Thursday, April 16, 2009
All good things come to an end.
Thanks to Santa Semana our impression of Belize before Tobacco Caye had not been good. Nothing to do. Nothing to see. And occasionally, nothing to eat. If it weren’t for the tourist hotspots of Caye Calker and Tobacco Caye we would have left Belize after our first 48 hours. We had originally planned to head south through Belize to Guatemala but Craig and Andrew had promised us great things in San Ignacio on the western border with Guatemala. So a detour and reworking of our itinerary was in order. At 9am we left Craig and Barbara on the dock as we took the boat back to Dangriga.
This time the ride was smooth. Supposedly any boat ride is better in the morning – good to know. And even Dangriga was better the second time around. There were people on the street and shops were open – there was life there after all. But not enough to make us stick around. Within 20 minutes we were on a bus to boring Belmopan (still as boring) where we had to transfer to the San Ignacio bus.
We were glad for a little break so we could get the circulation back to our butt cheeks and we deliberately missed the first San Ignacio bus to prolong our break. The second bus was just as full as the first and sped along the Western Highway testing its limits every 10km when someone on the curb waved it down. But that wasn’t the most exciting thing. That would happen just outside of San Ignacio.
There were a few rowdies sitting at the back of the bus – it seemed in keeping with the school bus décor. One guy in particular was hassling the driver and the ticket guy. Now hassling the ticket guy I can understand. They’re usually tiny little guys which is great for squeezing between the packed seats. But hassling the driver is brave. Everyone I’d seen looked like the love child of a drill sergeant and linebacker. Since the conversations were in a mixture of Criol and Garifuni, Adrian and I weren’t sure of the details. But imagined it went something like this.
“You drive like my mother.”
“Watch what you say about my mother.”
“Don’t worry. I won’t say anything worse than what’s written about her in the bathroom stalls.”
Or something like that.
Since no one else on the bus seemed bothered by the exchange we blocked it out. But when the loud mouth got off the bus he must have said something particularly bad because the next thing we knew, the supposed bad boy was running scared through the bushes as the wiry ticket boy waved a machete at him and the hulking driver yelled something at him from the bus. It was a tense moment until the entire bus broke out into laughter at the bad boys expense. Apparently he was all talk and figuratively wet himself when given a bit in return.
Arriving in San Ignacio was a bit anticlimactic after that. Even when we had to hit up 4 places before we found a room, our stress levels barely tweaked. We eventually found a cheap room with a shared bathroom in the Tropicool which sounds much more happening than it was. In reality just 5 rooms and two bathrooms on the bottom floor of the house. But it was clean, quiet and cool. The last point being the most important since we’d traveled inland leaving the cool sea breezes behind.