Due to the Atlanta flights being full on Saturday night, Eric and I were forced to do some stand-by trickery by taking a flight to San Antonio, Texas. The saving grace of flying stand-by is the ability to fly through whatever cities possible to get where you need. Thanks to the help of an elderly airport employee named John R. we were hooked up with a great alternate flight route to the popular Salt Lake to Atlanta. He was a grandfather type and a real sweetheart. We thought this was an auspicious occasion that such a guardian angel would appear at our first sign of trouble.
After arriving in San Antonio we took a cab to a Super 8 hotel and chilled out there until 4:00 am when we went back to the airport to make the first flight to Atlanta at 5:55. I didn’t get a wink of sleep that night and was operating on only 4 hours of sleep from the night before. Needless to say it felt good to get first class on the next two flights. The whole affair of flying through multiple airports, going through security countless times and having to check and recheck our bags proved taxing, but all went well and we landed in Belize City, Belize (country 44 for those of you keeping track).
We found the weather of warm air and soft breezes to be a delightful change from the freezing cold weather (and airports) of San Antonio and Atlanta. Walking out of the Belize airport knowing we had finally arrived was a priceless moment. All of the planning, the discussing, the dreaming, and now we had arrived at the beginning of something awesome. Like standing on the edge of a cliff and staring across a giant chasm. We were at the top of a wave, a wave we had ridden all the way from our everyday lives here to Belize.
We made a few phone calls from the Belize airport and ended up getting a ride into Belize City from a cheap hotel we booked. My first impressions of Belize are very good. It is much more like the Caribbean than it is like its Central American neighbors to the south and west. Originally know as British Honduras it is the only country in Central America that was colonized by the British and consequently everyone speaks English here; albeit with a slight lilt. I am yet to see a single thing written in Spanish. There is a large African population here and very few Latino types.
Belize City itself isn’t really a city. Its more of a chilled out, backwater town where life moves at a slower pace and everyone has time to sit on their porch stoop and watch the world pass gently by. It has proved a perfect place to relax our way into this six month adventure.
Due to the Easter holiday, everything in Belize City has been closed down and very quiet. We were planning on heading out to an island called Caye Caulker but due to the holiday the island is pretty much booked until Tuesday. Apparently, Easter here is a holiday that is nearly a weeklong starting on Thursday and ending on Tuesday. We are told that tomorrow (Tues) “Everything is back to normal.” We plan to take a one-hour ferry to Caye Caulker tomorrow. We’re told it’s a great place to lye on a hammock and swing gently between palm trees while sipping a Belikin beer.
Although there hasn’t been a lot to do here yet, we have been having a great time exploring the city on foot. The buildings and houses here are charmingly built in the grand style you might see in a frontier town in the wild west only mixed with a splash of New Orleans. All the roofs are corrugated steel and most have unique wrap-around balconies and stoops. The people here are incredibly friendly. There aren’t nearly as many “hinteros” or hustlers as there are in Havana. Everyone says hello and everyone has time to stop and chat.
Our hotel is perfectly located in the heart of Belize City, overlooking a beautiful canal called Haulover Creek. We have a simple room with 2 beds and a fan with access directly to a second story balcony that looks out at this quaint town.