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.