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Studying the Clouds

I believe that San Pedro was the only place in the world where people used to have this strange habit of actually studying the clouds. No, we were no astrologers, nor were we trying to come up with some theory or great discovery. It was simply a form of entertainment and relaxation and a time to “kill time”. How did this happen twenty five years ago?

When traveling by sailing boat to Belize City 25 years ago, it could get pretty boring if it took some ten hours to arrive at your destination. So the passengers would lie on deck, face up to the sky and play a game with clouds. One such game was to see who could find objects, animals, or persons among the clouds. With a little imagination we spotted dogs, elephants, kings and queens, boats, and sometimes even families of people with little children or children riding a pony. The winner would the one who spotted the most creative cloud or the one who found a cloud with a clear formation and kept that formation for a long time.

Another such cloud game was to see who would be the very first one to spot a given animal, let’s say for example, a dolphin. Here all the players, who were children and adults as well, would search the sky for a long time to see if they could come up with a dolphin or whatever. This could be more challenging but after some time, maybe an hour or so, a dolphin would appear. In the meantime, though the players had spotted everything imaginable from frogs to lizards, a baseball player or a person kicking a soccer ball, and even monsters. Some children had weird imaginations and wanted others to actually see a person dancing, but no such cloud gave that formation no matter how much that person insisted for the rest to see.

Now you see why this pastime was a form of relaxation and a time to “kill time”. This could go for two or three hours and that covered a good part of the journey. Another session like that and you already had covered half of the journey. At times on a Saturday afternoon, while dad painted or repaired the boat at the beach, the children would play on the sand and then lie down and play the “Cloud Game” for half an hour or so.

Now imagine going to Belize City by Tropic or Maya. Could you study the clouds to come up with such formations? Could you do it going to Belize City traveling on board the Thunderbolt? Today it would be possible to lie on the beach and enjoy this activity of twenty five years ago, but there would be so many attractive young men and women and tourists passing by that you would not have time to admire the clouds and locate a barracuda or a manatee. You would rather admire a beautiful tourist in her bikini.

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