Most years we’ve been lucky enough to escape the dog days of winter for just long enough to remember what heat feels like. A week ago we returned from Ambergris Caye, Belize. It was the best vacation we’ve ever had.
Oh, the warm, hibiscus-and-ocean air! The shocking green of the water; herons always, endlessly overhead; the lilting flow of Belizean conversation slipping seamlessly between Kriol, English, Spanish, and Mayan.
Every morning we did some activity, returning to our hotel to watch the Olympics in the heat of the day: figure skating, hockey, or whatever else was on.
We fished with the pelicans, catching as fast as we could cast; red snapper, mackerel, strawberry grouper. Our guide filleted for us as much as we could eat, and the restaurant at our hotel cooked them for our lunch.
We snorkeled among sea fans, brain coral, varieties of turtles and fish and a Moray eel. When our guide took us to Shark Ray Alley, Cal and I stayed out of the water.
We had breakfasts of eggs with peppers and onions, rice and beans with tortillas, and sugary fry bread. We ate our first Salvadorean food on the island, our first fried conch.
One evening we ate pulled pork sandwiches at a beachside café while the boys played bocce ball.
I saw my first orange grove and learned that allspice is a tree. I regret not keeping a piece of its fragrant bark.
Following the lead of our guide, walking through rain forest, Alexi ate a few termites. According to the two of them, they have a lingering flavor of mint.
I could still taste the Johnny cakes we ate on the plane when we got home.