Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sweet Belize

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August 1-6 are the Salvadoran fiestas called Agostinas. Basically, it is national vacation week. There are carnivals here, or those that can and want to travel. I took advantage to go to Belize and renew my visa.

I left last Thursday, and took a four hour Ticabus from San Salvador to Guatamala City. I met Alicia in Guatamala City and we stayed the night with nuns, then got an early start Friday morning (6:30 am). We caught a "first class" bus from Guate to Puerto Barrios (5 hours), then a boat to Punta Gorda, Belize, two hours on a public bus to Independence, then finally a ten minute water taxi to Placencia, our final destination (6:30 pm). We then spent the next few days, moving as little as possible from the beach. Recent storms in Mexico had washed trash (both natural and man-made) into the ocean and then the tides carried the trash onto Belizian beaches. However, neither the trash nor the sand fleas dissuaded us from staying an extra day. I really believe that I am a much better person when I am in regular contact with the ocean.

We laid on the beach, we scavenged for food and pantyrippers. We found that straying from the beach or the Purple Space Monkey, caused the Gods to punish us with excruciatingly long waits and discomfort. So we learned quickly and stayed put. We hung out with Keith from Canada, who is traveling by land from Panama back to Ottawa. (Much luck on your journeys both geographical and otherwise) All was not shameless self-indulgence, we also helped local residents recruit American volunteers for beach cleanup and other acts of community service. There were significant bug bites, but the warm fuzzy feeling of altruistic sacrifice more than compensated.

We started our journey back on Wednesday morning. 6:30am found us with tearful (grumpy) goodbyes as we left Placencia in a water taxi just in time to wait two hours for the bus in Independence. Two hours then to Punta Gorda and an hour boat ride to Guatemala. To say the least, this trip was not nearly as smooth as the way in. (Another example of the Gods punishing us for straying from the Purple Space Monkey?) We got absolutely soaked! We could wring out our clothes when we landed.

We caught the koosh bus back to Guatemala City, and passed the five hour journey conversing with a pair Belizian travelers. Riveting conversations that will not soon be forgotten. We arrived in Guatamala City at 9pm, headed back to the nun house and then up again early to catch the 6am bus back to San Salvador. I was ready for a nap and a sweet shower by the time I got back.

Next week, we have a delegation arriving on Wednesday so the real work begins again... you know, figuring out how to keep my tan from fading. jejejejejejejeje.....


Alicia Kaul said...

Ahhh, that was a great post. ¡Provecho!


Keith in ottawa said...

Glad you made it back ok. too bad going back was not as easy as getting there but I guess returning isn't the easiest.

I am home, got back yesterday. all went well. perhaps I'll post a long winded story someplace about it all and let you know where to find it. once I plough through the 2 zillion pics I took I'll post some to my flickr account and you can have a look see.

thanks for mentioning me in your post (really good post btw) I feel somehow famous, and yeah the journey continues