Our Christmas Journey

We weren’t flowing the bright light in the dark sky, we were not bringing frankincense, we were just trying to get to Jim’s aunt and cousin’s house in Belize before Christmas.


Little did we know it would take 3 days and one fell of a bumpy ride.

We started out in a taxi, to the bus station of the somewhat first class bus to San Pedro Sula. All was going smoothly so far, even with the collectivo (mini van transportation system) to the port town of Puerto Cortez where we had to spend the night. It is not a tourist destination town, so the hotel pickings were slim. We picked one and dealt with it…orange walls, caged in TV (but low and behold IT did have a TV) and a dirty shower stall. For $13.00 we did not complain, just laughed and went unshowered.

Got up early to make sure we got seats on the boat to Belize. First, I am being kind by just calling this a boat. It is the Christine of the boat world. It has probably seen its share of contraband in its day, and this old thing had never seen a day of comfort in her life. She was taking revenge on those who rode her. We had to take a taxi to where Christine, the Hell Boat, was docked, but we were not to leave for quite awhile, so we checked out the fish docks, got something to eat and just hung out until we needed to do immigration stuff. We were shuffled to the office in the back of a pick up, quickly stamped, and on we were for the ride of our life.

Christine, captained by a man with death wish, was a large styled cigarette boat with 3 200 horse power engines.  Meaning big, fast and loud.  The seats were all inside this death-mobile, the worse place to be in rough seas. There were cushions, but that is far as any comfort went on this what was supposed to be a 3 hour tour, 3 hour tour. We started off fine, but once the captain put the engines to work the boat started to slap the waves coming at it. At first, I was thinking this is like a roller coaster, even one little toddler was giggling. Jim was not. Then came the lightening in your ears slams of the boat now hitting 8-10 foot swells. Did the screams of the passengers, including myself, slow the devil captain down? No! I asked a man next to me if he thought the whole trip is like this, he said, “No, the last time I rode it, it calmed down half way through.” That gave me some peace of mind, for the moment, but it did not last long.

The waves did not stop, the slamming of the boat onto the water did not stop. Then the getting sick of people around me started, and the look of shear fright of the people across me did not go away.  I began to whimper. Jim could not be talked to or moved, he was trying to see a horizon through the high side to side motion of the boat and the very large swells. He was willing himself not to get sick.

Half way through the ride, I looked at the man next to me again and yelled, “You said it will stop!” He replied, “It will when we get to the islands off of Belize.” I could only hope they came sooner than later. It was a like a roller coaster from hell, that would never stop!

Even when we did get to the islands-off-the-coast-of-Belize part, the ride was still rough, but the swells of the sea were not as bad. It took us around 4 hours to get to land and then Belize immigration would not let us off the boat. They did their immigration process right there on the boat, everyone just wanted to get off the damn thing, and they made us wait. When I could get off, I not only got away from the boat, I got away from the dock as well. I wanted dry solid ground.

With that behind us, we walked with wobbly knees to find Vicky’s place, where we were going to spend the night. Befriended by a fellow traveller that also lived the boat ride to tell about it, we all settled in for a bit to calm down.  Dangriga is a little Garifuna town kind of mid-way up the coast of Belize.  After talk of the ride, where our friend had to hold on for dear life of a 2 year old girl for most of Christine’s unkindly ride, because the girl’s mother was too sick,  we set out for something to eat. We wanted seafood on a place at the beach. Who knew the locals are not into that kind of scene, and mind you, again this was not a tourist town. We walked for quite awhile after getting directions, and ended up to what was kind-of a bar on the beach. It was the dive of all dives. It was a shack, that actually had a upstairs and downstairs…but no inside. Dominoes were being played on both floors, seriously played, we sat in some worn out seats and decided we weren’t going to leave until we got a beer. There was no food to be had.  We got the beer and then left, hitching a ride back to town by one of the domino players. We found a place to have dinner. My stomach was still so upset from the boat ride, I decided to go with what I thought was a safe bet, a hamburger, but it was horrible. I nibbled. When we were done and got back to the hostel, we were so tuckered from the tense boat ride, I think we both feel asleep before 8:00pm!

The 3 day Trip to Corozal – Dec. 08

The next day was glorious compared the boat ride day we just had, a bus ride to Belize City and then a bus ride to Corozal, our final destination. These buses were old American school buses made for children. That did not bother us at all…we did not care about our knees hitting the seats in front of us, we did not care about the not so great roads, we did not care about the overcrowding…we were on dry land.  These rides were luxury compared to that demon boat.

After we got to Corozal we were not quite done yet. We had to figure out how to call Jim’s aunt and cousin, and then after around 20 minutes, we were picked up by Laith, Jim’s cousin, and our “driver” for the next week.  They, Aunt Audrey and cousins Laith and Seth, live outside of town on the water in this great house…all said and done very much worth the trip there!

We not only made it for Christmas, we were going to be with family for all of Christmas eve as well.

Our motto while we are here in Central America is “It is an adventure to get anywhere!” And that it was!

~ by My Gnome Little World on January 14, 2009.

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