Leaving on a Jet Plane
Belize City Travel Blog› entry 13 of 13 › view all entries
We woke up at 5:30 again, Groundhog Day-esque and just about as confused at that hour. At least we knew exactly where to go for our johnnycake breakfast. We bought eight, and snarfed down two on the spot. It was a beautiful day and by the time we headed towards the pier for our final farewell, locals emerged from their houses and scattered like ants throughout the sandy island streets. I guess another day of Lobsterfest was ahead of them, and from the sound of it, Sunday was the biggest day. But for us, we silently boarded the boat and gazed out at the waves and breaks that the boat was causing. Tufts of treetops dotted the seascape, and at one point a lone hut in the middle of the water stood forlorn and oddly out of place. Perhaps it was a lonely fisherman's perch or a primitive lookout.
Our reality was fast approaching as we saw the familiar dingy buildings of Belize City come into view. Upon arrival, we tarried not in the city and immediately caught a taxi to the airport, where we spent our last Belize dollars on coffee, souvenirs and a bag of chips (the only thing affordable with the remaining currency). Our flight was delayed an hour, so we caught up on reading and watching the various travelers bustling to and fro. The moment we boarded the plane, it began to rain. As we taxied the runway and began our takeoff, the rain poured in buckets--heavier than any precipitation that we'd seen on the trip.
Within moments of leaving the Belize City airport and vicinity, we entered calm airspace where it was sunny with a thin web of splotchy clouds blanketing the Caribbean below. From the plane's window, I could spot the Belize-Mexico waterway border and the Banco Chinchorro off the southeast coast of the Yucatan. These I could easily distinguish with the aid of an airplane magazine map and a bit of geographic knowledge. Funny how my airborne compass works much better than on land. I wouldn't know east from west unless I had a clear view of the sun and a watch to determine whether it was sunrise or sunset. A few bigger clouds obscured the view for a few minutes, but eventually the northwestern tip of Cuba presented itself.
Soon we started seeing the Florida Keys, including a clear view of Key West. Next came the Everglades, which seemed to be almost as expansive as the entire Caribbean itself. Suddenly, Miami emerged and we were landing. What had been a 3+ hour layover turned into only 10 minutes after the delay, immigration (we had to go through an extensive customs check-in again) and finding the gate to DC. But the rest of the trip went smoothly and even the Metro ride home. By 10 p.m., we were hauling in our bags and reacquainting ourselves with the comforts of home, as well as preparing for a full work day less than twelve hours from then.
This trip proved many things for me. First of all, Mark is now an official world traveler and I look forward to taking him to developing countries and other parts of this great planet. For me, I really came away with the satisfying realization that I really could get away and have the kind of travel experience that I wanted to have. And I didn't have to quit my job to do it!