January 12th 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1
Belize City, market and wharf

We had to be up early this morning in order to catch the boat back to the city at 7.  As it happened, I was up well in advance of that time, having once more spent a miserable sleepless night.  Still, that did have the advantage of meaning I was able to take a good hot shower, running water providing a temporary, tho’ effective, relief for sandfly bites.  The boat to take us back was larger, more comfortable + more powerful, so we had a quicker + better ride back to the mainland.  Or at least, it would have been, except we passed thro’ a thunder-shower, so arrived looking like founder members of the drowned rats club. 

We’d heard a bus for the border left at 9, so we immediately rushed off to the bus station.  Fortunately, it didn’t leave till 10, giving us a comfortable break for breakfast – coffee + bread.  The bus was a little crowded, but we all had seats (we were still travelling with Shane + Chris.)  And then, of course, the border.

Leaving Belize we had no concern about, entering Guatemala was perhaps different.  S + C had no problem since they’d already bought their visas, but apart, I think, from offering us a mild reproach for not obtaining visas in Chetumal, the official was fine.  It was very strange – all over the wall were cartoons, some declaring Belize to be Guatemalan, + Central American rather than Caribbean, + others warning of the dangers of communism, with caricatures of Fidel beating priests, hitting peasants, jailing everyone + generally being unpleasant.  And all the while Radio Belize was blaring out.  A swift search by a bemused soldier, then on into a new country.

Remarkably, a very short wait for a bus.  A few miles on, we were stopped at a further customs point, when all the men had to get off with their ID.  I did feel a mite nervous, especially since I’d heard a shot a little before, but no problem.  We got off the bus at the junction for Tikal, it was going on to Flores, + arranged to sleep at a local house – hammocks in their kitchen-cum-animal house.  A good meal, then cards, then bed.

And so, after a brief venture into Caribbean cultiure, a return to Central America.  And an amusing transition – I would have liked to have taken some photos of the cartoons described, but feel that might not have gone down too well.  Accommodation was almost biblical, all of us housed in a stable, but without a miraculous birth.

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