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Monday 19th April - San Pedro, Caye Ambergris
By Claire
Wednesday, 21st April 2004 01:49

The water taxi, a speedboat with room for 40 people and luggage left the pier at 10.30. Caye Ambergris was a 30-minute trip north, and we landed at San Pedro where we were immediately pounced on by an enthusiastic taxi driver wanting to take us to a hotel. The one he chose was actually very nice, expensive by the standards we've been used to ($30 US per night for the room), but it had a shower with hot water. It's been eight days since I had a hot shower, so we had to stay here!

This island is huge, about 40km long, and San Pedro is quite a bit bigger than Caulker, although you can still see from one side to the other when there are no buildings in the way. Like Caulker, the streets are narrow and sandy - if they are paved it's beneath inches of dust and sand. Most of the businesses here are tourist-related: guest houses, hotels, souveneir shops, bars and restaurants, but there is also a sizeable residential district too. There are jetties into the water every few feet along the beach and you can see the waves breaking on the barrier reef only a few hundred metres out. The difference here though is that there are cars on the island - on Caulker everyone got round on bikes or golf carts (with tax discs!) which made Mikey grin everytime one went past. There are still golf carts here, but quad bikes and 8x8 trucks too. Mikey wants a golf cart and a quad bike when he's grown up.

We had lunch, walked along the beach and booked some diving. There were all sorts of day-long trips, and while that would have been stunning, neither of us relished 13 hours in a boat (and 5am starts), so we opted for a couple of local dives in the morning. We found a supermarket for some water and mars bars, and it was funny to see Kelloggs cereal and McVites biscuits. The sun was getting low, so we walked along the edge of the town, through the residential areas where all the children stared at us or waved, past all the dusty dogs, and finally found a causeway thingy that led out into the water quite a way to watch the suset. It was pretty but lacked the extraordinary colours of the other day. We found a restaurant with two local singers that made us laugh a lot because of how cheesy they were, then went to an internet cafe with a friendly American owner. An email told us we'd have to talk to First Direct cos they were being difficult, refusing to talk to my mum even though we told them that she was in charge now, which was not what we expected from First Direct. Mikey made a 12-minute call that resulted in them not talking to him because he wasn't phoning from the UK and them saying that we had to write them a letter. Oh well, these things happen. Not much they can do about us all the way out here anyway.

We lost our room key and it rained a lot too. Then we got a spare key and it stopped raining. But the electricity pylon/telegraph pole/lampost/general junction box outside our room began to hiss and crackle and flash little flames, and for once it was me who was worried and Mikey who wans't. Apparently electricity does that when it gets wet. When we went to bed, a bunch of noisy Israelis decided to debate things outside our room. I wanted to shout 'Shedaim!' very loudly at them, but Mikey didn't let me. I fell asleep instead.

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