Posted by guest March 5, 2010 07:45 AM
A must-sip stop in the world of airport bars has to be Jet’s Bar in Belize City Airport, run by the diminutive, Beetlejuice-voiced Jet, a tiny Belizean with a towering personality – particularly in regards to women.
It is a hole-in-the-wall kinda place, with a few stools at the short bar, tacky decorations all around, a wall of police patches from the world over and an abundance of photos of Jet and women. The airport is typical Central American, tiny, requisite stores selling tourist kitsch, hot, cramped and making for thirsty waits.
Enter Jet, who’ll roam the crowd, croaking “Who wants the best rum punch in Belize?” until he finds a taker, and for five bucks you get the best rum punch in Belize. Well, Belize City Airport anyway. I’m pretty sure it’s the only bar in the building.
And he’ll haunt you to buy a hot dog (“Best hot dog in Belize”) or a ham-and-cheese sandwich (ditto) until you break down. I did and son of a gun, the ham-and-cheese wasn’t bad, so for less than a sawbuck, I got food, drink and a few minutes with the seeming mayor of Belize City Airport. This is the guy who can call your gate so the agent will call back and let you know when your plane’s boarding, in case you want to stick around Jet’s a little longer and suck down more rum punches and soak up Jet’s infectious personality.
“Here, says it all here,” he growled to me when I asked how he got the name Jet, plopping a framed news story in my hands.
Turns out Jet (I don’t know his real name and don’t want to, the nickname’s cool enough for me) was an airport worker for years with a reputation for moving fast on the job, hence the name. And seeing his slick schmooze with any woman he meets – whether they buy the best rum punch in Belize or not – he’s still living up to the name.
Posted by Paul E. Kandarian, Globe correspondent
Photo of Jet and the author by Paul E. Kandarian for The Boston Globe