Got to Chetumal about 2am and sat at a bus station, drank coffee and ate cookies. The bus for Belize left about 4am. The border crossing was smooth, only a few others on the bus including two Mennonites. There were a lot of Mennonites in Belize, farmers who spoke a strange kind of German. We go off the bus in Orange Walk. There were only a few paved roads in town. I girl name Yuri I think worked a food booth where the bus stopped. She had two children, a boyfriend, and related with feeling how she was trapped there, how she wanted to go to the states.
I had four tacos and coffee, but she wouldn’t take any money, I was touched inside by her gift. We wandered the streets and stopped in a business that gave tours up the river to some ruins. I declined as it was about 40 bucks. Outside were some old guys, some locals and one opinionated guy from Montana. One older guy seemed to be the boss and he told me some about history and the time when there were Nazis there on the run. He joked about an old coconut we had found and brought out some coconuts to edjumicate us about young and ripe coconuts. We drank the milk and they cracked the ripe one for us to eat with sugar. One guy joked how the older guy was the don of the local mafia, and I think he was telling the truth. We went into his bar to have a beer since we didn’t take his tour. Drank a Bilikin beer, the beer of Belize. In came some girls, which turned out to be prostitutes.
One of them bought some drugs from the old lady behind the bar. It dawned on me that we were probably at the center of the local organized crime, but it didn’t seem like crime there, and they were all so great to us. Walked back to the food stand, ate some more, but this time made Yuri take money, which she didn’t want to do. Then hopped another bus to Belize City.
Whereas southern México is mostly of Indian descent, Belize City was mostly black and spoke English. Antonio, a cab driver hanging out at the bus station, directed us to the waterfront and we caught a water taxi to Caye Caulker.
The place was a small island made for tourists, no paved roads, and pretty trashy literally. We walked to the southern tip of the island, the only place no developed and set up the hammocks by the water. Went for a swim and caught some sun on a dock. We walked to town, relaxed and talked at the end of a dock, and had pizza at the Barrier Reef Bar. We played a trivia game at the bar as the “DARE Belize” team. We lead most of the game against teams with several people, but faded at the end and came in third. It knocked 20 bucks off our bill. Walked back to camp and slept at the end of a pier.
Next morning watched the sun come up and walked to town. Found a snorkeling outfit run by Mario and went out on his boat with 4 Italians, a girl from Holland, a boastful rich boy from Mississippi and his friend.
We snorkeled a few reefs and swam with some rays and sharks. I never have snorkeled before and it was an awesome time for me. Back at shore the locals had caught a nine foot bull shark which they displayed proudly on the beach. Wandered about the island and took the water taxi back to the city. I talked with a Mennonite on the boat, a farmer and a nice guy, we spoke in German and it was a pleasure to meet him. At the dock a German guy Rudiger who was on the boat led us to a local hostel or guest house. The city is considered dangerous, especially at night and there were a couple of guys with sticks at the end of street who watched the neighborhood. They hooked us up with a taxi driver who took us to the store to buy some brews.
Friday morning it was time for me to head towards Cancun to catch my plane back.
I was sad to leave my friend and envious of him traveling on. I wanted to travel on with him on the adventure but I had to come back to my life here. But it was time for him to start his journey of self exploration and his solo adventure. He walked me to the bus station and I caught the bus to Chetumal. After much delay I made it to the border and talked with a local while a group of British tourists sluggishly made their way through immigration. Finally got to Chetumal and caught a bus to Tulum, arriving at 5 pm. I checked into a hostel, but the buses had stopped for the day to the ruins and beach. Explored the streets and had some tacos at a local restaurant. Back at the hostel I had a shower and sat in the courtyard reading. I met a couple of Australian girls, Jenny and Mary, and talked of traveling. They were like me and my buddy, Jenny was not working and traveling with no time limit, while Mary was there for a few weeks. They were headed to Belize and I gave them my recommendations.
Caye Caulker, Artur
At the hostel were many younger people from all over the globe. Listening to them I realized they had as much depth as a half filled bath tub. They were all about getting drunk, having their voices heard, and totally failing at being clever and witty. One girl referred to a group as fellow travelers. From what I heard most came there to stay at a hostel, spend a week at the beach, get drunk and go onto the next resort. I don’t think they really knew much about what traveling was. I have much to learn about being a more pure traveler but I DID travel on this trek and do consider myself to be a traveler and can’t wait to get out there again. The ideas are already churning in my mind. Anyway I awoke at 5am, dressed in the dark to avoid waking the others and caught the bus to Cancun.
I got to the airport and after a two hour delay started the flight home. Back here I relive the times in my mind and dreams, and fuel the desire to become the man I want to be. For two weeks I have dreamed nightly of traveling, solo, with my daughter, and again with my good friend. Now the studies have started to find out how to get where I want to be and be the person I want to be. This is to be a different kind of traveling, a journey of the mind and soul.