the ship at day’s end…

These are the folks you see in roadside stands overlooking the sea selling everything from t-shirts and bottled water to locally made craft items or shells they glean from the local waters…

Others have been erected to depict the sport which first made the island such a popular destination…

As seems to be happening in many Third World tourist destinations, there is an upscale section of the island inhabited by the wealthy with large homes and huge tropical gardens and another area where, unlike the Occupy Wall Street crowd, the real “99%” live…

Unlike New Orleans, the folks here don’t have to contend with a contrary water table insistent upon disgorging those put to rest.  These structures are actually built for the intended purpose of re-opening as needed to allow family members to be interred one atop the other.  Such accommodations in the afterlife would not be my preference as I simply can’t imagine spending eternity sharing a condo with my brother-in-law.

After a day of touring the city in a micro-bus crammed rather tightly with 14 rather fluffy folks, we were returned to the port area by our tour guide, a young man intricately knowledgeable of the history, politics and people of Belize, who provided us with a first rate tour, my first order of business was locating a restroom…

After a couple of hours driving around the city in an open buggy beneath a blazing sun, we dropped by Three Amigos for a couple of margaritas and watched as the “bartender” served them directly into a line of open mouths after which she would violently shake your head from side to side while blowing a whistle at ear shattering volume ...

Though a bit below the waterline, the move proved to be mutually beneficial as the room service crew’s morale immediately improved and we were able to view an assortment of marine creatures as they peeked through our porthole to see just what was on the other side.  The camera flash seemed to scare the hell out of them though!

The Mayan ruins at Chicken-Shitza (Okay, if they didn’t want boneheads like me garbling their name, they should have exerted more effort on a name instead of wasting all that time on some stupid calendar that expires this year!) seemed to be the only reason for our next stop at Progresso, Mexico.  We passed on all the culture stuff and used the opportunity to load up on drugs at one of the discount pharmacies in the dock area.

Living as we do, far removed from civilization a lot of the time, we keep a healthy stock of painkillers and antibiotics on board for those times when self diagnosis and self medication are called for.  When in Canada we load up on Tylenol with codeine for pain and when in Mexico we stock the larder with Ciproflaxin for infections.  Our Doc is probably reading this right now and making a note to give us hell on our next visit!

Cozumel was our last stop on the Caribbean leg of the cruise and, like Roatan, it is a well known diving destination.  Also like Roatan, it is over-run with all the one-day cruise ship-provided diver wannabes who take a one-hour resort diving course and come away believing themselves to be Lloyd Bridges.  Fortunately, with only a few hours in port, their diving exploits are limited to a closely supervised dive in 20 feet of water or, more likely, an encounter with an amorous dolphin in a swimming pool…

Though cute, an adequate replacement for doubloons they are not!

Our first port of call was Belize City and our first impression, as we viewed the waterfront from the tender, was of a prosperous and well maintained Cayman Islands-like city…

I suppose that, even at shoulder height, the foot flushing problem in Belize must be of epidemic proportions if they’ve had to resort to these signs to discourage such behavior.  I find myself envious of the younger folks who still have the flexibility to pull off such a feat.  Attempting such a maneuver would most likely land me on my back, turtle-like, on the restroom floor.

Our next stop was the island of Roatan off the coast of Honduras.  Known worldwide as a SCUBA diving mecca, my Cousteauesque companion and I made our own pilgrimage here some 25 years ago, and spent the week at the very rustic and virtually unknown diving retreat of Anthony Key Resort.  Our plywood and palm frond hut was situated on a small island across a narrow inlet from the main facility (even then we were a couple of bad seeds who had to be segregated from the general population) and when we got hungry we could either wait for the random appearance of a small rowboat to pick us up for the short hop across the inlet or literally swim for our supper. Today, as we look across at our secluded little island, things are a bit different…

As per our usual routine, we fought our way through the gauntlet of organized tour providers infesting the docks and found one of the local guys with a horse and buggy to squire us around town…

In spite of my best efforts to maintain the proper buccaneer attitude within my own tiny band, a mutiny soon erupted and my turncoat wench was soon standing in buffet lines, playing bingo and adorning herself in garb completely unsuitable for climbing ratlines or swinging from ship to ship in search of booty…

  Conquest - Part 1                                                      January 18, 2012

(We discovered long ago that purchasing a tour through the ship will generally land you with a very large group of people receiving a canned presentation for an outlandish price.  We prefer exploring a new place with a small operator or simply in the back seat of a cab where you can usually get a more personal view of your new surroundings without the ship receiving a share of your guide’s efforts.)

Marco and his noble stallion, Speedy Gonzalez, provided a rather unique view of Cozumel which included a horse-eye view of Cozumel’s backyard…

​For the past few years my Bride has been searching for some method by which we could once more get back to those carefree days of lounging about on the deck of a tall ship armed with rum and cutlass in search of a fat merchant ripe for pillage and plunder by our smarmy crew of miscreants and ne’er-do-wells wandering idly about the Caribbean in search of adventure…

The port area was a collection of modern brightly painted buildings housing shops, restaurants and waterfront cantinas suitable, not for just the pirate crowd, but also the mixed gaggle one would find aboard a modern cruise ship.  We soon discovered that beyond the bounds where a majority of tourists spend their day was a city bearing a striking resemblance to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina…

Hmmmmm…cemeteries to commodes… Right about now you are probably asking yourself if I have finally taken that long leap off the proverbial cliff into the abyss.  “Why”, you ask, “would anyone include a picture of a bunch of urinals in a travelogue?”  Answer…

Despite a population which lives well beneath what we would consider the poverty level, even the smaller Mexican churches boast a quiet grandeur on par with any found in so-called developed nations.

But no tour of Cozumel would be complete without the inclusion of a few of the local inhabitants…

This guy was rather remotely located on a mountain top along with a lady selling every other island goodie you can imagine.  They pretty much relied upon the local cab drivers and other tour operators to furnish their customers…

This is not an activity to be engaged in by any but the simple minded.  We decided to forego the self abuse section of this cantina and contented ourselves with receiving our margaritas the old-fashioned way: delivered by head…

The cemeteries too, though brightly colored, were reminiscent of the Big Easy in both style and structure…

But, alas, the day is only so long and one can have only so much fun before the old ship’s whistle beckoned our tequila sodden butts back to the boat… 

This crew, as it turned out, had no particular interest in piracy or other such forms of recreation and preferred, instead, less rigorous activities…