Guess who took their first vacay in a wheelchair? ME! 😁 Oh. My. Damn. Boy, I had fun! I was scared, worried, nervous and any other negative emotion as we planned the trip because I’m handicapped. Yes, I have a walker. Yup, I prefer my walker. For THIS trip, my brother already set me straight. We did New Orleans, group trip, and I used my walker. It didn’t go well for me because the walking was flat out too much. I thought I soldiered through but he explained, “Bro. Everyone can tell you hurting. It ain’t just your speed. Dude, bring your wheelchair and I got you.” SO, that was that and of course, he was right. I could NOT have survived on a walker. I have Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis and it was ridiculous of me to consider it. My wife did an awesome job when we were alone. Out in public, people were more helpful than in America. I mean it! Belizeans, Mayans, Mestizos, everybody was cool than a MUG and helpful as shit.
While we talking about helpful as shit, *looks around* you can skip a BUNCH OF LINES/LANES/LISTS/STEPS as a handicapped person. Yeeeees, you knew that. Maybe you already on game but until you rock handicapped at the airport… Maaaaaan… Duuuude… Siiiiiis… *slow breathe*. My wife and I skated through customs, gates, all that because I am handicapped. Employees constantly gave me tips and walked me through stuff. I LOVED IT!!!! 😍😍😍😍😍 I’m sure it’s not always so easy breezy but it was my first wheelchair vacay to San Pedro, Belize.
Day One: (Wife & I)
Number one, it’s only a 2 hour flight from Houston to Belize City, Belize. Now, from there, you have a 20min taxi ride to the boat. After that, you can choose $25/individual water taxi to San Pedro or $100/individual airplane ride to San Pedro, both are round trip. We chose the water taxi, $50 as a couple. The crew were very nice and helped me to my spot but GUUUUURL, it was public bus crowded. It was clown-in-a-small-car crowded. I’m sure you get it. 🤤 We arrived, with plenty of help, and rolled out on golf carts. (In San Pedro, Belize, the most common form of transportation is golf cart.) The U.S. dollar is 2 Belizean dollars so my wife and I cruised the city, stopping at various eateries and vendors, and enjoyed ourselves. I can’t make it more transparent, Belizeans are cool and helpful. From opening doors to transporting me from wheelchair-to-cart to bringing me stuff, Belizeans are cool people. NOBODY asked or stood around for a tip either! We met some cool colonizers at one of the bars on the beach. The conversation with them was memorable. Both of them loved San Pedro so much that they retired there, invited family and friends to live and invest there as well. Sounds innocent and sweet huh? NOPE. Their family and friends invest in projects, often abandoning them for lack of funds and leaving eyesores all over the island. Their family and friends push business agendas that price services beyond locals’ budget. Their family and friends institute practices that keep Europeans above locals in all elements from entrepreneurship, banking, wages, medical care and education. These two colonizers were sooooo upset as they relayed this informative tale of privatizing access and dreams. It made me angry as I listened! To my simple ears, it was the age old, tried and true machine of colonization. A few cool Europeans show up and BOOM. Starbucks, Mickey D’s and racism become the flavors for the people. We ended the night sitting on our back patio, overlooking the lagoon, drinking vodka and making plans for the squad.
Day Two: (Squad Arrives)
Newsflash. In Belize, the sun is hunting sleepyheads and late risers at around 5:30AM. Yup, it is beaming bright as heck by 6am. For an early bird, like myself 😉, I loved it. One of the advantages of Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis is that I can drink/smoke/get wasted with anybody, till almost anytime and STILL get up early for round 2, round 3 with little hangover. Why? How? In laymen’s terms, there’s so much going wrong/pain/discomfort on a daily basis that I literally can’t tell difference between hangovers, relapse, bad day, etc. With such a discreet super power, I use it whenever needed so I would get EFFED UP with the squad all day, all night and be up to yoga/meditate/work out alone facing the lagoon or on the beach. 😍😍😍
– Restaurant with tubes: When the rest of the squad arrived, my wife and I met them at the condo. At full strength, we were 5 deep, my wife, me, homie, homie’s wife & my wife’s bestie. Yup, they get apprehensive about their names in my blogs. 🙄 Next, we balled out through the city of San Pedro on our golf carts. The sun sets at around 6pm and our squad needed it’s first Belizean meal. We chose to hit a restaurant located right in the shallow waters of the beach. It was bigger, fancier and littered with NCAA pennants. (Obviously, owned by a non-local.) The food was fantastic! Seafood was fresh and frigging good. Everywhere we ate was better than U.S. eateries. In America, seafood is expensive and I rarely remain full. In Belize, it’s much more affordable but more impressive was that I would be full for a long time. I’m not joking. The seafood was fresh as HELL, gooder than a MUTHAFUGGA and you felt full as SHIT. I’m talking, after-thanksgiving-dinner full. We chilled, drinking rum, vodka (MY favorite liqour) and beer until we noticed the extended deck. The deck had 14-20 inner tubes tied together and set up for patrons to enjoy so we absolutely did. It was all fun and games until my wife’s bestie noticed all the fish and stuff beneath us, around us and with us. BOY! Everybody freaked out and jumped out! 🤣🤣🤣 We posted up, on the deck, out of breath, laughing at our own antics and admiring the raw beauty of the island.
– Pedro’s Nightclub: We left the eatery, wet, warm & looking for action. Rocking and rolling the golf carts, swanging, banging and met a local hustler. Can’t lie, I needed cannabis and knew I’d have to find it upon arrival so I did. Nope, wasn’t hard at all, cannabis, edibles, vape. I just needed cannabis to calm my MS symptoms. The hustler ended up being our plug for the entirety of the trip, cannabis, guide, excursions, historian, he was legit good at his craft. Anywho, he told us about Pedro’s Nightclub and we took off to find it. You might be wondering what was my wheelchair bound, handicapped ass gonna do at a nightclub. I didn’t! My homie helped me walk in, mostly carried but whatever. We showed up 10pm, met the birthday boy and were shocked at the audacity of the DJ to be jamming U.S. melanin hits from 2001-2008! Ja Rule, Nelly, Destiny’s Child, No Limit, Outkast were blasting and you damn right I danced too. I kept one hand on a table or chair and proceeded to bop my ❤️ out like the rest of my squad. We left around 2am and the club was JUST getting full with locals. Finished our night on the back patio, overlooking the lagoon, jamming old school, slow screw music.
Day Three: Secrets Beach
The squad woke up late, well 8a.m., and opened the festivies by filling our canteens and Yeti cups with vodka before rolling out. That became our daily routine! The first two days, we explored the city of San Pedro. Day three, we planned to check out Secrets Beach, 30min ride by golf cart through unpaved open land. 😭😭😭 The ride was rough on me, really, really rough. Not going there but coming back. The whole Secrets Beach vibe was every bit a Jamaican feel, more bars, gorgeously clear water, tourists galore. We scooped trinkets and jewelry from the hustlers and entrepreneurial artists, talked with other tourists, played in the water and of course drank goooood. We wanted to do the fishing/Caye Caulker/lobster/snorkeling boat trip but didn’t want to pay the $1600. Our plug hooked us up with some local boat guys and got us same deal, same hours for $400. 🤜🏾🤛🏾😉 Heck yeah we took it! We gave Stephen, boat hustler, $100 deposit and were assured our plug could come too. The entire time we were scheduling this trip, Stephen and the plug argued over pricing. Plug had our side but we could tell they had negative history. We chopped with local Queens (my general terms for Black women) who explained that our plug was an UNtrustworthy fellow. According to them, he was a snitch and womanizer that focused on colonizer women. Meh, plug was good to us and I liked dude quite a bit. Yes, he tried way too hard to woo my wife’s bestie but other than that and the food stunts, I liked the guy. Food stunts? Well, later that night, we’re back at the condo and laughing at the day’s events when the bestie announces that every time we eat or order drinks, plug does and she pays for him. *Mind blown* NONE OF US KNEW THAT! See, after Secrets Beach, we hit Jamel’s restaurant for Jamaican grub. It was the single greatest meal I’ve ever paid for, lobster sliders, fresh lobster, red snapper, coleslaw, rice, beans and shrimp. $25 U.S.! Well, plug ordered same thing and some beers. That meal tho? It was the most expensive dish on the menu so it’s understandable that bestie was PISSED. Hey, hustlers hustle but I reminded the squad that in Belize, the rules are different and we don’t know the rules at all. We decided to drop the plug after the boat trip and give her a serious break from his advances and hustling.
Day Four: Da Boat
Woke up excited for the boat trip and wary than a mug. After the Queens’ information on our plug, bestie’s revelation of the hustle and general group hangovers (NOT ME 💪🏾), we thought about cancelling the boat trip and losing that $100 deposit. In the end, we ran into Stephen and the plug that morning. Y’all know they were waiting, bright and early, as they promised and we scheduled. Y’ALL, we had soooooo much fun on that tiny, teeny weeny, shriveled, little, short, shawt boat!!!! Okay, plug, Stephen and Kenton the captain, took us out. Let’s start with this, I thought the beaches were beautiful. They have nothing on the waters. Folks, the waters were so clear, we could see the fish they were catching. ❤️👏🏾👏🏾❤️ People, at some point, Stephen said, “KENTON! STOP! STOP! HERE!” He lept off the boat, in scuba head gear, and THUD! A friggin, big ass lobster landed right beside the homie’s wife. It was fairly righteous that she screamed in shock. *shrugs* The boat? Good question, let me backtrack. The whole squad, had the understanding that the boat was bigger than it was. (Again, NOT ME!) Sure, it fit us all but baaaaaarely. Eight total people, all open, we had to seat two on each side, I sat at front on a cooler sized bench, captain and Stephen at “bow”, plug kinda hung off the side like an American garbage truck worker. We jammed Big K.R.I.T., smoked, drank, fished, lobster’ed and the locals told stories. I had sooooo much fun!! At one point, oh my gosh, Stephen, homie, his wife and plug were in the ocean goofing off and swimming. Kenton looks at me and whispers, “tell your friends to get out the water and get back in the boat.” He’s not aggressive or yelling but I can sense the urgency. Now, mind you, I’m kinda faded. I’ve been playing photographer-to-the-stars for my wife and her bestie as they model, pose, etc. against the Belizean sun. I scream out, “YOOOOOOOO!!!! GET ON THE BOAT! WE BOUT TO LEAVE!” It was my attempt to follow the captain’s orders. 🙄 *shrugs* They didn’t hear me but my wife and her bestie did who immediately got to hollering, “GET OUT! GET OUT! IT’S A SHARK!” This, rightfully so, sparks a fire in the swimmers to get in the boat. 🤣🤣🤣🤣 We burn rubber when everyone is safely on board. I’m ROTFLMAO because it wasn’t a shark. It was game wardens and these dudes had us fishing illegally! Noooo, we didn’t get caught. Why would we think it was a shark? We actually caught a shark earlier that day! Yes, a small nursery shark that we took pictures with and threw back. 💥💥 We visited Caye Caulker, tried lobster ceviche (Yup. Good as heck and my #3 meal.) and partied on the beach. That evening, the three guys brought us EVERYTHANG we caught earlier, cooked over an open fire with potatoes and various vegetables. The lobster? It lacked claws, was substantially larger than I’ve ever seen and splayed open had 2 hot dog sized logs of meat. #Muah! On the way back to San Pedro, Stephen and plug got into a heated argument over how to spell Stephen’s name. I know but it happened and I was there! To be honest, they had been drinking with us all damn day; for free but we’re past that. Kenton the captain stopped somewhere no fish roamed so we could “fish” a little more but it was back to the condo. We split up once we got back, my wife and I went hunting wings (she’s allergic to seafood) while the squad took Stephen and the plug to their respective homes. When we all reconnected, we spent the night at the pool, overlooking the lagoon, staring at stars and reminiscing on the day’s events. *mosquitoes wrecked our pool night*
Day Five: Solomon & Leslie
Day five was our laziest morning yet. The squad had been telling my wife and I this story of a Louisiana couple they sat beside on the plane. They were Baton Rouge natives, retired LSU police, moved to San Pedro in 1995 and were black. They invited the whole squad to their house for beer, drinks and home cooked meals! The story sounded unbelievable but on day five, we set off in search of the albatross couple. It took us forever but eventually, we found it. Solomon and Leslie have a picturesque, three story, vacation styled home. Yup, the couple had chilled Belizean beer, rum and coke and even offered to cook! They explained that they moved to San Pedro and slowly built their home over the past twenty years. They never actually moved to Belize, instead they come back for 3mo stays and live life on their own terms. Maaaaaan, even the palm trees and other plants were twenty year projects! We hung out with the couple for a few hours before thanking them and rolling out. Before going to the condo, we chose some random beachfront restaurant with overpriced food and long serving times. It was, by far, the worst meal we bought. 😝 The place had the best salsa I’ve ever tried but everything else was just blah.
Day Six: Secrets Again
Day six was my toughest day of the past two years. I had gone 24hrs without cannabis for the first time since March 1st, 2017 and I was feeling it. The lack of cannabis manifested as an influx of MS symptoms, fatigue, neurosis, and vision problems. I didn’t sleep well and just couldn’t get revved up. Luckily, we had a little bit of tincture left. I mixed it with vodka and gave the day my best shot. Gratefully, my squad recognized the precipitous decline in my level of participation. My wife gets the most props. She found the plug, he had cannabis, I got better. 🤓 It was obvious that I wasn’t going to be able to do much, even with cannabis at my disposal. We made light plans to see Secrets Beach and catch this one particular Jamaican spot, only open 11a-2p. It was our last day as a collective squad and we were all worn out. Here’s where the story gets interesting. Before we leave to find the plug, Stephen shows up at our condo. YES! THAT STEPHEN. Dude from the boat trip that kept arguing with the plug. Why did he show up? SOMEbody whooped his ass. For real y’all, he got stomped by SOMEbody. He asked us for $30 U.S. to take care of his medical injuries (He needed it.) and blamed the police for his beatdown. Nooooow, back to the plug. We’re smoking, headed to the Jamaican spot and he tells us a story about Stephen getting beatdown because of hustling friends. We mention we just saw Stephen, his injuries and the plug just smiled and looked away. We took that as satisfaction. The Jamaican spot was absolutely worth the wait and affordable. Our second trip to Secrets Beach took longer than the first time because my MS progressed so rapidly that I struggled to stay in the golf cart. Twice we stopped so I be doused with water or drag on some cannabis. We made it back safely tho. That evening, overlooking the lagoon, we watched a crocodile make slow laps. #BeautyOfBelize
Day Seven: Wheels Up
Day seven was my signal to return home ASAP. MS was in full throttle and I couldn’t take a single step without assistance. My feet burned. My legs spasmed. My calves rang with neuropathy so viciously that my ears hummed in pain. I was in bad shape but wouldn’t trade a single day.
1.) Roundtrip Houston/Belize – $400/ind.
2.) 3bed/3bath condo overlooking lagoon – $1200/ week TOTAL. ($400/couple)
3.) Golf cart for week – $125/cart
4.) Boat taxi from Belize City to San Pedro – $25/ind
5.) San Pedro bridge pass – $25/golf cart
*7 days and each of us spent $700/ind. Estimate another $300/ind on food.*