Thursday, January 12, 2012

Orange You Glad You Went?

You know how it is when someone really build up a movie or a book, but by the time you experience it, disappointment sets in? We had read about this market called Orange where you can find the best of Belize souvenirs all in one place. The entire time we were in Guatemala when I was hovering over a potential sale, Ron would say "Remember we still have Belize and the Orange Market." 

This kept me at bay some of the time, but over eighteen years, I have learned one travel truth for certain. Don't listen when someone says to you, "You will probably see this all over. Do you really want to carry it around with you now?" I don't know how many times, I never did see the item ever again. This is one of Ron's favorite sentences when his budget radar kicks in alerting him that I am about to spend money. 

We had intended to stop at Orange on the way back from the Belize Zoo yesterday. However, the bus ride was much longer than expected, we spent over 2 hours at the zoo, and the ride back would have taken us into the dark of night. We thought tomorrow is another day with nothing planned. We will spend part of the day at Orange. We mentioned this to Sergio, the owner of Destiny Travel in Flayva's Restaurant. We bought our tour tickets from him. He offered us a ride if we would leave at 11am. He was on his way to the Belize Airport to pick up people and Orange was on his way.

For reassurance, I asked Sergio if Orange was all that was said about it. He went on and on about how massive it was, that any handicraft ever made in Belize was available there and many of the items were only on sale at Orange and no where else. Exclusivity is my cup of tea, so I was salivating while making certain my wallet was fully stuffed ready for heavy duty action.

It took close to forty-five minutes to drive to Orange. We had passed it on the bus, but I had only a quick glimpse. Orange is associated with a motel and restaurant. When we passed on the bus, my assumption was the one floor orange colored building we were flying by was the restaurant and the actual market was down the road a piece. Wrong! When Sergio pulled up, it was the market. It took ten seconds to realize that the diamond I had come to expect was only zirconium.

Situated room by room, the first was all jewelry, never on my shopping list. The next contained leather products, the type similar to the craft kit children get to make mommy a coin purse. This was followed by textiles. We did our share of textile purchases in Guatemala, so no thank you here. The only thing that interested me was pointed out by a sharp saleswoman. It was a salve for bug bites to stop the itch. Hmmm... here is was twenty Belize dollars. In town, it was only ten. Pass on that too. I covered this 'fabulous' market in ten minutes time and was in the restaurant ordering a coffee. If there hadn't been a few trinkets in town I had been holding off on buying, I would have been disappointed. It was an experience, but not one worth recommending. 

We waited for the bus to roll by to flag down. It was hot with little offerings of shade. The bus ride was unremarkable and upon our arrival, we did not find Betti. We went back to the hotel to read. Within a minute, I became ill. It was like turning on a light switch. Ron was still on the balcony at the front of the building while I was at the back of the building in our room dying. I now have a general idea of what labor is like. I sweat 2 liters of water in ten minutes. After I flopped to the floor, I curled into a fetal position that even a Yogi master would have appreciated. My stomach felt like it was being excised from my body with a rusty can opener. The whole ordeal continued for over an hour. I couldn't drag myself out to the front to say my good-byes to Ron. I knew these were my last breathes and didn't even have the last rush of energy to scrawl out a parting note. 

By the time he returned to the room, I had been sound asleep having climbed onto the bed from the floor like it were Mount Everest. He had no idea that I had traveled alone to hell and back, so he proposed we go find a happy hour and then dinner.

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