Sunday 15 October 2023

1987 Travel Journal: Bus to Belize

    Foolish me, I thought I could skip the 5:00 AM bus out of Flores, so I could sleep in, then catch the 10:00 bus.  However, the 5:00 bus made its presence known by stopping right outside my hotel room with its loud diesel engine roaring away for 15 very long minutes, just to make sure I was fully awake and not sleeping in until a reasonable hour.

    Once up, I thought I would treat myself to a Mexican-style breakfast.  I passed on the Huevos Rancheros and went instead for the Huevos Frijoles with Queso.  I prepared myself for a treat, but unfortunately that was not what the waitress placed in front of me.

    The eggs were nothing special, the frijoles looked like something out of the back end of a cow, and the cheese resembled a small packet of moist plaster.  I accepted my fate, and ate what I could.

    Yesterday afternoon when I was re-hydrating with a Coke at Tikal’s Jungle Lodge, I met a tall, guy with frizzled gray and brown hair, wearing glasses, and a purple shirt, who, with a Southern accent, generously told me I could store my suitcase in his room, incase a room became vacant later in the day.  He and his nondescript girlfriend, who also spoke with an irritating southern drawl, had been able to secure a room at the lodge.  I thanked them, but by that time, I had already decided to head back to Flores for the night.

    Well today, Purple Shirt and his girl got off of the morning bus from Tikal, and were waiting to catch the 10:00 bus out of Flores.  They were also headed for Belize.  I inquired about their night at the Jungle Lodge, and they told me it had been terrible.

    The room was very expensive, and the food, even more so.  They had ordered spaghetti.  It was outrageously expensive and tasted awful.  Then everyone, even the Tikal bus driver tried to “rip them off”.  After hearing of their woes, I figured I lucked out by not being able to get a room at the Jungle Lodge last night.

    The bus to Belize was another one of those well-worn old coaches.    I had to sit on a small sliver at the edge of a seat beside the aisle.  The road was extremely bumpy, so the bus driver spent most of the trip weaving the bus back and forth across the road, from one edge of the road to the opposite side of the road, trying to avoid all of the many pot holes that pockmarked the middle of the road.

    The bus just about hit a daydreaming motorcyclist, who kept drifting toward the bus as we tried to pass him.

    A peasant farmer who was sitting on the engine hump directly in front of me, had a 15-20 lb. plastic bag of sugar wedged between him and the driver.  During one of the bus driver’s sharp pot hole maneuvers, the bag of sugar shifted, springing a leak, and sugar began pouring out of a hole in the bag.

    The poor farmer didn’t know what to do about it, except to try to hold the bag awkwardly with the hole at the top.  I was able to save the day by giving him a big, white plastic bag that my laundry had come in, back in Antigua.

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