I am in Belize for a couple days on the island Caye Caulker. The island life is so beautiful and relaxing. I have been diving and snorkeling. It is also Belize’s Independence Day so there are a lot of celebrations. It is very tempting to grab the local beer Belkin and join in the fun.
But I am resisting. On my diving trip, we were supposed to have rum punch on the way back. I asked for a juice instead. I went to a restaurant La Cubana for dinner and the special included 3 rum drinks. “Can I get watermelon juice with no alcohol instead?” And the snorkeling trip was supposed to end with rum punch. They love their rum here! (I think it is cheaper than the Belkin beer.)
I went to bed very early my first two nights because I was exhausted from traveling and then diving. I missed the fireworks but heard them from my bed. I was worried how I would handle the late night celebration alone and sober. The daytime parades and parties are easier for me even though a lot of people are drinking alcohol at breakfast time. One local told me some men put stout in coffee mugs to hide that they are drinking beer in the morning. This is a huge vacation spot so I can understand people wanting to be in the party mood but even the locals seems to have party brains.
Then again it is a holiday weekend. Maybe they are not always like this. But I still am surprised that so many women are walking around drinking beer on the streets.
Tonight I went to eat at one of the bars near my guesthouse. I spent some time talking to the owner/bartender and another patron. They drank beer and shots of whiskey and I drank a Sprite and Fanta. Part of me really, really wanted a beer. There were a lot of other travelers around me, mostly young, laughing and drinking. I wanted to be able to do that again. Even though alcohol is a depressant and not something I need when traveling alone. Too many times I got drunk and then got sad (or sadder) when I felt not included. Or I would have got drunk and made a fool of myself hitting on the guy sitting next to me. Or the bartender. I actually wished they had ice tea. The soda was disgustingly sweet.
A local guy came in with a flyer. He is a DJ and playing at a new club on the island. For $10, you get in and 3 free drinks. He started to list all the drinks for me. I cut him off and said “I don’t drink alcohol.”
“Do you smoke?” (and I can only guess what he meant.) No.
He looked stunned. “Then what do you do for fun?” I felt defensive and not sure how to answer. I thought of the diving and snorkeling I’ve done the past two days. I thought of the books I have read and the traveling I have done. I have fun but I do not think this guy would understand those activities as fun. I told him I dance. He said “good then you can come dance. When people say they don’t drink and don’t smoke, I picture those boring people sitting in the club doing nothing”. He demonstrated by sitting down and imitating a tree stump. I said I dance when the music is good. A woman sitting next to me said “so if she isn’t dancing and having fun, that is the DJ’s fault.”
I laughed. I did not think of it that way. It was his turn to be defensive. “No not my fault someone can’t have a good time.” It made me wonder if artists are really any good if people need to be drunk or drugged to enjoy them. And I thought if I were really drunk, I could be listening to crap music and having a good time. I told him I would rather have a good time without alcohol and that I do not need alcohol to enjoy life. He seemed bothered but that could because he might have a problem. (He admitted he has been drinking whiskey since he woke up that day.)
My idea of fun might be different from others but I don’t think anyone considers hangovers fun. And I left that bar without making any drunk mistakes.
Mistake 236- I was in Mexico waiting for my bus to the airport. I was drinking all day and it was now evening. I sat on the beach with a cocktail hidden in my water bottle. I was trying to read my book by headlamp. I decided to take a nap instead. I set the alarm on my phone. When I woke up, I was still a bit drunk. I grabbed my bags and rushed to catch my bus. Once on the bus I realized I dropped my $40 headlamp in my drunken rush.
I know that sobriety is not a guarantee that I will never lose things again, but I do seem to be more organized without my brain clouded by booze.