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Sailing to Belize in about 8 Hours!

Travelling to and from this paradisiacal Island had indeed undergone quite a metamorphosis. Just think of moving to the city in 15 minutes by air or one hour by sea. Enjoy this excerpt from my book “Twenty Five years Ago” to get an idea of travelling twenty five years ago.

(The following is an EXERPT from page 13 with permission of the author)

Two years after the birth of their last child, he developed a throat infection with fever and diarrhea that no known home remedy could cure. They tried boiling young and tender coconuts and the bark of the sea grape tree, but these herbal remedies did not work. Finally Antoño insisted that Rosa should take him to Belize City to have Doctor Guzinski treat him. Rosa got up at midnight to board the Elsa P. San Pedro’s only cargo sailing boat, which also served as the island’s passenger boat that provided this service with distinction. Tio Pil, the captain and owner, liked to travel in the wee hours of the morning so that he could arrive in the city by dawn and make full use of the entire day loading the boat with merchandise and all types of cargo. He arrived on board at twelve thirty and was ready to hoist the sails.

“Todos listos?” (everybody ready?) “Today we have a good breeze so it will be about 6 hours to the city,” smiled Tio Pil as his assistant Joe Alamilla hoisted the sail. Each passenger paid 50 cents except Rosa.

“How can I charge you when Albertito is my God son.” No, Rosa, take him to the doctor and buy him a little toy at Brodies with the fifty cents.”

Every passenger found a good spot to lie down. One man lay down on top of some empty bottles that were being taken to the city to be refilled with Bradley’s lemonade. A young man lay down on some sacks filled with coconuts that were going to be delivered at Tuto Alamilla’s warehouse.

Several other women and children found comfortable spots by leaning against boxes or against the boom of the sail which was rocked gently by the wind as the boat moved along. Rosa, who was a special friend of Tio Pil, was given the choice of lying down on a nice flat board on deck. She placed a thick blanket on the deck and became very comfortable with Albertito who was wrapped up in a thick towel.

As the boat started moving south on its way to the city on that fresh and comfortable early morning, those lying down started admiring the stars and planets, which looked so bright and huge in the darkness of the night. They admired the falling stars and were amazed at the moving satellites, which were thought of as being stars.

“Look a moving star,” pointed out one of the passengers, as everyone looked in amazement and wondered how a star could move. After an hour or so, all you could hear was the snoring of the passengers, the music coming from Tio Pil’s battery operated radio, which was tuned to Harlingen , Texas, and the lapping of small waves against the sides of the Elsa P. which sailed majestically across the ocean that reflected the bright silver light of the moon.

– by Angel Nuñez, Columnist

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