Before I jump in and tell you the comical details of the actual trip, I need to make something clear. Belize is a beautiful country with some wonderful people.
My sarcasm and extremely rare exaggerations might make you think otherwise, but you shouldn’t.
The single most amazing thing I found there was a virtual absence of hostility. The regular foolishness that practically defines us as Americans just wasn’t there. Road rage, shouting, arrogance, self-righteousness, entitlement… All that stuff that declares that we think of ourselves as better than others… didn’t see it.
These were kind people with a generally strong sense of community. Some more than others, but overall it was a much more welcoming atmosphere than most places I have been.
So, on this third entry, we finally get into some of the trip details.
After the jump through Orlando and Miami, we found ourselves flying over Cuba and onward to the coastline of Belize and the small islands around it. From the air, the water fit every description of paradise.
Then we found ourselves landing at the Philip Goldson airport outside Belize City. Almost every tour book and blog seems to agree on the next part.
There were plenty of taxis waiting outside. A guy at a podium asked where we were going and pointed to one of the drivers. We loaded up, and before he moved the car, I asked if it was still $25 to the Belize City bus station. He said it was and we took off.
Literally. Took off.
The next lesson, after knowing to establish the price before you are on the road, is that Belizeans tend to drive like they being chased by the cops.
This driver was obviously an expert at Grand Theft Auto or some similar game of horrific skills. He had a casual conversation with us about the area and his family… While weaving through traffic and upgrading our prayer life. Nice guy.
From what I have read, most of the crime statistics we hear about Belize tend to come from Belize City. Understandable once you reach the bus station. The city comes across as dirty and depressing. I know that all cities have their nice areas and their less desirable areas. We just didn’t see anything nice there on this trip.
The decision to head to Dangriga doesn’t sound logical, no matter how I say it. Jump buses south to run the same route north later. I don’t normally backtrack, but the plan had two defining issues. Flights were cheaper this way and we decided to end the run at a resort in Cancun.
You know, to shower and sleep for a few days. That might have been our best decision on the entire trip. You will understand why as we move forward.
Buses are cheap. It cost me ten bucks to get us both through Belmopan and into Dangriga. ($20bz dollars. It’s always 2bz to 1us dollar.) They also run on pretty tight schedules, too. If it says there will a bus at 10am, it’s usually pretty close. Unlike many other things in the country.
The ride to Dangriga on Ritchie’s Express bus was completely uneventful.
Well, except for the guy who hit us up for cash, the stuck windows that restricted air movement in the non-air-conditioned can we wedged into, the seats designed for kids half my size, the random music pumping through the bus and the way our driver chose to race another bus the entire second leg of the trip and scared the life out of us a dozen times.
Other than that, completely uneventful.
Sometime, about three hours later, we pulled into Dangriga.
M. Erik Matlock is a self-professed recovering knucklehead with more than 500 articles and four books in print. He shares his hard-earned wisdom at ErikMatlock.com, ProSoundWeb.com and through his books, which are available at Amazon.