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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Belize at Last

BELIZE | Sunday, 12 February 2012 | Views [715]

This morning I left Federico's house with most of my stuff, two dead camera batteries, and a little bit of power in the remaining one. Federico let me leave some of my stuff because I'll be back in a few days. After hitching two rides in the back of trucks I got dropped off at a T-intersection. If you go straight you're headed towards Tikal and if you turn right you're headed towards Belize. I opted for the latter, and it wasn't before long that I was picked up by a pretty lady with her young son. Her camper-shelled truck was packed with stuff and was headed to Melchor de Mencos (the border town on the Guatemalan side) where she lives. Despite the fact that it's the only road linking Belize and Guatemala, it's in poor condition with heaps of mud, and cattle running amok with their rancher. Mud from the truck was splashing buses and other vehicles as we passed by. There are many Mayan ruins along the route as well; the most famous of which is Yaxha. It was early afternoon by the time we got to Melchor de Mencos where touts were bothering me asking if I want to change my quetzales. Why would I? I'll be back in Guatemala in a few days. After getting some gum, a drink, and my exit stamp, I walk across the bridge to the Belizean customs post. In my face at the desk is a "wanted" post of Robert William Fisher: a man wanted in Arizona for murdering his wife and two daughters before rigging their home to explode. Good call because a lot of fugitives profiled on Unsolved Mysteries and America's Most Wanted have been captured in Belize. When I got my stamp I inadvertantly went out the wrong door the official was like "come 'ere sir." With a smile I state "I'm happy to be here because I've now visited every country in Central America." He glances at my passport, asks me why I'm here, and then welcomes me to Belize. Outside I exchanged US$10 for BZ$20. Belizean dollars are pegged to the greenback at 2:1. I was also approached by a tout giving me a brochure of activities on the various cays, along with a 10% discount on a water taxi ride to either Caye Caulker or Ambergris Caye. Once I was free I start walking to get a lift. Six countries, six border crossings, and six different currencies, all on this journey. Still undecided on whether I should head to Placencia or toward Belize City, I wait for a lift and it wasn't long before I got one about a third of the way to the largest city in the country. Belize isn't that big: you can drive from the Guatemalan border to the ocean in about 3-4 hours, and from top to bottom in 7-8 hours. English is the official language so I have a few days' break from thinking of words and pulling out my Spanish dictionary. After lifts in two trucks I'm dropped off in front of a wooden stilt house where a Bob Marley-esque man smiles at me, and I walk over to greet him. My camera batteries were all dead, but it would have been a great photo. After another lift with an American couple they were headed to Placencia but I had decided by then I wanted to go to Caye Caulker. I was dropped off at the turnoff to Belmopan but I've read there's fuck-all to do there. It drizzled slightly and then a family in a black picked up stopped for me. From there I went all the way to Belize City. As I gazed at a hole-in-the-wall Chinese food place, I thought to myself "I want something to eat from there." Lucky for me I was dropped off only about 10 metres away. As I ordered sweet & sour chicken with fries and a tasty salad, a homeless woman started bugging me for change. Since I've been homeless I understood her plight and bought her a bag of Doritos and gave her a few dollars. It's Sunday evening and Belize City is extremely quiet, save for a few people sitting on their porches or children playing in the streets. When I asked where there was an internet cafe I was told "nothing's open ma fren, wait til tomarra." The other day I had messaged a CSer but I hadn't received a response, so I scouted around for a place with wifi. When I called it at the police station (the "Belize Police") they told me nothing would be open and some of these streets aren't particularly safe to walk around. A shady-looking Chinese restaurant was open and had wifi but I had to buy something, so I got an orange juice whilst I went online and charged up my camera batteries. The CSers were in Guatemala and therefore couldn't host me, so I opted for a room at North Front Street Guesthouse. With a colourful hallway, dark wooden doors, and tiny rooms there's a quaint charm to this guesthouse.

There's absolutely nothing open and it's absolutely quiet. A shop across the way opened up for a few hours so I decided to be a Belizean for a night and get a bottle of rum and drink it straight. A little inebriated, I chatted with an Englishman and when he mentioned PG I immediately thought of PG Tips (my favourite tea) but he was talking about Punta Gorga, which is often abbreviated to "PG". There is absolutely nothing to do tonight, but tomorrow I'm going to Caye Caulker. In a bit of celebration I've been to 23 countries! I should easily hit 30 by 30, that is, 30 countries by my 30th birthday. Aside from the English guy, there's a few cute Norwegian girls staying here. Alright...I'm buzzed and ready for some shut eye! A few shots of rum put me out. Good night Belize! It's my first night, but certainly not my last.

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