This past week, one of my good friends has been having a bad week. His wife is out of country and he had a rough week at work. I suggested a trip to Chetumal on Saturday and he thought it was a great idea. By Friday, however, he had to back out due to work-related issues. So, on Friday afternoon, I headed to Pasquale's for a beer or two with friends. The few beers turned into many beers (with very little food). Several of the girls there were planning an overnight girl's trip to Chetumal on Saturday to celebrate someone's birthday. Bryan, one of the girls' boyfriend asked me if I wanted to crash the girls night with him. Given the few beers I'd had, I readily agreed.
Despite the fact that the best laid plans while drunk rarely come to fruition in the sober light of day, I picked up Bryan and Janet the next morning at 9 am. We made great time to Mexico with almost no border traffic and ate lunch at our hotel. After lunch, we headed to the mall to see Unknown. The movie was okay, but nothing special. The ending was a bit too cute, but considering there are no theaters in Belize and the movie costs $4, it was worthwhile.
The big new addition in Chetumal is the Wal-Mart. Now, you may ask yourself the question if you would really drive three hours to go to a Wal-Mart. For me, the answer was a resounding "yes." I bought some DVDs (first three seasons of 24, first season of Prison Break and a few other items you can't find in Belize. It is amazing how strange it feels to be in such an American store. I feel like I am on sensory-overload. I see things that I've forgotten I miss.
For dinner, we went to this Tex-Mex place where all the waiters were dressed up as cowboys. Bryan, Janet and I got there 'early' around 930 pm - the rest of the group came about an hour later. The place was packed and featured this really cute woman singing songs in Spanish. The food was delicious - we had 'queso
fondito fundido' as an appetizer. It is melted manchego cheese served piping hot with some flour tortillas. For the main course, I had arrachera (steak) tacos which were spectacular and quite filling.
After the cute singer left the stage, they brought on another group. We were pretty certain that the woman singing was actually a man. They sang happy birthday to the birthday girl and all the waiters came and danced around her in a circle. This place is fairly well known for this as there were probably about a half dozen birthdays or anniversaries being celebrated that night. We left there around midnight, but the restaurant was still busy and a family with two little kids had just arrived for dinner. Given that everything in Belmopan closes by 9, it was another slight shock to my senses.
The bar area in Chetumal is located along the sea and was packed with young Mexicans celebrating a Saturday night. We squeezed our way into a packed bar that featured four liter taps on the tables. While we were there, the birthday girl decided she wanted to go to a strip club. She convinced the rest of the girls in our group to go and Bryan and I were not going to say no.
I am not a huge fan of strip clubs and I have only been to 3 or 4 clubs in the past. My total experience consisted of Glitter Gulch in Vegas, a club in central Missouri, the Hustler club in East St. Louis, and the Crystal City Restaurant in Arlington. Each of these was completely different in the lay out of the club, the type of clientele, and the attractiveness of the women. So, I shouldn't have had any expectations, but given the number of Americans who regularly go to Tijuana to see naked women, I was expecting more than what we got at this club. (Note - I was not expecting nor did I want to see a donkey show or anything more than naked girls).
The only real upside to the club was that we didn't have to pay a cover and the beer was cheap (around $2 a beer). The club featured a stage in the middle and tables around the stage and along the walls. We got a table along the walls and began to look around. The lighting was horrible - very dark with laser effects and an occasional strobe light. Not even the stage was well lit. When we got in there, there was no dancer on the stage and we were there close to 15 minutes before a dancer came out. She was mildly attractive, but we had seen much prettier girls at the bar earlier in the night. She danced around fully clothed for two or three songs, then during her last song she danced around topless for less than a minute. Then she left the stage. That was it.
There were several other dancers around the room dressed in bikinis and offering lap dances to drunk Mexicans. But there still wasn't much, if any, nudity. About ten minutes after the first dancer left, another dancer came out. She was not attractive at all and not very good at the dancing part either. When it became clear after the first song that she would follow the same pattern as the first dancer, we decided to leave. We had spent forty minutes in a strip club and had seen one topless girl for all of thirty seconds or so. A complete disappointment. (Oddly, I think the girls were more disappointed than Bryan or me. Most of them had never been to a strip club before and were clearly expecting something different).
After we left the club around 230, we went back to our hotel to sleep. This morning, we got up and went shopping at Sam's Club and the large grocery store. I stocked up on steak, pork chops, Italian sausage, and good cheese (all things sorely lacking in Belize). We drove back to Belmopan and I spent the rest of the day relaxing and talking to my parents (yes, I told them I went to a Mexican strip club).