A new low. It’s rare I’ve been so depressed that I’ve had to eat at McDonalds, but there it is. I have a knack, apparently, for always finding the odd silver lining despite wading knee deep in a fountain of faeces and foregone failure, and so I will put a brave face on the last week of turmoil. ‘Turn that frown upside down!’ they said. All right, let’s do it!
Belize, packed with white silken beaches and breathtaking coral reefs, welcomed a Reed eager to traverse the length of this Caribbean paradise. A holiday from a holiday. Well, that was Plan A. Plan B or F was gaining intimate knowledge of a toilet and a sink, which I’d pendulum between with severe food poisoning. I like the colour green as much as the next man, but it is quite astonishing just how much green can discharge from the human body, and at such velocity! No wonder why The Hulk is so angry. But it’s all positives: ripped abs from the constant retching; impressive weight loss; and when I finally lumbered out of bed on a Wednesday, five days had zoomed by – hullooooo, time saver! There I was, burdened by choice of how to spend my week when the hard work was already done. Huzzahh!
With Izzy’s imminent arrival on the good ship Winner (yup, that’s her name) in three days’ time, I abandoned Belize the next day with a heavy heart, and a light belly. A nice hotel with a pool on the Guatemalan coast seemed just the tonic to further my recuperation, which was ironic considering tonic was probably the one drink not consumed at a reggae party held outside my own private villa until the wee hours. Reggae being my 153rd favourite type of music, sandwiched behind Chinese Opera and mating badgers, I considered this a lucky omen: the following days would surely be better. I mean, they had to be. I had three companies to pay lots of money to and needed to do it in a single working day. Oh, and in cash. That sounds like a foolishly hard task, Reed, how did that happen? Well . . .
I ended up in this sodding nightmare chance to expand my learning horizons because my Australian bank, over a two-week period, consistently confused two business days of effort with TEN business days. They confirmed this to me on the on the fifteenth phone call – yes, really - just before the reggae started. Still, an easy mistake to make (again and again and again) and far from being a burden, gave me a chance to test my temperance and new ways of linking swear words to form one profoundly long insult like some kind of Tourette’s ridden filthmonger caught in a timeloop. I have become quite adept.
Blessed at spending a long weekend in the most inconsequential port town I’ve ever encountered has its advantages, namely no obstacles of distraction such as joy and merriment. With fun being expunged from the calendar, Guatemala’s Puerto Barrios had some surprises up her sleeve as I harried from one bank to another to finalise payments. And I like surprises so it was like a mini birthday in a way. Unbeknownst to me and my shipping agent that has lived here all his 42 years: not all ATM machines are able to process bank cards with microchips (introduced in Europe in the mid 1990’s and present on all of my bank cards); ATM withdrawals are limited to $250 per day per card; banks don’t let you withdraw money directly from the teller; and most banks can only receive Western Union transfers, not send them. Oh and apropos, Western Union chose today of all days, the one day in my life I tried using them, to close their on-line systems worldwide . . . surprise! If my resolve was slipping, at every cross roads I appreciated encouragement from the shipping agencies informing me that Izzy would be impounded and fines accumulated for any further delay to payments. By the way, said my shipping agent casually, here’s another bill for an amount you hadn’t forecasted for, can you pay that now?
With new-found depths of gratitude, and first-borns promised to be bequeathed as slaves, an angel of a friend rallied to settle the last payment of the day when disaster loomed with avarice. All bills finalised, shipping unaffected, a triumph achieved through sheer bloody mindedness and a lot of fossicking. The day was saved!
I then receive a text message on my phone: “Boat still in Honduras, will arrive a day later”. Sonofamo&*er#@%king^*@tbagsh$*forbrains!$#%tard! I wonder if McDonalds is still open?
The blog will be a record of everything - from idea conception to old age in making this adventure happen
You can find the excellent 2006 Antipodean Adventure blog by Dwyer Rooney here