This trip in the early hours didn’t get off to the best start as there was some altercation between the minibus people and two Swede guys whose tickets were for a different company but the minibus conductor had taken their tickets which they were trying to get on the bus to retrieve. I think this was misinterpreted by the driver as trying to get a free ride and he sped off leaving them on the pavement cursing as their cases were ran over in the process. Hopefully they managed to sort out their problems later but it wasn’t a very nice moment to witness and it left all of us on the bus in a state of shock.
When I boarded the bus I had no idea where I was going to go once in Belize but seeing as almost everyone else was off to an island called Caye Caulker I thought I might as well do the same. This backpacker favourite island is no doubt very different to the real Belize and I felt mildly embarrassed about going there as I took the 45 minute ferry over for a couple of days of beach life. I managed to find ‘Daisy’s Hotel’ on arrival and got the last room in one of the islands cheapest places. I had to wait an hour to check in properly so headed off to Marin’s Restaurant round the corner and splashed out on one of the islands specialities; lobster, presented in the form of curried rice as seen below right.
I later wandered 1km (about half the length of the island) up to The Split which has a tiny beach (a bit of sandy gravel!) next to a swimming area besides the beachside bar which was pumping out non-stop reggae beats. I sunbathed, took a dip and basically enjoyed the laid-back feel-good vibe of the place.
After a lovely sunset with a Swedish couple I met up with a Canadian couple to have dinner and then I had a drink with a Dutch couple (who I met for breakfast by chance the following morning too) before breaking away from all these pairings to go to ‘I&I Bar’ for a rare night out on the p*ss with some American guy I met on the street on the way there.
The following day I booked on to a full days snorkelling tour rather than the half day one. Both were kind of misleading as the full one was a little under four hours so who knows how long the half one is! Short maybe but the six of us on the tour were still all fairly satisfied as we got to see and even swim with sharks, rays and turtles at three different spots. Little did I know that this area is actually the worlds second largest reef and inevitably I ended up burning my back quite badly.
I took the 6.30am boat back to Belize City and was gonna hunt out some movie locations from ‘The Dogs Of War‘ (1980) and ‘The Mosquito Coast‘ (1986) but on exiting the Marine Terminal I decided that it was too dangerous a place to bother risking life and limb just for a few minor filming spots. Time was also ticking so I just got in a taxi and went to the national bus station where a bus to the southern point of the country was imminent. With there not being another one till the afternoon it was, for once, a wise decision to have decided against the film location shots. Feeling the whole trip had been pretty standard (travel-wise) up to this point it felt good to be moving on one of the cheap, local chicken buses which are full of characters and incidents. I’m used to vendors coming on board to sell certain objects and food but this journey was the first time I’ve ever seen a guy get on a bus selling slices of his hot boxed pizza!