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J-Crew Breaks Out in Belize

“Last night I dreamt of San Pedro … la isla bonita ..” Mel and Ashley are the only Jers who can actually remember the words to Madonna’s tribute to our spring break destination, but that didn’t stop the rest of us from making up our own words. San Pedro first struck us as adorable with a mini airport, golf carts driven on sandy roads, colorful shops and blue skies. We flew in by puddle jumper and went out by boat. We thought it charming that to take your golf cart from the main town to the resorts requires a guy with a rope pulls you across a river on a steel raft. Ironically, we thought we were being creative by adding Belize to our itinerary largely because it is so close to Guatemala. Aside from the two other sections that went there, however, it turns out that Belize was Spring Break MBA Destination 2002 with at least three other schools represented. That being said, we were fairly isolated at Captain Morgan’s Retreat. We were just a “quick” water taxi ride away from San Pedro. Although this was the setting for Temptation Island, the resort wasn’t quite all it seemed through the lens. It was picturesque, however, with thatched huts on the inch deep beach with sea grass. But, where were the twenty singles? There were a couple of undergrads who stopped in briefly to check out our resort, but even they had an HBS connection. As we speak, Waldo is probably signing up for entrepreneurial marketing for Fall 2002.

Belize has a lot to offer the water and beach enthusiasts. We went diving and snorkeling and bike riding. We swam with sharks and rays – as Josephine Atluri described, we “loved the sharks a little.” “But there are sharks down there, am I supposed to just jump in?” Josephine even did yoga on the beach, not that all the guys on the trip noticed. We also got caught up on some light reading, except of course for Alex who became the famous bearer of the finance book. Vidal also became known as “friend of the mosquitos.” Did you ever notice that the bugs fly into your food but not his? Mel Gerling used the time to do some research on island development, so if you are ever interested in the economics of dredging sand for beaches, she’s your girl. Just make sure there are no dog parks near those beaches. Pam Smith used the vacation to catch up on her card game skills, so beware if she challenges you to a “friendly” game of Spades. Louise Hulme fell into Pam’s other trap – the “it’s okay to sit out in the morning” trap. For future reference, the Belizean sun is probably too strong for English lasses, even in the morning. I, myself, fell into the “our plane leaves in 20 minutes so it’s okay to be in direct sun without sunblock” trap. At least I shot the moon by accident. Beginner’s luck, really.

We learned early on that if you want to eat in San Pedro, you need to hop the water taxi during the mosquito hours (5 – 7 p.m. for the uninitiated). Good thing we had that 95% deet, Dr. Mom (otherwise known as Julie Bell)! The food was worth the effort, however, I’m not sure everyone agrees as some people came back to the U.S. with what mom calls tummy aches. Probably those ice cubes. Aside from eating, we found that San Pedro was prepared to welcome spring breakers personally. Joe, our water taxi driver, turned our evening water taxi ride into the ClubMTV boat. Good thing we were only in six feet of water.

Rob, known affectionately by his section mates as Jazzy, took charge at the helm. Even Ada was up and dancing in no time! A great time was had by all, but there are still a few remaining questions – is Irina ever shy? Where on earth did Joe get his dance moves? Why does little Albert wear his cap sideways? What planet was that one man band from? Why did Fabio find Andre so irresistible at Fido’s? And who was it that broke the table? And how much money did you win, Raj? If Jimmy Buffett’s yacht is here, is he here also? Is Tang really the secret ingredient in the rum punch? And is it really Beliken beer and not “Pelican” beer? Try saying Belizean ten times without accidentally saying Brazilian. And best of all, what is Abby, our honorary J going to say about us to her section?

April 8, 2002
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