Wednesday, April 07, 2010

April - Arrived in Belize

At 7 a.m. I was picked-up at my hotel. The car that picked me up was falling apart and I wondered if it could make it to the border. I thought perhaps this car and driver were just driving me to meet up with a mini-bus, but I didn’t ask. I enjoyed the uncertainty of the journey.
I was delivered to a sort of bus terminal where one of the mini-buses, which was almost the size of a regular bus, had Melchor painted haphazardly on the front My bag is carried to this not quite as run down vehicle and I hop on.
We were quite full, but I suppose not full enough, the bus driver kept shouting Mel ----e---chee, Mel--e--chee. After a while we moved on.
We didn’t go very far, I then found myself sitting in this rattle trap of a vehicle stopped in middle of a very busy market where the driver had the help of another man. They walked around this market while cars, buses and people hustled and bustled in a most chaotic fashion. Mel--e--chece, Mel--e--chece the men shouted.
They picked-up a few more passengers for the journey. We’re all stuffed into the collective and off we went. We stopped and started many times along the way to the border. People got on. People got off. Everyone except me were Latino.
At the border the bus driver told me I owe him money. I showed him my receipt because I’d already paid for my trip He tells me he is with another company.
I’ve been put on the wrong bus Now I have to pay twice for my trip to the border.
Two of my companions felt I was ripped off by the agency I bought my ticket from. For me it was not worth the effort to try to get a refund, in fact I suspect impossible unless I returned to Flores.
After the difficulty over my double payment my compaƱeros felt the need to look after me, and so the explained how I could reach the border to cross into Belize. Leaving Guatemala and entering Belize took a while because there were line-ups at both counters.
When I entered Belize I took a taxi to Midas Resort, and arrived to discover I was booked in for three nights and had no idea why I had planned to stay for so long. I was at the point in my trip where nothing was unplanned. I scout around for a guide. In Belize nothing can be visited without a guide. Ecotourism and protection of their patronage and jungle terrain is big in Belize.
John is a full blooded Mayan who has been guiding for sixteen years and was busy setting up his office, gift shop and carving workshop. He’s a wood carver and licensed guide
I wanted to visit the Mountain Pine Ridge forest reserve, but he doesn’t have anyone else booked for the trip and wasn’t profitable to take one person, unless I paid a whole lot extra. We agree to go to the Barton Lake Cave tomorrow.

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