Another case of itchy feet and off we go to Central America. Due to some work constraints, Cynthia could only get 5 weeks to travel. I (Warren) headed out first for two weeks to bum around the Cayes(pronounced keys) of Belize, get my Advanced Open Water Diving Certification, and dive the famous (at least among divers) Blue Hole. So until my lovely wife joins me, this will be Warren’s Wacky World Adventure.
I must say that was very luckly getting to Belize. First, the flights to Atlanta and Cancun were on time. Then I got the shuttle to Playa Del Carmen, with a minute to spare which saved me at least an hour.
Playa Del Carmen is a Mexican Beach Resort town that is in business for the gringo dollar. Since I couldn’t get all the way to Ambergris Caye in one day, I stayed here due to its proximity to the airport and the abundance of lodging options. The town has a big shopping street, which is more of a verbal gauntlet with “Hi Amigo!” and “taxi!” assaulting you from all directions. The beaches were OK at best, with some erosion problems and boats tied up everywhere.
The next day after a 4.5 hour bus ride to the border town of Chetumal, Mexico, I discovered that I had just missed the shuttle across the border to Corozal, and that the next one would be in 3 hours. Great, I thought, as I tried to figure out what I could do to waste the time. I saw a Gringo lady walk in ,obivously departing, so I asked here if she knew much about Chetumal and the cross border shuttles. She said she didn’t, but if I wanted a ride over the border, her husband was returning and would take me. With this kind of luck I wish I knew how to buy a Mexican lottery ticket. I rode around with Dave(a Canadian ex-pat who is a retired pilot from Air Canada) while he ran errands, then he took me across the border right to the small airport where I boarded a puddle jumper(small plane)to Ambergris Caye.
The pilot let me sit in the co-pilot seat and it was an amazing flight. If you ever want to know what it is like to land a small aircraft on a strip on a small island, check out this neat video (8 Meg WMV file). The hotel I stayed in was called Ruby’s ,close to the airport and righton the beach. A deal at $20 a night, but the room was just a room with a bed, night stand, and a fan. As long as I have a fan, I find that I can sleep comfortably(the fan also keeps the mosquitoes at bay)
I was able to rent a bike and explore the island. This place is just brimming with development. The north part of the island is just houses, developments and resorts. It is beginning to loose its charm as a relaxed Caribbean island and is beginning to become more of a gringo resort town like Cancun or Puerto Vallarta. Biking, walking and sunning took up the majority of my time as I try to get into the slow rhythms of life here. The next stop is an even smaller island called Caye Caulker, where I will do my diving and slow down even more. If you want to check out some pictures from Ambergris Caye, check out the gallery here.