Bus from Flores Guatemala to Belize & Chetumal, Mexico
16 countries in 16 months !!!! Now that is an achievement.
Our shuttle arrives on time for once, We are first on, and had booked from seats. We collected people along the way at el Remata and it was no surprise when the couple from Czek Republic hopped on the bus. Our neighbours from Lanquin, and the ones who had shared our last mini-van. But to our surprise the little man with the scar face suddenly appeared on the shuttle! My son shoots him a “hairy eyeball” and says “morning Señor Happy”. I smirk and he promptly pops off the shuttle – gone!
The ride is long. The rain starts and the grey day continues.
We arrive at the border to Belize.
I pay to use a baño at a nearby store. I pay for a boy to help me with the big bag, and to watch the bags as we line up for the frontier. He helps drag it to the bag inspection section, where my fruit is taken, but not before we eat all we can. I ask if I can give it to the boy, but the immigration say no.
We are now in Belize.
We are speaking English.
There are English signs.
There are more churches and missions than I have seen in a long time along the main road.
The shuttle passes Roaring River, near Roaring Creek where I had been 30 years ago helping to build a mission base.
We pass a school. A school I am sure we all slept in all those years ago and memories flood back.
It is raining. Belize is pretty well flooded. In fact most of it looks like a swamp. There has been so much rain there are partly submerged houses and businesses, and it is a mess.
I have no desire to stop.
We drop people in Belize City.
I am amazed how small it is.
We try to grab lunch, but the only thing I can find is an Indian lady with little English and no Spanish who sells me the wrong thing for my son. I am so over wasting money and it is not cheap, compared to what I am used to in Central America. Belize is now an expensive country. A lot of ex-pats have moved down there, mainly as they speak English I think. They have bought up cheap land, and built mansions. So we move on.
3 hours later we hit the Mexican border.
We pay $15 each to leave Belize, and then go through two security sections. I think we are in Mexico, but no. We are driven to another area and told to take our bags and go through immigration. The area from the bus is quite a distance to drag the bags too, and there is no boy to help.
There is a long line up. Over 1 hour. I am filling out forms as I wait. I am surprised there is no sign to tell me I also have to pay $25 each to enter Mexico, as we are staying more than 7 days. Today is getting expensive.
We finish here. Whew. Noooooo. Now we have to drag the bags to another office. Customs awaits, and the bags go on a conveyer belt. All OK. It is getting late – 6 p.m. and I am hungry, tired and worn out dragging these bags.
But the scary bit now starts. There is a button. You hit the button and it randomly goes red, or green. I pray. Seriously. I pray. Do not want a red light. A red light means the go through everything. They pull all your bags apart. I am the last person and it would take forever! I press and close my eyes. GREEN!!!!!!!!
I get on the shuttle and do a loud “Whoo-hoo”.
Next thing I know three others on the shuttle want to join us going to our hostel. Now I WAS going to treat us to a nice hotel and had one written down. Now I couldn’t. So we joined forces, and taxis. Some girl seemed to take over. She takes my paper with the addresses. She is haggling taxis and kind of ordering me around. She doesn’t like the taxi deal and has us wandering up the street. I say we are going back, and they follow. I want my paper back. We drive off in 2 taxis.
We arrive at one of the only 2 hostels in Chetumal. La Posada Chetumal BnB. I race in hoping they are not going to get rooms before us. We nab the only double room left, but we are staying 3 nights. I feel sorry for the Czek couple. They had a hard time at the border, but they decide on a dorm room so that is OK. It is over $30 US a night. It is in a dead part of town with few restaurants, but it does include breakfast. We had a great time staying there in the end, and if you go to Chetumal there is hostel opposite the bus terminal we discovered in the daylight, but no idea if it is as good as this one.
We head down the main street and find a pizza place and a supermarket. Perfect.
Night all – this was a very, very long day!