I proposed the question yesterday. October 1st was a big day in Belize – Tedx Belmopan (Changing the Conversation), a historic event in Belize #MekWiTalk and something that I had my heart set on for months…the 2015 Gothic Carnival Cruise pulling and deboarding into the Belize City Harbor. Which to choose?
You can see the Carnival ship WAYYY in the back. All the Belizean fishermen are out. Yesterday was the beginning of Conch Season.
I had made my choice months ago really…before I’d even heard of the TED talk. But I thought about it A LOT, decided that I would watch the talks on-line and I would head to Belize City as originally planned and agreed to with the Fort George Tourism Village management.
With Celi’s Deli Johnny Cake in hand, I was off with visions of Goths dancing in my head like sugar plums.
I went to Terminal Four to enter. Mr. Elad, the manager of the village, was phoned and I left my passport in exchange for a pass.
In an interesting way, it is a bit like entering another country. I went up to the offices and met the manager – a lovely, extremely knowledgeable and extremely busy guy. I got the sense that this was the safest spot in all of Belize.
He shared a bunch of information with me and answered all of my questions. 40-50% of cruise ship visitors go out on tours around the country (good). The cruise ship village is open to all – with a passport or an ID, anyone can visit from the outside (I didn’t know that).
They work, also, to give the visitor both the usual duty free stores (Diamonds International for one and the shop below) and Belizean flair.
With the bands and music…
With local vendors like this man selling fresh fruit and sugar cane…
Local charities…like these cute shirts being sold for the wildlife in Belize.
Right now the restaurants and bars at the village are serving much of the same thing…buckets of beer and rum, of course.
What a gorgeous day!
And then burgers and chicken…
Grilled cheese?!?! But things are going to start to change. Over the next few months, management at four of the restaurants is changing and new variety and international chefs will be brought in to give the cruiser a different experience. Italian, perhaps Asian and more. These restaurants with a bit finer dining (my words, not theirs) will attract, hopefully, both cruise ship passengers and those outside the village.
Belizean food, OF COURSE, will still be available. And maybe even Belizean grill cheeses.
But WAIT! Stop the presses. I can all the way here for a Gothic Cruise! A 3000+ cruise ship filled with unsmiling people in black! SPF100 and guyliner!
And while I found all of these on Instagram under the #GothicCruise…
I found out from the security at the village that the Gothic Cruise was 385 people out of a group of over 3800! And that some had deboarded early for trips but many were staying on the ship. AYE!
I watched the tenders unload.
And though I don’t like the stereotype, senior citizens in bright colors and Black Americans with southern accents are rarely categorized as Gothic.
The guys at the Tropic Air booth told me they hadn’t seen anyone “Goth” all day…
OH WAIT! My first and only spotting. This great couple just off the boat to explore the village.
Thanks guys! You made my day.
So…in the end…not so much of a Gothic Cruise…more like “The Gothic Lido Deck”. But that doesn’t look so EXCITING in print.
I was not disappointed (much) – it was a gorgeous day to explore the village and then step outside and walk around a bit.
I turned left and headed to the junction…
Over the swing bridge…
Yesterday with all the fishing boats out conch fishing.
And when they are in.
I walked over to the court house…
And across the street, the Little Ice Cream Shoppe. THIS ICE CREAM IS SO DELICIOUS.
Now THAT’S some Belizean food!
And an oasis in the city…Our Lady of Guadelupe Mercy Center and St. Catherine’s Girls’ Academy.
I was ready to board the 1:30pm water taxi. Good-bye tourism village…
and Carnival Cruise Ship.
The water was flat like glass. October weather for sure. As I neared San Pedro, I saw someone water skiing (!?!?!) and a few SUP-ers.
A beautiful day…
And I can’t wait for the TEDx talks to be made available on the website. Keep an eye on their facebook page for info. I hear it was all fantastic.