We pick up the story from the border of Guatemala and Belize. It only took just over 2 hours to get here from Flores, the main jumping off point for visiting the Mayan ruins of Tikal, and a sweet little island town in its’ own right.
Our bus driver has just finished his breakfast and 20 minute catch up with his buddies on the Guatemala side of the border, while we languish in the heat on the Belize side feeling sorry for a poor blind and starving puppy. With a heavy heart for our poor canine friend, we’re soon on our way towards Belize City.
I’m happy my Belgian (and only) bus companion is fluent in Spanish, as our bus driver had killed the air con in the hopes of selling us icy poles later to quench the heat. This is my assumption of course, not necessarily the truth. Tall stories aside, the day is beautiful today, and it’s nice to finally see the sun making a solid performance in Belize. The first week of the trip in Caye Caulker was plagued on and off by wind and rain, keeping the glorious Central American sunshine at bay.
In Flores I had slipped the driver $25 USD for my San Pedro express water taxi voucher, which I was yet to see. Maybe I’d get it if I bought the icy pole? We arrived in Belize City at the water taxi terminal a little bit after 10 am, my travel voucher fortuitously materialized, and I boarded the 10:30 am departure for the hour long journey back to Caye Caulker, where the story began.
My heart was full when the sunshine extended all the way out to the Cayes. As soon as I got off the water taxi, I knew I had made the right choice to spend my last night in Central America out here soaking up the sunshine. I was debating whether to stay in Belize City, but it was actually cheaper to leave and get a taste of the island life again. It was a welcome change to see people shirtless and in swimmers, rather than raincoats and sour looks, as they walked around the sandy streets.
I tried for a different hostel this time, something close to the centre of the action. Last time I had stayed in Travellers Palm Backpackers, which was at the southern end of town, and a 5-10 minute walk to get close to anything. It was a good hostel, but there was no atmosphere (or even guests), so I tried a walk in reservation at Bellas Backpackers. It was no small coincidence this was my choice, with Jenny’s Food Truck being right outside…
Luna the gatekeeper didn’t seem to have a problem with me staying, so in no time I had dumped my bags on my bed, lost my shirt, and hit the town for some street food and sunshine.
First stop was the Split, up at the end of the road, where the Lazy Lizard bar keeps everyone’s thirst at bay. It’s been a couple of weeks of drinking everyday, so I’ll make a point of not having anything just yet, only sun and digestion are on the menu for now. It is absolutely glorious today, and it’s a good chance to just relax in the sun, go for a swim, and get some serious people watching time in. It’s about 12:30 pm and everyone is making merry over buckets of cold Belikins, the local Belizean beer.
As I’ve only had a few solid days in the sun since leaving Canada, and losing my sunscreen somewhere along the way, an hour of rotating my front and back in the sun was all I was going to risk for now, lest I catch fire in public and embarrass myself.
I ended up giving in to idle hands eventually, and cracked open a couple of Belkins for myself, and proceeded to wander the streets, seeing what was on offer. This translated in to being invited into a locals “shop” to drink beer, talk about life while they drank what passed for gasoline, and hang out with a dog and duck that were best friends.
Now was when I really got some sun. About 4 beers and a rum coconut later, sun stroke was starting to set in, and the gasoline was beginning to go the locals heads. Under the premise of something I can’t remember, I extricated myself from the lawn chair, and their company, to wander off and gather my thoughts. In an effort to stave off a creeping hunger, I stopped and got a huge plate of chicken chow mein for a paltry $9 BZD ($4.50 USD). I say paltry, as food prices start at around this mark on the island for most meals, and this meal was HUGE. Since I’m not an Instagram foodie, I just ate my food without taking photos (like everyone should), but I can vouch that it was worth every penny.
Back to the locals, I think it’s important to take the time to interact with them, and not just be a shithead tourist, walking by ignoring everyone and everything just because they might want to sell you something. Sure, they probably do want to make a sale, but at the very least acknowledge that they are talking to you, and sit down with them if they offer you an invitation. It’s so easy to put your music on or ignore all around you. I’m glad I was on the verge of catching fire in the sun, sharing banter with a couple of salty locals. Saying that, I was not in the mood to return to their shack as promised, as I was more than happy with my own company to end my trip. Time to wander around anonymously once more.
I was probably about 7 beers deep by this stage and just feeling content with the day. It was a long but comfortable morning travelling from Guatemala, and the sunshine and ocean were doing it’s thing. I went back up to the Split and got to eyeing off the diving board. I hadn’t jumped off it yet, and it was something I wanted to do before I left. Not that it was high or challenging, I just wanted to do it. Like checking off an item on the list. So not to let 7 beers get in the way, I teetered on the edge, back flipped off, and miraculously landed on my ass. No back slap, no worries.
So that’s it for the day. Time to eat a special brownie and drift off to sleep. It’s fly day tomorrow and time for some well earned rest.
Thanks for stopping by again for this journal on a short trip through Belize and Guatemala. Follow the links below to catch up if you’re just joining us. Would love to hear your thoughts below on Caye Caulker and anywhere else mentioned in the travel journal.
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Happy travelling everyone.