It is a month since I finished work, and still I have not been able to start the long voyage home. The little modifications on the boat are not the problem; it is getting my registration papers. I do not blame the folks at the Ship Registry: they have been very quick and helpful. Even though they can’t seem to find the document I sent them a month ago. But shit happens, things get lost. No, the big delay was because I was jerked around for so long by the Canadian Consular Services. A pox on them.
Anyway, when I realized that I have already been in Belize a month longer than planned, that it would probably take another three weeks before my papers arrived, and that my finances were depleted, and hurricane season was fast approaching and freaking Lorena out, I decided to pack it in for the season. Next year I will work a short season, and have the Manatee to play around with on my time off. Then I will come straight home and that is simply a better option.
The trick is getting home. I was almost out of money and couldn’t seem to get at the money I had. So Jaime and I took the bus to Cancun, where he was headed anyway, and bought a flight to Tucson. What a trip. All-night bus ride. An unforgettable taxi ride with an old-timer in coke-bottle glasses driving down the highway at 15 miles an hour an aging Chrysler New Yorker land-yacht, that steered like a barge in a following sea, on a misty night with the wipers set on interval: an interval a bit too long, so we would completely lose sight of the road a second before the windshield was wiped clean, and he would have to swerve this big beauty off the gravel, or out from the kill zone of an approaching car. And all the while he was complaining about how there was no shoulder and not any kind of paint on the road to indicate which half was his, or where the pavement ended. After my earlier experiences on Belizian highways, I lost a pound of sweat that trip.
I remember thinking as we drove into Mexico, that no matter how poor, or prosperous, or how well-kept or how run-down it is, there is a vitality to this country that makes it exciting to be in. By comparison, much of Belize lacks any sign of vitality; in some places it lacks a pulse. I also remember that there is a smell in the air in Mexican towns that immediately distinguishes it from any other country I have been in. It is sort of a combination of diesel oil and cooking grease.
Back to Cancun. We got in in the early light of a new day, and found a cheap hotel, had a bit of a rest and got cleaned up. We spent too much time and money finding a way to buy a flight for me with his credit card, but we got it done and took a bus to the beach. We walked the sand for a couple of miles, noting how much of the damage from last years hurricane has been healed or is in the process. And the lack of topless women. We did find two though before rain drove us all off the beach, so it was worth the walk
I didn’t tell Lorena I was coming home, so when I got on-line at an internet location, I had to lie to her about what I was doing. But my absence and her worries about tropical storms was taking a toll on her, and I compromised: I told her I was going to come home. I really wanted to surprise her completely when I showed up, but it was too cruel making her suffer just to satisfy my selfish desire to see her reaction. So I gave her some hope, and kept from her how close I was. Judge me how you will.
When I got to Tucson I had $20 in my pocket: not enough for a cab, let alone a bus ticket or hotel, but my good old brother came through and put some cash in my account. And I took a cab directly to the bus depot and at 11:00 that night I was on a bus for Guaymas.
She got her surprise at about 8:30 the next morning, and it was worth it. She is happy, and though disappointed, I am relieved and happy to be home again too.
To my readers who have been following along with my efforts, I plead to you not to give up on me yet. I had to make a difficult choice, but what’s another delay if it means I go when it is safest to do so? Who would deny me that? And those of you who have given me your support through generous donations of equipment and clothing, I will requite. Next year.
In the meantime I may add a note or two, and I hope what I say is worth a chuckle or a knowing smile. To all I wish you the best.
Island Jack Wilde