Home » On The Road » La Ruta Maya » San Ignacio and a Day of Chicken Buses

San Ignacio and a Day of Chicken Buses

We crossed Belize.

It took four hours.

The Cana­dian in me is laugh­ing. Four hours to cross a country?!

The day started at 8 a.m., in Orange Walk, or more exactly at the panadería “La Pop­u­lar” where we grabbed some bread for break­fast. We’ve been eat­ing spo­rad­i­cally the last few days, either because there is noth­ing open, because there is no power or because we sim­ply aren’t hun­gry because of the heat.

Then we packed and walked to the bus sta­tion, by the ceme­tery (that says a lot about local dri­ving skills). There are no sched­ules but buses seem to show up any­way so we didn’t have to wait long for the chicken bus to Belize City. This time, we man­aged the close the win­dow beside us and I tied my hair the best I could so that it wouldn’t take me two hours to untan­gle after the ride—you live, you learn.

The bus was going fast, way too fast for an old school bus turned long dis­tance trans­porta­tion. I closed my eyes and focused on lis­ten­ing to the reg­gae music blar­ing through the loud­speak­ers. When you travel, you can’t con­trol every­thing. You just have to let it go and hope for the best.

We made it to Belize City in two hours, and imme­di­ately jumped into another chicken bus to San Igna­cio, close to the bor­der with Guatemala. That part of the trip was more painful because our butts were sore from seat­ing on the non-padded seat, not to men­tion that school buses are made for kids and that my legs are just way too long. The bus was also crowded, and the moun­tain of lug­gage piled at the back, right behind, tended to spill over us.

We finally made it to San Igna­cio around 2 p.m.

The town hasn’t changed much since our two times there, in 2001 and 2003. San Igna­cio is your typ­i­cal bor­der town: peo­ple don’t stay long but they have to go through it. As a result, there is an impres­sive num­ber of busi­nesses and ser­vices geared towards trav­el­ers, from tours to bars, from laun­dry to for­eign banks. There is a lot of traf­fic and no side­walk, which makes for inter­est­ing walks. Streets are dusty and packs of dogs wan­der everywhere—one fol­lowed us for a good 30 minutes.

We are slowly get­ting used to the slow pace of life here. For instance, when­ever we go to a restau­rant, it takes a good 30 to 45 min­utes to get the food—assuming every­thing goes well. Min­utes turn into hours, and hours into days.

But none of that mat­ters any­way. We don’t even know what time it is most of the time. Buses come when­ever and we arrive when­ever. Who cares.

Hard to believe we’ve only been gone a week. We are tan and cov­ered in mos­quito bites like true travelers.

Belize City Bus Station

Lit­tle Girl in the Bus

Car Wash

San Igna­cio

Wel­come to San Ignacio

The Old Bridge

The River

Amigo Bus Stop

The Old Bridge

San Igna­cio

Far West Street

Wise Graf­fiti

Kid Play­ing

Main Street

Main Street

15 comments

  1. The main street isn’t busy. This is a place to relax — if only we have time…

  2. Won’t be blog­ging for a few days (hol­i­day break!) — wish­ing you a Merry Christ­mas and con­tin­ued safe and fas­ci­nat­ing adventures!

  3. Very inter­est­ing place… So I naively ask why so much English?

  4. Zhu Zhu,

    I came to wish you and yours a Happy Fes­tiv­ity and a Happy New Year!
    May 2012 bring you love, har­mony and more creativity :).

    Cheers

  5. Thanks for tak­ing us to a warmer weather coun­try and it looks very col­or­ful. Enjoyed your bus trav­el­ing expe­ri­ence! Wish you and Feng hav­ing a great time down there and happy holidays~~

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