San Pedro, Belize, November 2015
Foreward- August 22nd 2017
This entry was written a few days after I was released from Jail, November 2015.
It was my second day in Belize after spending the last 3 years figuring out a way to disappear into the adventure and never have to come home, who would have guessed I was put in my place almost immediately after embarking on my new life… Anyways,
YOU’RE IN THE JAILHOUSE NOW
The trip began with a sprinkle of Irony. As we find our hero, intrigued by the injustices caused by the Latin American drug cartel, and the lack of international awareness on the topic, in jail for drug possession.
It was my 2nd night in Belize, and I was on the roam with a girl from Newmarket. She had Coke, I had weed. We were in a hostel right beside the Caye Caulker Police Department. Our window was open.
As I sat outside smoking my cigarette, the neighbours of the law came running by me and into the hostel. Unable to fully process what that was all about, I finished the dart and followed the trail, that lead right to our room. 4 police officers giving my travel companion a hard time. I walked right in to what must have looked like an adventure, as I had 12grams of weed I could have easily disposed of before coming back inside.
“Well well well, a 2-for-1” an officer boasted proudly as they pulled the drugs from my pocket.
And from there it was the Island Jail Blues, they took us in, they were very professional considering the stories you hear of corruption in Central American police systems. I would later come to understand the small touristy island of Caye Caulker would serve much like Rosetown for the Police department. Where you send the young bucks fresh out of training to gain their experience. It’s their chance to be the Big Man. The corruption comes later, these boys were by the book.
“Why do you do this?” A prominent up-and-comer scoffed over my Pot.
“It calms me down”
He shakes his head in misunderstanding “That’s what cigarette’s are for”
I held much more liberal opinions on the matter but now was not the time to get into it.
Upon taking our information, we were both asked if we had any nicknames. When they asked me, needless to say I paused, glanced at everyone in the room, dawned a smile and replied “Why yes. I’m Jolie Blue”. We were placed in separate holding cells. Both cement floor’d, both completely soaked from the tropical rains that tend to leak in, and Piss.
I laid there giggling. It wasn’t so bad, and it was turning into a pretty good story. And also, I was still stoned.
But hell, You could hear the palm tree’s swaying outside, and the ocean waves rolling in, It was still my tropical paradise.
Though by the time morning came, my high had worn off, and I was ready for a cigarette.
They brought me breakfast. My travel companion Jordan had paid for it. She didn’t have to spend the whole night in the Slammer, she was coming down from some curiously laced coke, and they took pity on her.
As an officer came to collect my plates, he noticed paper towels and plastic bags, drenched in piss-rain on the floor.
“Pick those up for me”
“I”m not picking those up” I shrieked “They’re drenched in Piss man!”
He replied softly, like a father determined never to show aggression to his child, all the while trying to educate him on the fundamentals of civilization.
“This is your home now, you have to take care of it” as he shovelled the piss towels up with my used fork.
Monday morning, and they informed us court would be on Tuesday, as they water taxi’d us to the San Pedro Police Department. Our holding cell for the next 20 hours was filled with other trouble makers from the islands. We were the only tourists, but they treated us mostly with respect, Granted a gorgeous white Canadian Girl doesn’t find her way into a place like that too often.
Jordan, “Baby J” as they called her, got 3 Numbers while we were there.
The writing on the wall was Biblical, and Generic…
“Stop Da’ Crime. Turn to Jesus”
“Trust on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved”
The hardest part of it all might have been how little they told us. We really had no idea how long we were going to be in there. The guards wouldn’t really interact.
Sometime in there a Christian saviour popped in, to inform us we don’t have to live like this. I knew what she was trying to say, and I know she came from a good place, but her overly used reference to us as bad people only grew on my sober, boxed in, irritability. I don’t know religion down here too well, but I did know that a preachy monologue has never done much for me. So I cut her off once she called me a bad person again.
I paraphrased a favourite pastor of mine, There’s a difference between what’s ethical and what’s legal. “Just because were behind these bars doesn’t necessarily make us sinners” I was Irritably defensive, and I doubt Jesus would have backed my argument in full.
She passed over my opinions and went on to offer people salvation, by turning their lives to Jesus they could be free. She asked for a raise of hands and received an impressive turn out.
Were they really just saved? Or do they raise their hand every time.
Regardless she took our names and promised she’d pray for us.
The ironic moment was more or less, I had always imagined I would be the one trying to help from the outside, as opposed to being a part of the problem*.
I was praying too. By the morning of the second day, with minimal concept of what time it was anymore the animal in me wanted out of this cage.
The night was long. There was 10 maybe 11 of us, split into 3 cells. Jordan had her own.. The sun goes down at 5:30pm and from there I would do nothing else but try to sleep. The novelty of the situation had worn off and I just wanted to be on my way again.
You could see it in all the cell mates, some who had been there much longer than I, some came in during my time, and though we all stayed generally supportive, it was a tight place to be stuck. And we’d release the aggression in one way or another. At my worst I punched walls, Pounded my chest, and rattled the bars.
Unknowing if we were soon to be out, or having to settle in for another day, I reminisced of the Planet of the Apes… Preparing to do my Best Caesar impression if that elusive sun was to dip away on me a 3rd time.
Sure enough, we saw a Judge that second morning. She was understanding, supportive, and has probably seen this thing many times before. We paid our fines and were free.
Freedom never tasted so good to me,
Before we were arrested Jordan had mentioned she hadn’t been able to fully appreciate the beauty of her situation, despite knowing how wonderful it is to be here.
That surely changed afterwards. We sat on the beach for 3 days and nights drunk on rum.
Not 2 days later, in a bar with live music, the word had swung around the tables and back to the Warden of the US Embassy in Belize. A big Texan. He walks over…
“I have one question for you… Did they at least serve you brunch?”
He laughed, and we high fived. They had.
It grew to our understanding, everyone in prison for those 2 days were fed, because we were there.
Edit: Though a month later, I had a reunion hoot with one of my jailhouse mates, a local, who informed me that is not true.
“They don’t want bad press regarding tourists” he said, as he told me about the Tourist Police, who are one step above the regular police and make sure we’re not fucked with. Had we been in there a week or more, they say the Tourist Police would have come in and saved our ass.
My fortunate upbringing had granted me special status down here, but I won’t complain.
I’ve since left the tourist favoured islands in pursuit of some real life. Perhaps a humbler perspective. Time to buy a motorbike and find the Mennonites.
These next ones I wrote on New Years Day, 2016
The Almighty Tourist
Feeling Low, after my New Years in [The Las Vegas of Belize] San Pedro & [The Detroit of Belize] Belize City, I rode back out west. Cayo Town usually cheers me up.
Alone, I confided in the Rasta’s on the strip. In peak tourist season, shit.
I need a hit. I said to a Rasta.
Alright this is my store, Wait here, And here’s my bullshit reason why I need the money first.
Never give the money first, but I thought whatever, It’s Cayo.
Here ya go, my rastafarian bruvvaaaaa.
And He’s gone.
Another one’s hangin’ around.
20 minutes go by.
He’s not coming back is he.
Rasta #2 played the roll perfectly.
He did What? You can’t really trust that guy. That’s a shame.
But this is his store. That’s his backpack. I can wait.
No man. This is my store. That guy was working for me. I make all of this stuff.
Hand carved Mugs, Shot Glasses, Ash Tray’s. Pipes.
You don’t make those pipes though. Those Pipes are everywhere. I bought one exactly like that in San Pedro from Marlin.
Yes Rastafarian Marlin.
Maaan, he sells those pipes for me.
I then pondered why I never see any of these crafty guys actually making the merch.
That night the cops were everywhere for some reason. And here I was ranting on a Rasta who happens to be the main weed guy on the San Ignacio Strip. He was trying to calm me down, save us both from the piss house.
I told him it was a shame on Belize
I told him his friend Ras Tommy put a bad mark on his religion (in regards to the peace, love and trust speech I got before I’d been had)
And I told him it was my own damn Fault.
I asked him to pass on a message to his friend.
Tell him it’s cool.
Tell him to spend it on his Kid.
And tell him he earned it. Took advantage of the rich piece of shit tourist!
I stood up and walked off.
My brightly Coloured Caribbean shirt waving sarcastically as I kicked the ground & air. Police and tourists alike looked on in wonder.
I elevated my parting words for the masses;
I am the Almighty Tourist!
I look forward to returning to my Jungle Hut
The Swindled Story I Wish I Had
A Finnish man in San Pedro who was staying at the same Hotel was robbed by threat of a gun.
Robbed by a man he’d seen beating up another man with a branch moments before.
He only had $20BZ, so he said whatever.
It was on a street that would have a large crowd about 700 Yards Away.
Would you give him the money? or Run screaming toward the crowd.