*** Check out the first post of our trip to Belize and read them in order! ***

Well, that sad day has finally arrived when we say farewell to our travels in Belize and return home to reality. We woke up at 7:00am and quickly gathered the remainder of our belongings (very glad we packed up last night). After a quick stop at the fryjack place and bakery to get some breakfast, and a run to the grocery store to get drinks, we walked over to the water taxi dock and deposited our large backpacks with the water ferry crew member.

We ate our breakfast out at the end of the dock as the crowd of people grew. Only about 10 minutes later, the water taxi arrived from San Pedro on its way to Belize City. We climbed onboard and sat at the very front of the cabin (thankfully less crowded than our previous ride). On the trip back to the city, we talked with the elderly lady next to us who had been on Caye Caulker with her middle aged son for the last two weeks. Across from us, an adorable local girl had just woken up from her nap and was groggily reacquainting herself with the world. She was starting to get fussy, so her mom gave her a piece of gum which she would chew for a while and then play with between her fingers. Rose watched the mom throw the gum wrapper out of the boat window into the water! When the little girl was done with her gum, she just threw it on the floor of the boat without the mom noticing or caring. We still find it amazing how much people take for granted the beautiful environments in which they live.

shoreline of Caye Caulker in Belize

Looking back at the shore of Caye Caulker from the end of the water taxi dock

After the uneventful ride, we disembarked and waited for our bags. While waiting, we took the opportunity to duck into our favorite Belizean meat pie shop to grab one more for Philip before we left. Also while waiting, we were hounded by no fewer than three taxi drivers all competing for our fare. The water ferry crew brought the bags and we then set off with one of the taxi drivers, a local man in his 30’s named Earl.

Earl’s vehicle was parked about a block away (the entire area is torn up with construction) and used to be a van at one point in its life. Now, it is a somewhat sketchy shell of a van lacking a radio, some door panels, and many other common items you would associate with a functioning automobile. He pulled a U-turn on the narrow road and, after just a few hundred feet, we were stopped by a man waving his arms in the road. He needed a jump start and already had the cables hooked up to his battery and we witnessed the quickest jump start of our lives (no more than 20 seconds of stop time).

Earl continued along, pointing out his neighborhood as we drove through. When we reached one of the main roundabouts, he pulled into a gas station to get gas (good thing we weren’t in a hurry). We have to credit him for keeping his stops quick, because after less than a minute we were again on the road with no more than $5 Belize more gas in the tank (less than half a gallon). The fuel gauge was still on empty, but given the condition of the rest of the vehicle, we doubt that it was functional.

As we drove, Philip asked him questions about Belize and we told him a bit about our trip. When we reached the narrow bridge on the north end of Belize City, a small line of about 4 vehicles had formed (including a bus and a dump truck) while a bus crossed the bridge the other direction. For some reason, Earl felt the need to pass the dump truck, even though there was nowhere to go and no room in the already stopped line into which to fit the van. He pulled the nose in and thankfully the traffic started to move before we got T-boned by the oncoming bus. The most astounding part was the anger with which Earl glared at the dump truck driver as if HE had been the idiot in the situation.

The rest of the drive to the airport was uneventful, though we nearly had a second collision when we arrived at the terminal. When we told Earl that we were on United airlines, he swerved into the traffic lane, cutting off a pickup truck. Interestingly, Earl again glared at the other driver (this time for several seconds…yes, his head was turned for several seconds) as if the other driver was at fault. Understandably, we were happy to get out of the vehicle at the airport and paid Earl his fare plus a very small tip (Earl had mentioned a tip when he told us the cost of the fare…$50 Belize plus tip…and we thought it best not to rock the boat too much after surviving the drive).

advertisement for cancer medicine from Cuba in Belize City

This is part of an advertisement for scorpion venom-based cancer medication made in Cuba…fortunately, there’s a chance the medicine won’t kill you!

When we checked in at the ticket counter, we learned that the incoming plane from Houston was an hour late and so our departure would also be delayed. We were a bit concerned that we now only had a 1.5 hour layover in Houston, though hoped that would be enough time to clear immigration and customs before our next flight.

With a few hours before our flight, we sat down on a bench to re-gather ourselves and quickly struck up a conversation with the man next to us (it actually began because he was enjoying a cone of ice cream). Philip went and got his own cone to enjoy while we talked with the man (named Ron). Ron, as it turns out, just completed a one month trip to a remote Mayan village in the southwest corner of Belize where he built a school. He is also a member of the Rotary club and in fact is also from Alberta, Canada (just like the high schoolers we met on Caye Caulker). We talked with Ron for some time, learning more about Rotary, and looking at some of his pictures from the trip. He is a cool guy and seems to be doing a lot of good in the world, one small village at a time.

Eventually, we got in line for security and made it through in just a few minutes. While we sat in the terminal awaiting our flight, we looked over and recognized two people we had met previously: the elderly English and Irish Californians from our first night at the Red Hut Inn. We spent the next hour talking with them about our trips (sadly, they did not have a great time during their visit to Hopkins and the man got eaten alive by the mosquitos). When the time came, we bid them farewell (well, Philip did, Rose had gone in search of a beverage) for their flight home via San Salvador.

Finally, our plane arrived and we managed to depart only about 30 minutes late. On the ride to Houston, we enjoyed the views of Belize briefly from the air and then settled in to watch the movie, “Wreck It Ralph”. As soon as the movie ended (worth seeing, in our opinion), we began our descent and landed in Houston.

Immigrations and Customs were no issue at all (our flight was the only one arriving internationally at the moment), though Rose did amuse Philip and at least one other lady with her “I have to pee” shuffle through the airport (several hundred yards to the first bathroom from the gate…or at least half a mile if you ask Rose). We made it through Houston security and then grabbed some lunch from an Italian place at the food court. Our food was tasty, though devoid of rice, beans, and stewed chicken. Before too long, we boarded our plane for Phoenix and set off on the last leg of our journey home.

Our trip to Belize has been an incredible adventure and surpassed our wildest expectations. We were able to do almost everything on our itinerary, and even picked up one or two extra items on the way. The Mayan ruins and caves are even cooler than we expected, the snorkeling more fantastic, and the overall beauty of the country is just astounding. Beyond that, though, we met some amazing people in our travels, both fellow sojourners as well as Belizean locals. Meeting interesting people is what really makes a good adventure a great one.

We hope you enjoyed following along with us as we experienced Belize and we highly recommend it if you are looking for an amazing destination. Feel free to send us a message with any questions and we would be happy to give tips and share more of what we learned along the way. Hopefully we will be back blogging again soon on our next journey somewhere around the amazing world in which we live.

Philip and Rose on a dock on Caye Caulker

One final picture of us, this time while waiting for the water taxi to take us from Caye Caulker back to Belize City