20 January 2014

Still a Belizer. Stuck in paradise.

Oh what a day!  We woke up at 2:30 am to catch the 3 am express bus to Belize City's airport for our 12:50 pm flight.  According the the bus terminal people there were only 2 express buses running today the on at 3 that arrives and 5:30 and the bus at 8 that arrives at 10:30.  Since arriving at  the bus terminal at 10:30 would be cutting our check in time too close we just took the early bus.  
At 2:45 am we marched up to the bus terminal, in the still drizzling rain (BTW it's dry season, WTH!) only to be told that the bus would be there at 4 not 3...  Thank goodness there was a very comfortable covered waiting area for us to spend our hour wait. 
That hour wait was far more entertaining than we bargained for.  It started with the great personality of what appeared to be a talkative chinese man waking up from his drunken stupor.  He talked nonstop occasionally getting up to chat with the bus terminal employee.   The employee later explained to us that the talkative drunk man is a much loved retired teacher who started drinking heavily in his senior years.  In the back of my head I thought "yea, I can see how decades of teaching could drive one to alcoholism.  Who am I to judge?!" He told us stories in English and Spanish and was quite pleasant also teaching us basic Mayan phrases.  (I guess he was Mayan and not Asian) Our early morning entertainment also included a sleeping lady who was snoring and sliding off the bench in her deep sleep, a weird country music album that started blasting through the plaza out of nowhere, and the looks on our faces while all this went down.  
Finally our express bus came. It was packed but we found seats together right behind the driver.  This 4 am night drive was like none other.  Imagine riding in the same exact school bus you rode in elementary school circa 1985 hurling through slippery jungle darkness at the speed of rickety rackety sound!  It was horrifying.  There were barely any street lights, deep deep pot holes, and far too many muddy slip and slide patches.  It got to the point where I couldn't take the "cliff hanger" feeling anymore (no pun Intended) and just decided to sleep instead. I woke up here and there but I pretty much slept until we got 5 minutes away from the Belize city bus terminal at about 6:30 am
We quickly hopped off the bus and found a taxi.  The taxi smelled like it had a gas leak and felt like its back right wheel would break off at the next pot hole and send us flipping into a dilapidated building.  We made it though, that's all that counts!  Yes our bar is set THAT low.  For all of you who think I do this under glamorous circumstances have no idea the craziness that ensues during our journeys.  

We got to the airport with 5 hours to spare.  We were there with the morning cleaning crew!  When you travel that is much better then missing a flight.  During that 5 hours we took turns dozing off, using the airports strong free wifi, ate breakfast at the airport restaurant, and paced back and forth.  Once we cleared immigration we still had a 2 hour wait.   The airport was jam packed.  Flights for United, Delta, American Airlines, Avianca, and a few more where all busy boarding and prepping flights.  Just by the look of the large crowd I knew we wouldn't all be  making this flight, especially since we were all flying on standby.
As always my gut was right, we didn't all make it.  Initially they told us all 4 would stay behind. Then within 5 minutes they told us that only 1 of the 4 would go.  We'd already discussed these types of possibilities and AlphaPoppa would be the one to leave.  He did not look happy about leaving us at all, in fact he looked down right nauseous.  Zane had a nervous breakdown upset about missing a day of school, and Dude was like," ok so can we go the the beach? A pool at least?!"  The airline employees put us on the standby list for tomorrow and let us know that it was very probable that all standby passengers would clear for that flight.
I pushed AlphaPoppa along and immediately started working on a place to stay for the night.  That is when my travel angel appeared, Ms Swan.  Ms. Swan was also flying standby and missed her flight.  She a retired American living in Belize who flies to the states monthly (on standby) to see her family.  She says the she has missed plenty of flights over the years and has a sustem set up that she would share with me!  An angel, I tell you! 
-"Ok baby girl, there is a hotel right outside the airport for $55 a night, it's called the global village hotel.  they have free transportation, free wifi, and they are extremely clean, chinese owned with a good chinese restaurant across the street.  Are you interested?"
-"Ms Swan you had me at free transportation!" You know in always looking to cut cost.  
She tried to sell her spot to the other stranded passengers but most looked reluctant and said they preferred the raddison in the city (that cost triple the price).
Ms Swan called the global village hotel and within 5 minutes they had a van pick us up and take us to the hotel.  Ms swan joined us to make sure we were ok and to personally introduce us to her "friends". We were greeted with open arms.  Literally. The boys were even greeted with kisses.  The place was so clean in fact that it smelled like a chlorine pool was on the premises.  I had to clarify for the kids that there was no pool. Our room is huge and well kept.  I'm totally fine with the inconvenience, but the only thing that is bothering me is that Im itching to get out and see this part of Belize!!  When I think about it I know that it's better to lay low under the circumstances, buuuut explorers don't do well sitting down for long, even with free wifi!

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