Traveling to Belize

After 30 hours of traveling, we made it!!  Hello, Belize! What an adventure so far. We asked for it, and we got it. Sunday night I said goodbye to Kylie. It was so hard trying to keep it together, putting her to bed at her dad’s, and I cried all the way home.

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We got back to the house around 11 and finished getting everything together – including ourselves!  And believe me, getting ourselves together and ready was the biggest part.  We finally got to bed around 12, but neither of us fell asleep until around 1. We woke up at 4, and after more tearful goodbyes, we were at the airport. Luckily, we flew through the check in process, checking our bags, and the dreaded TSA searches. We were able to change our seats so that we could sit together.  Phew….no having to be squished between two strangers all the way to Texas.  We boarded the plane at 7 am.  I took the center seat next to a large man who had the window, and Justin sat on the aisle. A couple minutes after getting settled, the man next to me started snoring. As if that weren’t bad enough, he coughed my way every single time he woke up, which was more frequently than i would have liked. There were children and babies, and they were perfectly quiet the whole flight.  What are the chances that I would be seated next to the only cougher/snorer on the plane?!

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We landed in Dallas, Texas and had a short layover where we scarfed McDonalds down quickly. Ugh. We weren’t fortunate enough to get seats together, but the nice airline lady moved our seats so that Justin could have the exit row (more leg room…phew!) and I could be behind him.  There was a man and wife across from Justin and they offered both of us their beef jerky. That was a first. I’ve never had anyone offer me a snack before unless, of course, they worked for the airline. There was a woman in front of Justin and as we were descending into Cancun, the airline attendant spilled a cup of…..wait for it……wait for it……. Chewing tobacco juice and remnants all over her!! And, no, it wasn’t hers.  It was the spit cup from the man across the aisle.  So gross. We went through immigration really quickly and then went to customs where we had to explain that we were not staying in Mexico; we were taking the bus to Belize.  Our passports got stamped with “Mexico” stamps and we went to find the ADO bus desk. As we exited customs, we saw a sign that said “Bienvenidos a Cancun.”  We both pulled out our cameras and took pictures, and were immediately reprimanded. We actually had to delete the photos from our cameras in front of immigration employees, so no Bienvenidos a Cancun for us. We got to the ADO desk and through broken Spanish / English managed to get tickets from Cancun to Corozal.  The tickets were twice the price we thought from our online research, and they were completely in Spanish.  We had no idea what they said.  We had 4 tickets instead of 2, and two of them were marked with the time “17:05” although the bus to Corozal departed at 10:15pm. We were totally confused as it was 4:30pm, and we had no clue where we were going. We must have looked like dumb American tourists (which, let’s be honest, we are) because a really nice man asked if we needed hep.  After looking at our tickets, he told us our bus left at 5:05pm and we needed to wait. It would take us to downtown Cancun where we could catch our 10:15pm bus to Corozal.  I’m so glad he asked us if we needed help because without it, we would have missed our bus!  The bus was really nice….air conditioned and playing “Hotel Transylvania” en Espanol.

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We arrived at the ADO terminal in downtown Cancun and ate at a little place across the way that had really really good chicken. We sat in the hot and humid terminal (taking the seats by the giant fan) and played cards and waited for the bus. There were a couple of shops there, so we bought our regular souvenirs. (Whenever we travel anywhere Justin buys the ugliest keychain he can, and I buy the ugliest magnet).  This time, I picked out his keychain and he picked out my magnet. We did a pretty good job; they’re both pretty ugly. Lol.  The bus came after a few hours and we got our seats at the back of the bus. I thought we had scored because it was the back, quiet, and we could sleep. Wrong. We were next to the bathroom.  For the next 7 hours, we woke up every time someone needed to use it. Justin became the bathroom “liaison” telling everyone who fumbled with the door (and that was EVERYONE), that they had to pull hard or that it was occupied.  We stopped at the Mexican border and had to pay a $25 used exit fee each. Who knew we would have to pay to leave a country? A few minutes later, we were at the immigration office in Belize and were sent right through after they sort of checked our luggage for goods to declare. As we loaded our luggage back onto the bus to go to Corozal, a man came up to us and asked us where we were going. We told him Ambergris Caye, and he told us we had to take a taxi to the water taxi and that would get us there.  We thanked him although, we already knew that much. He then asked us for a tip. We told him we didn’t have any cash, and he chased us to the bus door asking for pesos. After saying sorry, we got back in our seats.

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The bus dropped us off at a transportation terminal in downtown Corozal.  It was 430 in the morning and pitch black.  There was a woman street vendor selling drinks at the corner and a few people waiting for buses. A man came up to us asking if we needed a taxi. We said yes, and he grabbed my bag.  He started walking down the street, and we noticed there were only two cars and both were occupied. Just where was this taxi he was supposedly taking us to?  The woman vendor called out to me, “Miss! Miss!”  We stopped walking after the guy, and Justin took my bag from him and told him to wait. I went to the vendor and she asked if we were going to the water taxi.  I said yes and she told us to wait at the station where it was light.   She said the guy was a drug addict, taking us down a dark street, he had no car, and we would be safer just waiting until a taxi came.  Eek! We almost got mugged our first minute in Corozal.  We went inside the bright terminal and asked how we could get a taxi.  The “terminal manager” told us we should just wait until 6:30am and walk the 5 blocks down to the pier. We waited. The woman vendor came in and told us that it would be better to walk instead of take a taxi too.  She just warned us to wait until it was light out. We did.

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At 6:00am, we walked the very very short way down to the water taxi.  We paid $50 usd total to go to San Pedro.  As we were waiting to depart, we saw all kinds of people from a man selling freshly baked meat pies out of a cooler to people fishing to a man riding his bike holding a machete. You know, every day life. Haha.  We got onto the water taxi a little before 7am, and this little boat fit tons of people and all of our luggage/goods.  It was like being stuffed in a clown car.  I have no idea how such a small boat could hold so many/much.

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About 30 minutes or so into the boat ride, we stopped. I started to get off, but I was told we were in Sarteneja.  Oops!  We actually had another hour and a half to go.  It’s funny how far off our perception of distance was. We thought we were going to be a hop skip and a jump away from the mainland. We could not only see it, but it’s over an hour away by boat!  When we got to San Pedro, it was really exciting. We had finally arrived at our home for the next 6-12 months. As we got off, we saw that there were a few taxis waiting.  We asked one driver if he could take us to our condo. He said sure, but that he had to drop off a family to school and home first.  We ended up sharing the taxi with them.

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After dropping them off, Francisco – our driver, took us to our condo. We were lucky because we arrived a day early and they allowed us to move in. Woohoo!  We got in and took a look around. We had a view of the lagoon and villas from our front door and a view of the Caribbean from our giant back veranda. The condo was great. The fans were on and the breeze was really nice. We went to the pool/bar/restaurant area so we could access the wifi and let everyone know we got in safely, especially since we hadn’t had wifi since we landed in Cancun. We split a small fajita dish at the restaurant to tide us over until dinner. Wow, was it good. If food here is like this……we are in heaven. After, we decided to take a walk over the bridge and into town.  I was sweating two minutes into the walk. Not like glistening, sexy sweat; it was like I just worked out for hours on end, pouring down my face and into my eyes sweat.  I don’t know where the breeze went….it was hot!  We explored quite a bit, going into every grocery store and pricing out water and food.  We picked up some essentials, but it was really hot walking and trying to carry stuff. We discovered there is a bakery right down the road from us that opens at 7am every day. Yes, I asked what time they open. You should have smelled this place! Bread and postres galore.  We went in and were handed a tray to select whatever goods we wanted. There was a big garlic loaf that smelled delicious, but I didn’t get it.  What a mistake, and one I will definitely rectify. We got 4 different pastries and a mini lemon merengue.

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We were also hunting for bicycles, since we knew walking all over would be hard and the cost of renting a golf cart is the same as our rent!!! We found a bicycle rental place that was willing to sell us two bikes. The other places we found bikes (hardware stores! Surprisingly, there are a ton of hardware stores here.) were selling for $275-$300 BZD each. The place we bought from was $310 BZD for both. Yea!  While we were there, we talked to a Creole guy who lives here and was telling us a lot about the island.  He said life on the island is “jiggy.” He had a very cool accent, and Justin has decided he wants one! Lol.   People here are very friendly; everyone says hello or asks if all is well as they pass by. After riding our newly purchased bikes home, we relaxed.  We were both exhausted from all of the traveling and adventure, so we started to get sleepy.  We decided we needed to eat before we passed out, so we tried to go to a place across the way that had free wifi only to be told they are closed until next week.  We were sent down the road to a place called Feliz. Holy moly.  The food was ridiculous.  Ri-dic-u-lous.  I mean, I got a cheeseburger with chip fries and Justin got a cheeseburger with fried pickles. Nothing special, right?  Wrong. It was amazingly delicious. So good that we ordered even more food. Justin got a lobster stuffed pretzel. I got a pepperoni pizza stuffed pretzel.  Now, these aren’t your average pretzels.  They were like big round soft pretzel pockets stuffed with filling. We talked with the owner and his wife, and it turns out they had a story semi similar to ours.  They had planned a vacation to Belize from Missouri a year ago, and decided right before they came that they would sell all their belongings and move here.  They have no plans to go back. We walked our stuffed selves back to our house (omg….”our house!”) and pretty much passed out. It was 7 at night. I have to say, the bed has some sort of memory foam on it and it was so comfortable.  I slept like a rock.  I woke up at 8am the next morning (today). So, that was our long two travel days and first day in Belize. We are still figuring a lot out and we have a lot to see and learn, but we are here and really doing it!

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We ate our pastries from the bakery this morning….all 4 of them. So yummy. Justin doesn’t really like sweets for breakfast, but he really enjoyed his treats.  The first thing we did today was go to the pool to get wifi and see if we could contact our families. We did some computer stuff by the pool with a view of the lagoon….tough life. Haha.  We decided to take a long bike ride today to explore the island and get past where we were able to go by foot yesterday. We passed all kinds of places from scuba shops and resorts to fruit stands to little food places selling garnaches and pupusas. At a little fruit stand, a man came over and warned us not to go to El Salvador or Honduras as it is very dangerous and they may shoot us. We thanked him for the info and continued biking almost to the end of the island and then headed back.  Because we have no internet in our place, we stopped into the two companies here, BTL and CCV.  We cant get BTL because of where we live, but CCV may work.  We had to schedule an inspection.  We saw a place to buy fresh meat, which is rare here.  I actually have yet to see it, if I ever will.  But anyway, we stopped at this place to buy fresh meat and thought it was upstairs. We almost walked into some lady’s house. Whoops. The meat place was downstairs, but it looked closed. We asked the woman in the shop next door if it was open and she told us it closed 5 months ago.  Hmmmm….I think we may have to give up fresh meat.  Luckily, all of the markets here have frozen meat, well semi frozen.  Riding our bikes back toward our place, we found a small restaurant that had a menu of jerk chicken, jerk beef, garnaches, tostadas, flautas, etc served with rice and beans (a Belizean staple….it’s mixed together), cole slaw, and plantains. We walked in, and it was like a studio house. There was a front area with a refrigerator and a small table that seated three, and the attached room was the kitchen. We sat at the table. The man told us that he only had jerk chicken because he was out of everything else. The woman in the kitchen grabbed things from the refrigerator and cooked our meals in the back.  As we were waiting for our food, we saw our Creole friend from the day before and he told us the food at this place was excellent. The food came out shortly after, and it was incredibly yummy.  We got a whole piece of chicken smothered in jerk sauce with sautéed onions and bell peppers, cole slaw, a mound of rice and beans that had a sweet coconut flavor to them, and a plantain. We both licked our plates clean. For both meals and two bottles waters, our meal came to $11.00 USD. We biked the short way home and decided to go for a swim in the pool. We spent some time there and figured we better figure out what to make for dinner before it got too dark. We walked to the market across the way and got some food and then relaxed in front of the tv.  The windows open, the fans blowing, and living on the beach. Life could be a lot worse.
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2 responses to “Traveling to Belize

  1. … love it … stoked for you … great storytelling … I made a similar 12 month commitment during 2006 in Palau … one of the best decisions and experiences I have made … looking forward to your next entry …

  2. Pingback: Going to See “The Fish Guy” – In San Pedro, Belize! | Mmm, Taste This!·

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