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Belize it or not?
Ok, here we go in 1986 I was part of a volunter group in Belize, central America, these are some of my adventures and memories of that time, as the title says Belize them or not:
It all started when I went to a recruiment day with my best mate Ant [My oldest friend know him for over 3O years, weird as we both were called Anthony, though I hate that name, and each have a sister called Susan, less said about my sister hte better, and our moms live at number 11 in their respective houses.], bascially I was making up the numbers, at the time I was also doing a bricklaying course, so could answer the questions asked at the interview, and eventually told that I was through to the next phase along with Ant, surprised, but interested I decided to give it a go.....
I once applied for Operation Raleigh when in the Air Cadets but I didnt get through, think that involved building a School in some area of Columbia!!! Could have been potentially hazardous with the Drug Cartels and the like..like making Water Pumps in 80's El Salvador!!!!! or digging a well in 80's Guatemala!! very convenient for the death Squads to get rid of all those Bodies though!!!
all the best..Rab...
I await these cool stories ;0)
Sounds intially like our thing Rab, but with more to come, like a Carry On movie at times, omg thats my life, a Carry On movie.
Phase 2: Selection and a late night.
Well me and Ant were selected, he decided not to go, this was at a Scout building by the Lickey Hills, cold, hilly, rural area, just ouside of brum/Birmingham, and now I'd started to mix, get to know people, and this was the bonding stage of the selection. We did some orinteering, I was with Fiona [a fiesty fun loving girl, but the salt of the earth, her intention was to get to Jamaica, she was a ladette before the term had been invented, and one of the two ladies selected.], we cheated, and got the answer to posted question by using our brains and wit, cunning too, it was fun, we also did a basic first aid cours,e fun with a dollie, a good weekend.
Me and Smarty [Steve Smart, a traffic Warden later after we came back, omg, he was a larger than life character, funny, never have put him a traffic warden though.], decided to go down the nearest pub,w ith a few others, but as luck would have it me and Smarty pulled two local lasses, so the others went back, and said that they leave the front door open for us, to get in later as we were on a curfew. So much later we left the ladies, very late back, having promised to write and stay in touch, my girl was Angie, forget Smarty's gal. But when we go back the door was locked, ooooops! So we went around the side and began to climb over a fence as we saw a fire escape and open window above, but a guard dog was barking, mad litterally at us as we legged it onto and up the fire escape. We clambered thorught he open window, thinking it to be empty when we heard voices, a ligh came on it was a scout group!!!
Well Smarty and me got into trouble, but were in the end ok, and this was the group that were picked to go to Belize, Cedrick [Can't recall much about him, bit of a lad, but he lost out and no one ever saw him when we got back.] was the only guy, not to turn up for trip to London where it would all begin properly.
Well our adventure was underway, flying out from Gatwick airport to Miami, well this was the first time I'd ever been out of the country unless you counted the Isle of Wight, and flown too. Bearing in mind this was the hieght of Miami Vice,[I thought this was show was the Dog's, saw it more so when I came back and me like many others was influenced by the fashion, I had the white suit, etc, showed off my tan when I came back, no socks, and shades, me and Ant were like the poor mans Blue Brothers, so we thought, but more like Bodie and Doyle of the professionals.], so the airport was all pastels shades, of turquoises and purples, lush carpets and Don Johnson/Miami Vice merchandise everywhere, we were told later that the TV series had been filming here the week before. We were amazed at the scenery as we were driven by cab to the hotel where we'd be staying, the huge lanes of traffic, the humid weather, a thousand miles from home, not homesick just excited. Everywhere we went people wanted us to speak again, we had breakfast in a diner, we had to re-order several times, they loved the accent.
Watch out Miami here we come!
Well we were here the other side of the world as far as I was concerned and we checked in and went out and about to sample what Miami had to offer, we lounged by the pool soaking up the sun, and tried as Brits do to cross the roads, six lanes or more difficult, and found life different here, having to show some form of Id to get into bars, and have a drink. So after waundering around we ended up back at the hotel watch tv and chilling, Smarty and [Eddie A right poser Eddie, and a big George Michael fan, how many times did Eddie sing careless Whisper out of key, and very louddly with his walkman, we lost count, and he even told his pulling secret, wearing his nephew pants! to make erm, his boys bits seem bigger.], told us they been in a bar and seen a guy arrrested, one thing seeing cops with guns on tv another to see it for real, whoops! Well we'd be here for a couple of days then flying to Belize and onto our destination San Ignacio, a place I'd never heard of but soon would.
On the road
Well we set off aboard mini buses driving to Belize, through lush scenic landscapes, weird, how the air tasted crips, clean, but I wouldn't noticed that till I came home three months later. Weamused ourselves with a sing along, the Sound of music never sound so bad, or out of tune....
Eventually many hours later we arrived in Belize, the location for many a film, and one of my favorites The Dogs of War, later we found out through a local news paper that Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren were filming here too on Mosquito Coast. We were put in a hotel of sorts very basic being the very meaning . Well a few of us went into town,on a walkabout we played kickabout with a football on the seafront and later decided to try Chinese food and ate a curry, not sure what the food be like here. The curry was good, I remember waking early the next day, seeing the sunrise with Arthur [Milo, a god fearing bloke,quiet but he made friends, as we all did.], a beautiful sight, the sun rising not Arthur.
Is this way to San Ignacio?
Well here we are in San Ignacio arriving where we would be for the next three months, thats how long we had to build the old people home from scratch, a small town, very pretty you got it via a girder bridge which we were told not to go over at night in case we wanted to beheaded!!!
We were lead to believe that we'd live off the land in tents, alas that and thank god we haven't, and were in like an old church hall, we were to stay in the hall that night, but well we wanted to explore the town, and off we went. Sneaking into town we found a local bar Rubies, owned by an ex squaddie, it was dimmly lit, bit seedy, and looked like a shack/shed from the outside to be honest. But it was full of atmosphere. So here was I a lager boy, drinking rum and coke, the ice chipped from a huge block of ice, behind th ebar an array of bottles, tequilla and the like, some with things in that wouldn't go amiss on a witches shelf. We sneaked back to the hall much later, several rums and cokes later too, I remember ducking down to avoid being seen and clambering over a wire fence, ouch but we made it back in one piece.
On the move again
Well we were moved again, to an orphanage, no weren' being put up for adoption, no one would want us, lol, we were staying here for the foreseeable future and the orphaned boys would be helping us on the building work. We were in a big wooden building/hut, not unlike the Stalag from The Great Escape, and given army rations, [Later on learning why we were all going to the toilet more often.] and met some of the army boys from the local British camp, [Milky being the main one I recall, a fun guy, into comics and the like, especially 2OOOAD, I had a Judge Dredd Tee shirt which he wanted but promised when we got home I'd send him one, sadly I never did.] which we'd vist many times later on in our stay. We were given a rota to cook and washup, each morning the orphaned boys would shin up the coconut trees and bring us fresh coconut, Sandria [ The other girl of our group, nice as pie, gorgeous too, we had some great chats too.] and Fiona had seperate accomadation, but the hut was segregated and we bunked up in two's on army camp beds, which collapsed as much as look at them, I was with Mark [A black country lad, he called girls wenches and the like, he was a great mate though we went drinking a few times after we got back, whoops thats spoiled the ending! He even tried to give me a pair of leather trousers, no we're we weren't that close mates. He worked out a lot, and was a hit with the ladies too, was our Smithy.] ,but boy could he snore, like an elephant on heat, not that I know what that sounds like either.
Nice to actually get the stories that go with the photos now honey.
Awwwwwwww ta very much, but are you reading these too? Tried to put up the pictures though, but can't display them for some reason, babes, you're probably bored to death of Belize.
How're things there now, Og ?
mate this was 2O years ago, and still as clear as day.
But it was an adventure, the people lived in homes no better than most garden sheds, but invited us in with welcome arms to dine with them, you could live like kings or queens there for a small sum of money, I always, and we all did indeed say we'd go back my mate Pete did, rumor had it he married a girl there too.
Work, drink and a hotel.
Eventually we started work on the old peoples home, the foundations and a water tank, the heat was scorching, but we had breaks regularly, and bar sessions of a night, so not bad at all, and on the night drinking rum and coke, the ice, and coke becoming less each night, and me sampling drinks from the shelves behind the bar, stuff with worms in, stuff with stuff in and tequilla too.
But things were going to change yet again as Graham [Was a bit of a lad, and thought he had a way with the ladies, maybe he did, but he was married and alone, enough said and had a soft spot for Sandria too, well he wasn't alone there we all did. He basically was the guy in charge of us, some one had to be.] told us one night we'd be leavng the orphanage and going to a hotel! Imagine our surprise, a hotel, when we were told we'd be roughing it.
So we were taken to the biggest hotel overlooking the small town of San Ignacio, nice and picturesque, but then that was where Fiona and Sandria would be staying and Tim[A curly, bearded guy, mainly there to help us and keep us enertained he was a laff too, and a good listener, nice bloke.], Big Arthur[just benetah graham in pecking order, a miserable old git, for want of a better description, Victor Meldew had nothing on him.], Big Adrian [Big ada was in charge of the building side, bit of a stiff upper lip, sort of guy, reminded me of an army officer, had the moustache for twirling too.] and Graham would be staying.
We were on the other side of the hotel, above the basketball courts and with access to the swimming pool too, and intot he hotel and bar itself, we were spilt into three groups again now, as there were a trio of apartments.
Big Dave[ A tall, kool rasta guy, becam emy blood brother in Mexico, more of which later.], Little Dave [ A quiet, but aggressive kinda guy, but I grew to like him later as the weeks past.], Colin [Another rasta, a nice bloke too, we had some good chats, quiet too.] and Arthur were in one apartment downstairs.
The other downstairs apartment consisted of Little Ada [ Bit of a know it all kinda of bloke. though he had his momments too, and a born poser, insurance salesman now.], Pete[A strange guy at times, kept himself to himself went off to chat, visit the locals, but a grafter too, and he save my life once too.] and Moxey [Now he was a charcter, and pulled the girls without trying, a vegitarian which would cause him problems at some point too, but a great bloke too.] and lastly was Edwin [Well what can I say, he grafted, but was reknown for the cement hanging from his armpits, a rocker/biker, gave them a bad name with greasy hair, but he was an ok guy, but sometimes, could cause friction in the group.]
Which left our upstair block, split into four parts, a lounge area, which Mark, and Andy [An other great guy, kool and had the sun tan and a few quid in his pocket oo, turned out I'd even chatted his sister up without knowing it sometime in the past too. And he had an eye for the ladies, Sandria again, but Fiona too.] The middle setion was shared by Eddie and Dean[ A nice bloke, easy going and he met a girl over there, became his girlfriend whilst we were over there.] Then on bunk beds in a little area were me and Smarty, and shower area, to the bac of us and a kitchen/galley area along the side of the apartment.
Whats a load of Brummies supposed to do in a hotel?
So there we were holed up in the hotel, we found later there was a night club directly below our rooms, the Blue Grotto, as we aptly named it the Grotty Grotto, when we investigated it at a later. The music was early 80's, we took loads of tapes with us, before CD's folks so the music served our apartments too, but we decided to check it out, easy access and easily staggerable back to our beds. So we introduced, or I did to Central America Sigue Sigue Sputnik!!! And I discovered tequilla, oboy! We were like celebrities in the grotto, but as its nickname suggested it was grotty and dark, but loads of fun.
Inspired by the grotto to a degree, we decided to hold a party in our apartment, but in need of drink......well Big Ada we knew had at least one crate of beer in his room he, so me and Mark decided to liberate one for the party, party on music from the grotto and beer, and a laff and joke. But Big Ada wasn't impressed, no sense of humor it would seem, this a man who posted a tarantuala back home to a friend I kid you not, but the spider arrived dead. Well we drank the beer and danced the night away.
What are u goin on about???
Read my recollections, my memories.
Just wanted to share what I think is one the turning points of my life, funny too, well maybe its you have to have been there time but love people to comment.
Im loving reading all about these adventures mate, I think having worked in the Museums Industry and having done a lot of Oral History Work you get to love hearing peoples life stories and recollections of important events that shaped their lives, I always enjoy that and I guess..Im just naturally nosy!!!! lmao...Keep up the adventure recounting mate; its great reading ;0)
All the best...
Working lunch, hunger strike and moonlight dips
Well here we were a place to sleep, party and now to work, the heat was hot hot hot, not something I'd experienced until now, so we started early, and finished in the afternoon. The lads from the orphanage were helping us, sifting sand, and wheeling barrows and odd jobs, we worked hard, sweaty we stopped for lunch back at the hotel a short walk away from the site. We were fed hotdogs or burgers and chips/fries they expected us to want to eat what the staff termed our own kind of food from back home, and we were sad not to be eating the local cuisine. But this was where the problems with Moxey began, he being a vegetarian refused to eat the food, and went on hunger strike, and later on in the week stopped work too, and stayed in his room back at the hotel.
On the afternoons we went in the swimming pool in the hotel, lovely and cool, and sometimes in the morning before work too, being not a very good swimmer, I learned to dive in the pool in afashion, diving over a chair in to the water, as prompted by Eddie. But after a late night out at the Grotto all of us in our apartment decided to go to the pool and ended up skinny dipping! Thats was a mad night out, but darn fun, here I was the other side of the world nake din a swimming pool with newfound friends, how kool was that?
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