Also remembered as Gulliver’s Travails
I remember Captain Morgan as a notorious pirate from the 17th century:
Sir Henry Morgan (Welsh: Harri Morgan, c. 1635 – 25 August 1688) was a Welsh privateer, landowner and, later, Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica. From his base in Port Royal, Jamaica, he raided settlements and shipping on the Spanish Main, becoming wealthy as he did so. With the prize money from the raids he purchased three large sugar plantations on the island.
Anyhow, I’m feeling he has, after all these years, had his go at me. Long after he was dead somebody named a resort after him on Ambergris Kaye, off the coast of Belize (formerly known as British Honduras). Came one evening Barbara Jean and I were having a quiet dinner at home, and she must have been feeling a bit edgy. We needed to take a vacation. Less than two weeks later I was getting up at 2:00 in the morning to prepare for a drive to the airport. That’s when the fun really got going.
The airline experience was better than we sometimes experienced. But first we had to go to Miami. You see, even though Belize is about three hours south of San Antonio by jet liner, no jet liner takes you directly from San Antonio to Belize City. You have to go to Miami first, and that flight leaves about 5:55 in the morning. And no problems in Miami. The flight took off on time, and minutes later I was filling out Belize customs and immigration forms somewhere over Cuba. Yeah, customs and immigration at the Belize City airport is an experience.
We snaked into the terminal building and piled up behind a mass of people inching their way around a winding corridor, where they eventually confronted a bank of immigration stations. Fortunately all were manned, and presently the lady stamped our passports and told us, “Welcome Belize.” Then to get our luggage and take it to customs. But first to get our luggage.
By the time we arrived at the baggage claim the hoard that had preceded us had picked through the incoming stream and had piled it to one side of the room. After poking through, examining pile after pile, we encountered a helpful soul who informed us that stuff over there was all United. We were looking for American Airlines baggage from Miami. Still no luck, and things began to look grim. People were gathered around an American Airlines window, and one of the crowd told us her bags never made it to Belize. She was going to have to wait for the next flight, much later in the day.
We presented our claim checks to the AA woman in charge, and the modern miracle of computer automation informed us our bags had, indeed, arrived. We just had to find them. They were over by a concrete pillar, all by themselves. The customs officer waved at us and said, “Welcome to Belize.” We had to get to the ferry port.
Heading for the exit we encountered a psychic who asked if we needed a taxi to the ferry port. We said yes, and shortly we were winding through narrow Belize City streets, finally arriving at the ferry, due to depart in 30 minutes. Is that timing or what?
And we were off on a sea voyage, up the coast to the magical island of Ambergris Kaye—an hour and a half of open water sailing, sitting shoulder to shoulder with any number of souls who could not wait to get to Ambergris Kaye.
Fortunately the trip was broken by a stop at another island to let off some people and to pick up some more. And then were there—Ambergris Kaye.
All we had to do now was board the van that Captain Morgan told us would be there at 3:00 p.m. But first we had to get our baggage. A load of baggage was wheeled out on a large hand truck and deposited in a roped-off area, and, yes, ours was on the bottom.
But, no, Captain Morgan’s van was not there to pick us up. After 30 minutes of waiting we took a cab driver’s offer to cart us up to Captain Morgan’s Retreat for $25 (U.S.), about 3.5 miles away, along dusty Ambergris Kaye streets.
And we there, and our accommodations were absolutely splendid, and I will get into that in another posting. In the meantime Captain Morgan has been chuckling in his grave in Port Royal.