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Jul 20, 2004

Segway scooter debuts at resort

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You may have seen this strange machine on television but if you?re fortunate enough to visit an exclusive island near San Pedro you can actually see it for real…and maybe even get to ride it, like I did.

Janelle Chanona, Reporting

Designed to look and feel like an isolated paradise, Cayo Espanto is Belize?s most exclusive island resort.

The name translates to mean ?Phantom Caye?, but the only ghosts around are the army of attendants that meet their guests every whim and fancyand now they?re on wheels.

Developed at a cost of over a one hundred million US dollars and the recipient of numerous engineering awards, the segway is the latest in human transportation. Battery powered and weighing in at eighty-three pounds, the segway can reach top speeds of twelve and a half miles an hour. But speed is not what makes this vehicle unique as the staff and guests of Cayo Espanto have been discovering over the last six months.

Rosita Strumberg, Resident Manager

?It?s fun; it?s a little tingling I would say. It made me nervous.?

According to Cayo Espanto?s resident managers, the segway blends in perfectly with the island?s motif.

Rosita Strumberg

?Our resort is especially for honeymooners, anniversaries; I would say, it is a very romantic place. But at the same time, our guests would like to have some fun. So, the segway I think is one of the best things and the guests love it.?

Ralph Strumberg, Resident Manager, Cayo Espanto

?It was a trial to see how it works on the island, to see how it works in the sand, and it actually works very well. So there are future plans to bring more on the island, probably two or three more so maybe for each villa there?s one available and also for the service as well.?

And the staff has taken to the segway like, well, a pelican to a coconut tree.

David Briceño

?It?s just like the first time you ride it, the hardest part, you go trembling a lot, but once you get the balance of it, it?s okay.?

Janelle Chanona

?And the most fun part??

David Briceño

?Riding fast. Once you get used to it, the fun part is riding fast.?

Ralph Strumberg

?It?s very safe. People say actually you just think of what you want to do and the machine does it. You think of going backwards and the machine goes backwards, you think of going forwards, you think of stopping, it stops. It only will take you a couple seconds one time up, one time down and it will work.?

And of course, cameraman Brent Toombs and I had to make sure the segway was as much fun as it looked. With a couple extra tips from butler David Briceño, like remembering to turn right and left with only one hand, and standing up straight to stop, and some deep breaths, News 5 went cruising.

Okay, okay, so it wasn?t exactly smooth sailing, but at least we survived. Segways cost approximately four thousand five hundred US dollars, but benefits include being able to turn on a dime, taking up no more space than an average person and of course, the sensation of walking but without the effort.

With its high price tag, it?s really unlikely we?re going to start seeing segways on the streets of Belize City any time soon but you know what? Like a pina colada on a hot day, the future looks pretty cool.

And in case you?re wondering, Cayo Espanto?s rates range between nine hundred and sixteen hundred dollars a night, and yes, those prices are in US.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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