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Adventures with Charley Wolf

With the thunder of the Mi Amour's all night downstairs disco still banging loud against their collective cranial shells, the Wolfs stepped out into the early morning sunshine which that particular day was just beginning to bath the dusty streets of Orange Walk town.

Partly because the Mi Amour disco's regional Punta contest the night before had gone on until well past four and partly because of the tacos they had all enjoyed the day before at the Chetumal bus station, the Wolfs were all moving slowly in their efforts to catch the six o'clock a.m. bus to Belize City. So just as the Wolfs returned their hotel room key for the cash deposit and said their good-byes to the weary eyed front desk clerk on staff that day at the Mi Amour, the Belize City bus roared by with the horn blaring informing all within hearing distance that the Novelos Bus Line was at least this day departing partly on time.

As the passing bus disappeared down Main Street Orange Walk towards the outskirts of town, the reality settled quickly upon Charley as he realized he and the family had just missed the first bus of the day. While pondering their possible course of action, a lone stranger lingering in the shadows said not really to the Wolfs but more in their general direction, "Not to worry man, the next bus will pass by in twenty minutes or so and it will probably make it to Belize first... Either way man, you got plenty of time for fry jacks and breakfast burritos 'to go' from Juanita's diner, one street down."

And so as fate would seemingly have it, twenty eight minutes later ‘to the second’ on Charley Wolf's Swiss brand watch, the Wolfs were munching down on their hot burritos and alternately dipping their fry jacks between a cup of jelly and a plate of fried black beans drenched in Marie Sharp's Extra Fiery Habanaro pepper sauce. Life at that time had the Wolfs sitting comfortably on top of their world, there in the two front seats of the 6:30am bus they had together flagged down in front of the Shell gas station. Seeing distance from Juanitas breakfast bar and waiving distance back to the kind lone stranger, the Wolfs bid their farewell to Orange Walk.

As the fry jacks and burritos made their way down, the Wolfs made their way south for Belize City. Within a mile of Orange Walk city limits they made their way across the New River. Years before as a young man Charley had ventured up the New River for a visit to the Maya city of Lamanai. At the time there had been little in the way of accommodations.

He had since dreamed often of someday returning to Belize and settling down in the land where the people you pass always seemed to be smiling. And so this day as Charley reminisced about days gone by for himself as well as the Maya people, the Belizean countryside unfolded as countless villages passed by the cool opened windows of the old Bluebird bus incorporated by Novelos to make the daily run. Places like Carmelita, Crooked Tree, Biscayne, Sand Hill and Ladyville came and went.

I And just as the Wolfs passed the welcoming sign to Ladyville, the bus began stopping about every fifty feet. Passengers and their heavy loads disembarked as though the bus was a taxi for their personal use. What Charley Wolf noticed mostly was how none of the other passengers onboard seemed bothered by these obviously unscheduled and numerous stops and goes. This patience and since of tolerance for others were also characteristics the young Charley Wolf had carried back to his homeland years gone by. These were indeed some of the traits of the peoples of that long lost land that Charley Wolf had ventured to in the days of his youth, now finding himself throwing it all into the wind and returning in the Autumn of his life.

With the old school bus twisting and turning it's way like a snake down the Northern Highway, the real life quandary now facing Charley and the Wolfs was not whether or not the Belcove Hotel in Belize City had their hotel reservation for the night in a city with a notorious reputation for crime, but rather would they be able in time to shed their own prejudices and preconceived developed first world notions about how the planet should turn. Would the Wolfs be able to embrace the old song line, 'one sky, one people', or would they too misstep as countless numbers before them had done, forcing in the end a broken shattered return to their homeland?? Surly the mother of time would have to tell as she always does in the end.


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