Today was a day full of surprises; that is the least you can say about it. When we woke up this morning the sun was shining brightly but when we left the camp site, the sky was turning very dark in front of us.
When we successfully arrived at the border crossing in Chetumal we were baffled by the supply chain activity. Checking out of Mexico was not a problem. The tourist visa was removed very quickly and we got our exit stamp 10 seconds after handing over our passports (whilst the officer was combing her hair). Getting the car out of Mexico on the other hand was another story. Firstly it seemed that the office called ‘banjercito’ was not the banjercito. At the other side of the transit zone there seemed to be another office which was able to fulfill this task. So we headed over there and after a while Patrick managed to check the vehicle out. Then we got to another building where we could check ourselves into Belize. After a few minutes queueing and the standard questions we got our stamps without any issues. Rodrigo on the other hand was more difficult to get into the country. Not because of his looks or contents but the guy checking us in seemed to be more interested in the story of the other two officers and took more than 40 minutes to fill in the documentation. Then we had to have our car decontaminated in the fumigation area but this seemed to be out of order due to a power outage. The guy gave us a receipt anyway and with this paper we headed for the check-out zone where the officer opened the backdoors, asked what was sitting on top of the car and let us drive through. The insurance probably went smoothest of all. After 2 hours we finally managed to get through.
Happy to be in Belize we drove to our first archeological site ‘Cerros‘. On the road we got our next surprises. Firstly the highway seemed to have transferred into a dusty sand road which made it very challenging to drive any harder then 20km/h. Then we came across a point where the river was blocking our path and a ferry was needed to get us to the other side. It was very close to get our car on this small platform but it was the only way to get across. Note that there was also a bus right behind us and all the cars need to reverse on the platform while the boat is moving. The ferry was powered by a 2 guys turning a big wheel and the service was free.
Once we got to Cerros, we didn’t stay there for very long. We were still accustomed to the Mexican weather and were wearing our shorts and tops. As soon as we got out of the car, the mosquitoes started attacking us. It was a non-stop fight to get rid of them. They were all over the place. On your legs, on your arms, in your ears, in your eyes, …. Marijke even swallowed one whilst trying to catch her breath from running away from them. Due to these stupid bugs we didn’t see much of the site. I think if you visit it in different circumstances it will be a beautiful site but we were just happy to get away.
More surprises on the way out. Apart from the big holes and bumps along the way, we also saw these moving leaves on the street. Looking closer they were big ants moving little pieces of leaves to their nest.
We couldn’t drive to our initially planned camp site though as the road was completely blocked by water so we had to turn around and drive to the nearest town to find a place to stay. Unfortunately we did have to drive through some big pools to just get any further. Hopefully it didn’t harm Rodrigo too much. Of the 100 or so kilometers today, only the first 5 were over asphalt…
We found a hotel in ‘Orange Walk’ and as we were hungry and heard music on the central plaza, we went into the city centre to get some food. Doing so we got spoken to by almost everyone on the street. Drunk guys were saying hi to Patrick as if they had known each other all their lives and Marijke was being hit on on different occasions. One guy even stopped his car to get her in. We’re not sure whether this is the booze talking or people are just being really really friendly to tourists. We didn’t even have to pay for our taco! The funny thing about Belize is that it is English-speaking – so it’s easy to get around and ask questions. It’s a very diverse society with people from all backgrounds. Their administration is not the most efficient and the roads are in bad condition… it’s almost like home!
You look so tired and unhappy
Bring down the government
They don’t, they don’t speak for us
I’ll take a quiet life
A handshake of carbon monoxide
No alarms and no surprises please